Monday, August 13, 2012

letter to Rachel Perkins

Rachel Perkins
Blackfella Films
10 Cecil Street
NSW 2021                                                                                            14th August 2012

Dear Rachel

It is now 7 weeks since I wrote to you requesting that you ask Ruth Harley to release the correspondence in which I have intimidated, harassed and placed at risk members of Screen Australia staff. Simultaneously I made an FOI request for copies of this same correspondence. I have been sent copies of pretty well all of my correspondence with Screen Australia this past few years, along with a note that indicates that Screen Australia believes that ALL of my correspondence with the organization has been intimidating, harassing and of the kind that places Screen Australia staff at risk. Fearful that I may have been using the word ‘intimidate’ wrongly all my life I checked out a couple of dictionary definitions. Here’s Funk and Wagnals’:

            “To make timid, scare. To discourage from acting by threats of violence.”

Before voting to ban me, did you read any correspondence of mine in which it is clear that I  intended to ‘scare’ or ‘discourage by threats of violence’ ? The Oxford dictionary definition:

            “Overawe with fear, especially in order to influence conduct.”

Did you find in any of my correspondence, one phrase, one sentence in which I tried to influence (‘overawe’) any member of Screen Australia’s staff with ‘fear’?

You will find in my correspondence that I have sought to influence Screen Australia only by asking, many times, that it respect demonstrable fact and not fall back on spin (a polite word for lies) to avoid doing so. If the correspondence that Fiona Cameron claimed in Nov 2010 I had written exists, it exists as either an email or a letter that can be identified, printed off and shown to me or to anyone else who might have an interest in its existence or non-existence. The Ombudsman and the office of Simon Crean would, I presumed, have an interest in whether this correspondence existed or not. They did not. And I would have thought you, as a Board member, would be interested in sighting correspondence from me that is intimidating (according to any dictionary definition) or which places members of Screen Australia staff at risk. I would have thought that your own sense of natural justice would demand being presented with some evidence by Ruth Harley of the crimes for which I have been charged and found guilty. It seems not.

As I have stated repeatedly, if I have written the correspondence Fiona Cameron claimed in her Nov 2010 letter I had written, if I have intimidated, harassed or placed at risk members of Screen Australia staff, my being banned is appropriate. If the correspondence Ruth and Fiona refer to does not exist there has been a massive injustice done here and a written apology is in order, along with a lifting of the ban on me.

best wishes

James Ricketson


  1. Hey, James, what has happened with your case in the Supreme Court? Has Screen Australia filed any sort of defense? I guess not if you are still hassling Rachel about the correspondence?

    1. Screen Australia did not file a defence within 28 days so I have won the case by default. That's the good news. I'm $1 richer! However, Ruth Harley will still not identify the correspondence from me that is intimidating, harassing and which places Screen Australia staff at risk so I will have to re-think my legal strategy. Perhaps if I sue for $100,000 SA will take me more seriously.

  2. Perkins knows that there is nothing to be gained for her supporting Ricketson but plenty to be gained by supporting the corrupt regime that is Screen Australia. How many more 100s of 1000s of $s will she be able to squeeze out of Screen Australia before it becomes blindingly obvious that she should not, as a Board member, be voting to give money to her own company? Oh, sorry! Rachel leaves the room when the Board votes to give her more money! That's a relief. Has the Board ever not given the thumbs up to a Rachel Perkins project?

    1. I think it is a little more complex than Rachel wanting or not wanting to support me. She should not, of course, support me if I am in the wrong; if I have written intimidating letters. However, Rachel knows full well that I have not. So too does everyone at Screen Australia up to and including the Board. Simon Crean knows that I have not and so too does the Ombudsman. The problem for all of them now is that for any of them to acknowledge that the correspondence does not exist raises the obvious question: Why has Ricketson had to jump through so many hoops over such a long period of time, write so many letters and blog entries, before it was declared that the Emperor (or Empress, in this case) had no clothes on. No, the far more sensible strategy for all concerned at this point (including Rachel) is to simply ignore me and hope that I give up on my efforts to have the correspondence identified and released. I would have thought it would be clear to SA by now that I will not give up until I have my written apology and the absurd ban that has been placed on me lifted. It is absurd not only because it is based on a lie but because the ban has nothing whatsoever to do with the quality of my film projects - whether they be drama or documentary.

  3. James, have you thought of asking Ruth Harley to release some of the material she says is intimidating in a redacted form so that we dont know who it was written to? You dont seem to have any problem with it being published so whats the problem? Going to the Supreme Court seems like a a really unwieldy way of solving this kind of problem.

  4. The thouht of an Abbott government scares the shit out of me but the one (possibly) good thing that could come from it is the disappearance of Crean as the minister Harley and her ilk are answerable to. Like Garrett, Crean has no interest in the Arts part of his portfoilio and is happy to leave the administration of Screen Australia in the hands of apparatchiks like Fiona Cameron - the actual boss at Screen Australia. If Brandis takes an interest and pays some attention he will see how hopelessly corrupted Screen Australia has become by the kind of behaviour that has led to Ricketson being banned. I guess he must have called someone at SA an asshole or something - an epithet I have longed to use myself often as there are more a few first class (and incompetent) assholes working at Screen Australia.

  5. Its not only Aboriginals who get screwed by people in positions of power Rachel. How can you stand by and let Ricketson be screwed - unless youve seen the correspondence and know he has been intimidating staff. Does your silence come from your sense of solidarity with Ruth Harley or because you just dont know if Ricketson wrote the correspondence or not? If so ask Harley to show it to you and stop sitting on the fence