Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Waiting for the Ombudsman to do something...anything!
316 Whale Beach Road
Palm Beach 2108
Ms Alison Larkins
Acting Commonwealth Ombudsman
GPO Box 442, Canberra 7th May 2012
Dear Ms Larkins
Following on from my earlier correspondence. It is now more than three weeks since I made an application to Screen Australia for development monies for my contentious project CHANTI’S WORLD. My cover letter of 13th April (enclosed) makes clear the dilemma confronting both myself and Screen Australia vis a vis ‘conflict of interest’. There has been no acknowledgement of receipt of my application and no response to my letter. This is par for the course with Screen Australia. I have experienced variations of this many times since the organization’s inception. Fiona Cameron’s placing on file demonstrably false assertions about me was merely the tip of the iceberg of the problems any filmmaker experiences if/she has the temerity to make a complaint about Screen Australia.
On 2nd May I sent a follow up letter (also enclosed) asking what, precisely, had happened with my application. Again, silence. I have experienced 17 months of this sort of treatment in relation to CHANTI’S WORLD and it is, to put it mildly, more than a little annoying. To date, for reasons you will be familiar with, the office of the Ombudsman has played no role whatsoever in trying to bring this dispute to a logical and fair conclusion – despite clear evidence that Screen Australia is in breach of its own guidelines, the APS Code of Conduct and that lying to cover mistakes is countenanced at the very highest levels of the organization.
The assessment of any project of mine submitted to the Documentary Section of Screen Australia can only be made when my dispute with Screen Australia is settled one way or another. In essence what it boils down to is this: either James Ricketson has been spinning a yarn, playing fast and loose with the truth, or Screen Australia cocked up badly and, rather than admit to its errors and rectify its mistakes, has bent over backwards to first of all ignore and then cover them up by placing lies on file. If it is me who has been playing fast and loose with the truth I owe various people apologies and Screen Australia would be quite within its rights to sue me for defamation. If Screen Australia is at fault the organization owes me an apology that makes it possible for me to make applications to the organization without there being a conflict of interest.
If no resolution is achieved by the end of this week I will have no choice but to withdraw my application and wait until there is a resolution one way or another. Given that Screen Australia has shown no interest at all in resolving the matter (other than by threatening to sue me) and given that the office of Minister for the Arts likewise shows no interest at all in its resolution, I am left with the Office of the Ombudsman as my last port of call. Alas, your office likewise seems to have no interest in the matter – leaving me with little choice but to try and force a resolution by publishing my correspondence online and hoping that Screen Australia will commence legal proceedings against me so that the facts can come to light and a fair resolution be reached. That anyone should have to go to such lengths to achieve a fair resolution to a complaint is absurd!