Thursday, May 24, 2012

letter to Ombudsman 25th May

Ms Alison Larkins
Acting Commonwealth Ombudsman
GPO Box 442, Canberra                                                                                    25th  May 2012

Dear Ms Larkins
                                                            re 2010-118398

If I were obliged to reduce my request for assistance from the office of the Ombudsman to one simple question it would be: Please ask Ruth Harley to quote one sentence, one paragraph, one email, one letter to a member of her staff that contains anything that could be construed, by even the most sensitive or Screen Australia employee, as posing a risk to them.

If Harley can produce just one sentence, one phrase, a few words that are evidence of my having harassed or intimidated her staff or placed them at risk,  both my case and my credibility are greatly weakened. I have lied. I am a liar.

I imagine, from time to time, that the office of the Ombudsman reviews its modus operandi. I would like to suggest that a ‘fast lane’ be implemented (as in supermarkets)  for people such as myself who really only require someone in the relevant position of authority (the office of the Ombudsman, for instance) to ask a simple question: “Ms Harley, could you please identify the dates on which Mr Ricketson communicated with Screen Australia by either email or in a letter in the manner you refer to in your letter of 10th May banning him from having any contact with Screen Australia?”

If Harley produces the correspondence no further investigation is required by your office, thus saving precious time that could be better spent on more weighty matters.

The same could have applied 17 months ago when Elisa Harris failed to ask of Fiona Cameron the one question that could have resolved this matter in half an hour: “Please, Ms Cameron, could you provide me with the dates and modes of transmission of the correspondence you refer to in your letter of 12th Nov 2010?”

Please, Ms Larkins, get someone to call Ruth Harley and ask her the one question mentioned above. If Harley cannot produce the correspondence, my complaint is clearly worthy of having more questions asked in relation to it.

best wishes

James Ricketson


  1. I have been following this for the last two weeks and don’t understand a few things:
    If Ricketson did not write the correspondence Harley and Cameron claims he has written, why is he having to conduct this battle alone? Why isn’t the Australian Director’s Guild doing so on his behalf? As a member of the ADG this is what I would expect if it were me being banned. Has the ADG requested of Screen Australia that it provide evidence of the charges against one of its members? Has the ADG sought assurances from Ricketson that he has not written the correspondence? Ricketson himself agrees that he should be banned if he has placed Screen Australia staff at risk. This is an odd admission for him to make if he has written the correspondence and suggests that he may be innocent. How can we know if we don’t know what is in the correspondence? Depending on your definition of ‘harassment’ Ricketson’s entire blog could be considered a form of harassment – harassing Ruth Harley and Fiona Cameron to provide evidence of his guilt of the correspondence crimes they have accused him of. Given that Ricketson’s idea of a Conciliator being called in has not been welcomed (or so it seems) and given that Screen Australia is not going to sue him (which would necessitate the public release of the offending correspondence) there seem to be no avenues whereby we in the film community can ever know where the truth lies. This seems to me to be the big problem here – that a filmmaker, any filmmaker, can be banned by the Chief Executive of Screen Australia on charges that remain secret and not open to being challenged.

    1. Anonymous, I am not a member of the ADG so don't expect help from it.

      Amongst other things (and this should be alarming to the industry at large), the message that Screen Australia is sending to all filmmakers in its way of handling this dispute is: "Don't ask us questions we don't want to answer, don't expect us to behave in a transparent and accountable manner and don't criticize or challenge us in public or you'll get the same treatment meted out to James Ricketson."

  2. Fiona Cameron, the Don Corleone of Australian film! You've just woken up James and found a horses's head in your bed. Be careful. Cameron runs Screen Australia and is after Harley's job so if your aim is to get rid of Harley it might be a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire.