Wednesday, September 26, 2012

to Screen Australia Board....again!

Screen Australia Board
Level 4, 150 William St
NSW 2011                                                                                                                                                         27th Sept. 2012

Dear Members of the Screen Australia Board

I have received neither acknowledgement of receipt of my letter of 19th Sept nor a response of any kind to its contents. Ruth Harley’s ban on reading correspondence from me seems to have extended to the Screen Australia Board also. An extraordinary state of affairs! “But you only wrote to us 8 days ago, James,” I can hear you proclaim, “you can’t expect us to respond immediately to your plea to reconsider our banning of you!”. Yes, but it took you less than 24 hours to make the collective decision to ban me and Ruth Harley should be able, at very short notice, to provide you with at least one (preferably three) instances in which I have intimidated and placed at risk members of her staff. And, as you are all aware, this dispute did not begin last week or even last month. It reached boiling point in Nov. 2010 when Fiona played fast and loose with the truth regarding correspondence I had supposedly written to Screen Australia, just as Ruth Harley has played fast and loose with the truth in relation to correspondence from me that she claims is intimidating and which places her staff at risk. My letter to Glen Boreham of 2nd Dec. 2010 will provide some context for those members of the Board who were not sitting on it at the time:

Glen Boreham
Chair, Screen Australia Board
Level 4,150 William St.
NSW 2011 2nd Dec. 2010

Dear Glen

I thought that this dispute could not get any more farcical. I was wrong. I wrote the enclosed letter to Julia Overton on 1st Dec. Julia’s email response was as follows:

Dear James,

Thank you for your letter. I have been instructed to forward all correspondence to Fiona Cameron for follow up. Consequently this will be my only reply to your email and the letter attached below.



My response to Julia was:

Dear Julia

What an extraordinary state of affairs! Both you and Ross consistently refusing to confirm or refute my account of our conversation vis a vis CHANTI'S WORLD and TRANSPARENCY. Given that you failed to answer any of the questions I asked you over a period of months, in 10 different letters, I suppose that I should not be surprised! So much for Screen Australia's commitment to transparency and accountability.


So the ball is thrown back into Fiona’s court. Unfortunately, Fiona has no interest at all in the facts – not in this matter or in my complaint earlier this year regarding my failed attempts to obtain an interview with Ruth Harley and Martha Coleman. Fiona seems to see her job as spinning my repeated attempts to get Ross and Julia to answer questions in such a way as to absolve them of any obligation to do so and make it seem as if my complaint is about something other than it is – as any independent observer interested in facts alone would become aware very quickly. Fiona should be that independent observer but, alas, she is not.

As I have intimated before, this dispute is, in the grand scheme of things, a petty one. What should be of concern to the Board is the dynamic of what has occurred here – the total lack of transparency and accountability in dealing with my attempt to get answers to questions. The only positive thing that can be said of this dispute is that at least Ross and Julia have not come out and lied about our conversation on 25th. August. Instead they have left it to Fiona to bring her considerable powers of spin to create the illusion that my complaint has do with my not receiving funding. Given that there is no mechanism within Screen Australia to separate spin from truth I will now leave it to the Ombudsman to sort this farce out.

When there is an issue of real importance to the Board will it be able to rely on Fiona to provide the Board with the facts it needs to make a considered decision or will Fiona be spinning whatever the issue is to absolve Screen Australia staff from responsibility?

best wishes

This last sentence resonates today – the Board apparently prepared to accept Ruth Harley’s assertion relating to intimidating correspondence from me. If I have written it, get Ruth to identify it to yourselves and to me. In the interests of transparency and accountability I will publish it on my blog even if it makes a liar of me. All that is required, really, is just one example of my having intimidated (as opposed to ‘distressed’) Screen Australia staff and placed them at risk and the ban you have imposed on me will be justified. And I will accept it.

If Ruth cannot provide this evidence the Board should immediately lift its ban on me and apologize for its mistake.

best wishes

James Ricketson


  1. Reluctantly AnonymousSeptember 26, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    So let me get this straight: All questions and complaints to Screen Australia are funnelled through to Fiona Cameron. Fiona Cameron then refuses to answer questions or respond to complaints made by a complainant. If the person asking the questions or making the complaints complains that Fiona Cameron refuses to answer questions or investigate complaints the Screen Australia representative who deals with the complaint about Fiona Cameron’s refusal to answer questions or investigate complaints is Fiona Cameron! Am I missing something? If not, the symmetry is perfect and Screen Australia should be nominated for the inaugural 2012 Bureaucrat's Golden Kafka Award!

  2. I wrote to Ross Mathews complaining that he had sent me intimidating correspondence. He wrote back to me saying he had no recollection of doing so and that he did not believe he had. He asked me if I could please provide him with copies of the offending correspondence or at least the dates on which he had supposedly sent it. I ignored his letters, his emails, but Ross just kept on writing and the tone of his letters caused me to feel quite distressed. Eventually I wrote back to Ross to tell him that I was not going to communicate with him any further but he just kept on writing and my distress level just kept on rising and my Kleenex tissue bill went through the roof and....and...I can't keep writing anymore because the tears are streaming down my face because I've just received yet another intimidating email from Ross...

  3. Ricketson, if only you had kept your criticisms of Screen Australia to yourself and been prepared to eat as much crow as Fiona Cameron and Dr. Harley served up to you, you too could have become a member of the inner circle and had your snout in the SA funding trough. Rachel Perkin’s snout is firmly in it but such is the fear that has been induced in the industry by the mafia style tactics of Cameron, Harley and Mathews (to say nothing of the utter corruption that has infected the organization under Harley’s executive leadership), that the industry keeps quiet about this. Perkins leaves the room apparently when the Board votes to shovel a shitload more money into her company account. The administration of Screen Australia is a national disgrace and the sooner Harley goes the better. It is to be hoped that she takes some of the incompetents infesting SA with her.