Wednesday, July 11, 2012

“A spokeswoman for Screen Australia did not answer questions.”

In an article in today’s Australian about copyright theft Tony Buckley is quoted as saying,

"I think it is up to Screen Australia now to decide what to do."

The journalist, having contacted Screen Australia concludes his article with,

A spokeswoman for Screen Australia did not answer questions.”

This is standard operating procedure with Screen Australia:

We will answer no questions.”

 What this means, in practice, is that Screen Australia is not, as a matter of policy, committed to the precepts of transparency and accountability – not to the industry, not to the media and not to Australian tax-payers. Senior management personnel are laws unto themselves, answerable to no-one. And they have got to be in this position because the industry, as a whole, does not stand up to the people whose job it is to service the industry and say,

“This is not good enough. Please answer legitimate questions put to you by industry practitioners and journalists.”

I have been trying for 18 months to get Fiona Cameron (Chief Operating Officer) to answer one simple question. She refuses to do so. I have spent the past two months (and made 45 blog entries) trying to get Ruth Harley (Chief Executive) to answer a simple question – namely:

“Please produce or identify the correspondence from myself that you believe bears witness to my having intimidated, harassed and placed at risk Screen Australia staff.”

Harley refuses to do so. Glen Boreham, as Chair of Screen Australia refuses to ask Harley to do so or to take any interest in the matter at all. Like Harley, Boreham does not even bother to acknowledge receipt of letters. The same applies for the office of our minister, Simon Crean. Would this be the case if the industry as a whole (as opposed to its various guilds and associations doing so separately) stood up to Screen Australia and refused to accept “We will not answer questions” as an acceptable response to legitimate questions?

I have written too many words now in relation to my complaint about Harley’s and Cameron’s lies and must now leave the matter in the hands of the Supreme Court. Yes, this is absurd but I have run out of options as far as getting Harley to release the offending correspondence.

I am suing Ruth Harley and Fiona Cameron for $1 – plus the costs involved in lodging a Statement of Claim with the Supreme Court of NSW, which is around $1,000. Within 28 days Harley and Cameron will be obliged to either file a defence or be in default of the court. The only defence that they will be able to present will be the correspondence from myself that has placed Screen Australia staff at risk etc. Given that the correspondence does not exist, this will present them with a significant problem. I imagine that Screen Australia’s legal department will have some tricks up its sleeve and may play them – in which case I will be making another blog entry on this farce in 28 days or so.

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