Tuesday, September 4, 2012

After my 1st hearing in the Supreme Court

Dear Rachel

I have just returned from the Supreme Court, having attended the first of what looks to be a series of hearings in relation to my defamation suit. The next will be on 2nd Oct.

I think you will agree that it is absurd that the Supreme Court should be used in this way to determine whether or not I have written correspondence, as claimed by Ruth Harley in her 9th May draft letter to you and other Board members, that I have intimidated and placed at risk members of Screen Australia staff.

On 18th June you wrote, in an email to me:

“I will look onto the matter personally, although, given the majority of the board has made the resolution, the decision will stand for at least the near future I would think.”

That’s 11 weeks ago, Rachel. Can you give me some indication of when you will actually look into it? All that is required is a phone call to Ruth Harley in which you ask to see copies of the offending correspondence – the relevant intimidating parts of which have been highlighted. It should not take more than 10 – 15 minutes to read these extracts and form an opinion that you could share with your colleagues on the Board – who might also be interested in looking at the evidence as opposed to taking Ruth’s word for it that the intimidating correspondence exists.

I have a documentary project that has secured a pre-sale that will be of no value to me if I cannot access Screen Australia investment. I have ticks in all the relevant boxes but with a ban in place, imposed by the Board, I cannot even talk with anyone at Screen Australia about the project and nor, of course, can I make an application for investment funds. Do you really think that this is appropriate” Fair? If so, based on what evidence that you have sighted? Or is Ruth Harley’s word that I have intimidated her staff all that is required?

I am republishing online my letter to you of 11 or so weeks ago as I have little to add to what I wrote then – other than that, after 20 months of asking I received copies of the correspondence Fiona Cameron claimed I wrote in which I claimed that I believed ‘Chanti’s World had been ‘greenlit’. You can read the correspondence for yourself on my blog and see that Fiona’s assertion is nonsense – as, of course, is the assertion that Ruth Harley put to yourself and the Board that I had intimidated and placed at risk members of Screen Australia staff.

Rachel, if you have any regard at all for the truth, for facts as opposed to unsubstantiated scuttlebutt, ask Ruth Harley to provide you with copies of the correspondence from me that she claims is intimidating and which places Screen Australia staff at risk. If she cannot provide it, you should move a motion at the next Screen Australia Board meeting to have the ban that has been placed on me lifted. If you believe, on reading the relevant correspondence, that I have indeed intimidated and placed at risk members of Screen Australia staff, fair enough but don’t just sit on the fence as you are now.

I am sure, if our roles were reversed, if I were a Board member and you a banned filmmaker, you would expect me to do a little homework and find out if the charges laid against you were correct or not. As a matter of professional courtesy, please do the same for me.



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

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