Monday, July 16, 2012

letter to Prime Minister Julia Gillard 17th July 2012

The Hon Julia Gillard MP
Prime Minister
Parliament House
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?”

best wishes

James Ricketson


  1. Shit, Ricketson! I thought you were bluffing about the Supreme Court! Good luck with it.

    1. A waste of time going through the Statement of Claim process but interesting also to discover that you can do so with no legal representation and that the Court can accommodate amateurs such as myself. Necessary to go through the process. If not, for the rest of my career, it will be on file that I have intimidated, harassed and placed at risk members of Screen Australia staff. In a few years time Harley, Cameron and the rest will be gone but the files will remain and no-one, in 2015, is going to be interested in whether Harley's allegations were true or not. And nor will a new lot of senior film bureaucrats be interested in hearing from me that the allegations were false and why should they be? After all, the Screen Australia Board voted to ban me and they would not have done so without a solid case, right? If I were a senior bureaucrat in 2015 and had to deal with a filmmaker who had a reputation for placing Screen Australia staff at risk I would also be very cautious and probably eager to get him/her out the door as quickly as possible.

  2. The rest of your career? You should give classes in optimism. Like Tony Robbins, but for real people.

    Next go to your local member, and make friends with their staff. DO NOT go on and on about the history - you just want two things released to clear the public record. Make an appointment. Be very very well-behaved. Keep only to these points. Do not get sidetracked. Do not try to get them to understand the history. You want their help to get two things cleared up. That's all.

    1. You want to know "What is the correspondence to which Fiona refers?" That is all.

    Find the single sentence in Fiona's early correspondence to you that refers to correspondence on file that you say does not exist. That's all you take from the file, nothing else.

    2. You want Ruth to specify exactly the risk that your correspondence creates for staff.

    Provide a copy of Ruth's letter saying "your correspondence places our staff at risk" Face it, James, she's referring to your correspondence as a whole, not to specific letters.

    And tell them that if they can help you get straightforward answers just to those two questions, that'll be an end of it.

    Don't tell them about the blog, or the history, just ask if they will Please, please, help you write a letter to Minister Crean that will get an answer to these two questions.

    try to win yourself a friend.

    1. Julianne

      Have asked Fiona Cameron many times to identify the correspondence she claims I have written and which I claim I have not. She refuses to do so and has done for a couple of years now. Neither Ruth Harley not the Screen Australia Board has felt it important to ask Fiona to release (or at least identify) the correspondence.

      The same applies for the correspondence of mine that supposedly places Screen Australia staff at risk. Have asked Ruth many times to identify even one phrase that places SA staff at risk. She refuses to do so. I have also said (many times) that if I get adequate answers the matter will be dropped. If I am guilty of the crimes I have been accused of I owe SA staff an apology, at the very least. And if I am not guilty, SA owes me an apology. Simple, but either resolution requires evidence and none has been forthcoming. SA seems to wish to argue in the Supreme Court that ALL of my correspondence has been intimidating, harassing and of the kind that places SA staff at risk.

      See my latest blog entry for latest chapter in this ongoing farce. Yes, it is a farce and it is one that could have been brought to a conclusion based n facts and not spin a long long time ago if the very questions you are suggesting I ask (and have) were answered when they were first asked.