Wednesday, July 4, 2012

letter to Prime Minister Julia Gillard

The Hon Julia Gillard MP
Prime Minister
Parliament House
Canberra, ACT 2600                                                                                    29th June 2012
Dear Prime Minister

It is now four months since I write to you on Feb. 27th regarding Screen Australia. I have yet to receive acknowledgement of receipt of my letter. The most pertinent question in my letter was:
Is it appropriate that complaints made about the Chief Operating Officer of a federal government body that invests around $60 million a year in Australian film and television are investigated by the Chief Operating Officer herself?

There were other questions relevant to myself but this is the one that I would have thought would catch the attention of the relevant person in your office and lead to a few questions being asked: “Is Mr Ricketson speaking the truth or is he mistaken in his assertion that Fiona Cameron investigates complaints made about herself?”   Clearly, someone within your office has decided that, true or untrue, the implications of my question are best left unexamined. The same applies to the office of Mr Crean, the office of the Ombudsman, to the Chair of the Screen Australia Board, Glen Boreham.   

In my letter of 27th Feb I wrote to you:

A member of the public who asks such a question is left with two choices: resign themselves to the fact that no answer will be forthcoming or keep asking the question until someone, at some level of government, answers it.  If that person is the Prime Minister, so be it. To choose the latter course exposes the questioner to the accusation that s/he is a ‘vexatious complainant’ whose questions need not be answered because they have been asked so often – a neat and all too familiar tactic used by bureaucrats in the supposedly transparent and accountable era in which we live.

A couple of months after my letter to you of 27th Feb the Screen Australia Board voted to ban me from having any further dealings with Screen Australia. No evidence has been presented to me to back up the allegations made by Ruth Harley. Again, neither the office of Mr Crean nor the office of the Ombudsman see it as their role to ask Ruth Harley to provide evidence.

With all avenues of appeal closed to me (and in the absence of any evidence of the offences I have supposedly committed) I am left with two options: (1) Sue Ruth Harley for defamation – a process that would oblige her to make public the correspondence she claims as evidence of my having intimidated, harassed and placed at risk members of her staff.  Or (2) Occupy the offices of Screen Australia in Sydney until such time as Ruth Harley presents me with copies of my offending correspondence.  If I decide on option (2) (option (1) being expensive, time consuming and not likely to result in an outcome in the near future), in ‘occupying’ Screen Australia’s Sydney office I will not intimidate, harass or place at risk any member of Screen Australia staff. I will merely sit, with a few good books to read, and wait for an audience with Ms Harley.

best wishes

James Ricketson


  1. Bit old to be occupying Screen Australia aren't you, mate! Don't forget to take your zimmer frame!

    1. Yes, a bit old for 'occupying' but the close to $1000 Supreme Court filing fee is a bit daunting. And if I take my camera along I can do a bit of guerrilla filmmaking.

  2. WTF is going on here? I would have thought that Harley would be delighted to prove Ricketson wrong! To prove that he has done what she says he has done????

  3. Pissed off filmmakerJuly 6, 2012 at 6:53 PM

    What a farce! Regardless of whether or not Ricketson has been writing nasty emails or letters (or both)shouldn't someone to looking at this with a non-partisan eye? Why did Harley refuse his offer to bring in a concilliator? Why hasn't the Board told Harley to bring in a conciliator if she is not prepared to release the correspondence? And why doesn't Rachel Perkins declare where she stands on this? As a Board member she will have whatever papers were supplied to the Board in support of the Board so she knows that there is evidence or knows that there is none. If there is none she should do the right thing and resign. This whole thing stinks. If the correspondence doesn't exist the whole Board should resign, along with Harley.