Thursday, August 30, 2012

letter to Ruth Harley 30th August

Ruth Harley
Chief Executive
Screen Australia
Level 4
150 William St.
Woolloomooloo 2011                                                                              30th  August 2012

Dear Ruth

After 20 months of asking, countless letters, more than a few blog entries, two FOI requests  and a complaint to the Information Commissioner, Nick Coyle has, today, sent me copies of the two letters that Fiona Cameron referred to back in Nov 2010 as evidence of my having believed that my CHANTI’S WORLD development application had been ‘greenlit’. These two letters (which I will publish online tonight) contain nothing that a ‘reasonable person’ could read and arrive at the conclusion that I believed my project had been ‘greenlit’, but even if they did, why has so much time and effort been expended by myself to get hold of the correspondence and by Screen Australia to prevent me from getting it?
I would love to know if you have read these letters and arrived at the conclusion that Fiona claimed she did but, of course, you have declared that you will not correspond with me so it is pointless to ask! It is not hard to see why Fiona was so reluctant to release the letters and fought so hard to prevent me from acquiring copies. However, now that I have them, there is no need to acquire them through the Supreme Court. I will amend my Statement of Claim accordingly.
I wonder if, before 5th Sept, it might also be possible to acquire copies of the other lot of correspondence from me in which, you allege, I have intimidated, harassed and placed at risk members of your staff; correspondence that has led to my being banned by the Screen Australia Board entirely from having any communication at all with (or apply for funding to) Screen Australia?  If you can release or identify the correspondence, there will almost certainly be no need for any of us to waste the Supreme Court’s time next Wednesday.
It seems, alas, that the answer is ‘no’ – unless, that is, you give permission to Nick Coyle to act in accordance with the spirit (and not merely the letter) of FOI legislation and release or identify the relevant intimidating correspondence. Providing me with copies of pretty well all of my correspondence with Screen Australia, as Nick has, is really nothing more than a cheap conjuring trick designed to obfuscate rather than illuminate the matter in hand. Having once been on the receiving end of a tongue lashing from a Supreme Court judge I fear that we (Screen Australia and I) will be on the receiving end of another on 5th Sept.
If I am not given the relevant correspondence before 5th Sept I will, of course, acquire copies of my ‘intimidating correspondence’ through discovery in the Supreme Court. The day beforehand, actually. Moray & Agnew will then, it appears, request of the Court an order that I not be allowed to publish these ‘intimidating documents’ online! Why? Does Screen Australia fear that I may defame myself? If I have intimidated your staff, placed them at risk, why should it matter to you that I broadcast the fact as widely as possible? In so doing you will be vindicated in having banned me and I will look a fool (a lying fool!) in public – which I would have thought would be an ideal end result for you.

Alternatively it may be that the last thing you want is for readers of my blog (I will reach 8000 hits since May some time this evening) to be able to judge for themselves whether it is me or yourself who has played fast and loose with the truth. The best way to achieve this end, it seems, is to ask Moray and Agnew to have my ‘intimidating correspondence’ suppressed. This would be a wonderful result for you because by dragging out the defamation case (easy to do) for as long as possible you will be able to guarantee that the truth about my correspondence will not emerge during the remainder of your tenure as Chief Executive and that the ban on me, instigated by yourself, can remain in place for as long as you are in the job. A win-win for Ruth Harley!
Stop this farce, Ruth, and release or identify the correspondence of mine that you consider to be intimidating. In so doing one of us, inevitably, is going to have a lot of egg on their face but surely this is a more desirable outcome that wasting time, energy and financial resources on a Supreme Court case. The money saved could be used to fund a short film or for some other constructive initiative.
best wishes
James Ricketson

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