Monday, April 9, 2012

letter to Prime Minister Gillard, 10th April 2012

Dear Prime Minister

Further to my letter of 16th March.

In Nov. 2009, in relation to education reform, you said, "Today I want to talk about our drive to create a new era of transparency.” When asked if you hoped the new My School website would pressure some institutions into lifting their standards, you replied:

 Transparency does place pressure on people. Pressure to improve, that's a good kind of pressure.”

Why does this same spirit of transparency not apply to the administration of the Hon Simon Crean’s Ministry for the Arts? Why doesn’t Mr Crean insist upon transparency and accountability from the CEO of Screen Australia, Ruth Harley, from the Chair of the SA Board, Glen Boreham? And from the Chief Operating Officer, Fiona Cameron? If this lack of concern for the precepts of transparency and accountability rife in other federal government agencies you have a huge problem on your hands and one that can only be solved if there is someone within the bureaucratic hierarchy prepared to say, “No, I don’t want the spin answer. I want the answer based on facts. And I want it now!” That there is no-one within the Screen Australia hierarchy – up to and including Simon Crean – prepared to step outside the spin cycle is a recipe for disaster. Here’s how it could work. And fast:

Memo to Simon Crean: “Please find out if it is Mr Ricketson or Ruth Harley and Fiona Cameron who are talking nonsense? Is it true that complaints about Fiona Cameron are given to Fiona Cameron to address?”
Memo from Crean to Caroline Fulton: “Find out who is lying here and if Fiona Cameron investigates complaints made about herself. Answer on desk by end of week.”
Memo from Caroline Fulton to Ruth Harley: “Please tell me (a) Does the correspondence that Fiona Cameron refers to in her letter of 12th Nov 2010 to Mr Ricketson exist? If so, could you please forward me copies? If the correspondence does not exist could you please explain why you have taken no action to address Mr Ricketson’s concerns in the 16 months that he has been appealing to you to do so? (b) Is it true that Ross Mathews and Clair Jager, in assessing Mr Ricketson’s CHANTI’S WORLD documentary application, did not view the most significant part of his proposal – the audio visual ‘promo’? (c) Is it true, when Mr Ricketson has lodged with yourself and Chair, Glen Boreham, complaints about Fiona Cameron, that you have handed these to Fiona Cameron to deal with? (d) Is it true that Ms Coleman has informed Mr Ricketson that he may never again present his project, CHANTI’S WORLD, to Screen Australia for funding consideration? If so, could you please explain why. I would appreciate answers within the next 48 hours?

A mini-investigation such as this could have been completed in a couple of days at any point in the last 12 months – thus saving a lot of people (including myself) a lot of time and trouble and making it unnecessary for me to resort to the internet as a means of forcing Screen Australia to either sue me or apologize for its cockup and set the record straight. It could be completed by the end of this week if Screen Australia spin doctors and lawyers (along with those in your own and Mr Crean’s offices) are not involved.

If Treasurer Wayne Swan is serious about meeting his budget surplus goals and looking for savings  in next months budget, my suggestion would be to fire the spin doctors who have be come a plague on the body politic and whose lies make it possible for bodies such as Screen Australia to ignore the precepts of accountability and transparency that they all crow about on their websites in various mission statements. I suspect that both your own and the governments poll ratings would leap by a few points if the front page news was GILLARD AND SWAN TO CULL 5000 SPIN DOCTORS.

best wishes

James Ricketson


  1. Mr Ricketson, I am not sure if it is brave or stupid of you to invite Screen Australia to sue you but it certainly is bold. It will be interesting (and entertaining) to see what Harley's next move will be.

  2. After Screen Australia's last court debacle it won't be rushing off to court again in a big hurry, but if it doesn't SA will lose whatever small amount of credibility it has left. It is time to get rid of these clowns, Mr Crean.