Monday, July 16, 2012
letter to Prime Minister Julia Gillard 17th July 2012
The Hon Julia Gillard MP
Canberra, ACT 2600 17th July 2012
Dear Prime Minister
I have tried, in every way I can think of, to resolve my dispute with Screen Australia on the basis of indisputable fact - the most relevant of which is whether I wrote the correspondence Ruth Harley and Fiona Cameron claim I wrote, or did not. If I wrote it, the correspondence will be on file and can be produced on request – if, that is, anyone bothers to make such a request. To date neither the office of the Hon Simon Crean or of the Commonwealth Ombudsman has bothered to do so. If the correspondence does not exist, if I did not write it, my being banned is an abuse of power by Ruth Harley and the Screen Australia Board.
The pertinent sentences in Ms Harley’s 10th May letter are these:
“We believe that your conduct towards Screen Australia is unreasonable and that your correspondence places our staff at risk. We are under a legal obligation to protect our staff from harassment and intimidation.”
On the basis of these assertions, the Screen Australia Board banned me. Did Ruth Harley play fast and loose with the truth in telling the Board that the correspondence she was referring to is to be found on file? Or did the Board know that Ruth Harley’s assertions were false when it banned me? Glen Boreham certainly knew that they were! Such questions are not merely relevant to myself but to the way in which Screen Australia is administered by Ms Harley and to the role that the Board plays in either monitoring Ms Harley’s administration or turning a blind eye to beaches of SA guidelines and of the Australian Public Service Code of Conduct.
Given the failure of the offices of both the Ombudsman and Mr Crean to request of Ms Harley that she provide evidence in support of Screen Australia’s banning of me, and given the failure of your own office to even acknowledge receipt of letters, I have been left with no alternative but to utilize the services of the Supreme Court of New South Wales in my ongoing attempt to get Ruth Harley to identify the correspondence she refers to in her letter of 10th May. To this end I lodged my Statement of Claim yesterday. That it should be necessary to do so speaks volumes of the failure of your government, from the top down, to adhere to even the most basic precepts of transparency and accountability.
I wonder if Screen Australia’s legal department will fight, with whatever legal arguments it can muster, to defend Ms Harley’s right not to identify the correspondence she claims bears witness to the crimes of which I have been accused. If so, the ensuing court case will waste precious financial resources of Screen Australia when all that was ever required and all that is still required is that someone in a position to do so – the Hon Simon Crean, the Commonwealth Ombudsman, the office of the Prime Minister – ask a simple question: “Please, Ms Harley, produce the correspondence that you claim Mr Ricketson has written that justifies the ban Screen Australia has placed on him?”