Monday, October 15, 2012

A robust conversation with the police!

Rachel Perkins
Blackfella Films
10 Cecil Street
NSW 2021                                                                                          16th  Oct. 2012

Dear Rachel

My sense of humour deserted me somewhat this morning when, leaving St Vincent’s hospital  in Kings Cross, after visiting my ex-wife who had an operation yesterday, I was pulled up by the police on Crown St and informed that I was in breach of my bail conditions. A robust conversation occurred in which the police told me that I could not drive down Crown St and in which I told them that I would be travelling down Crown St. A Mexican standoff! It seemed for a moment there that I was going to wind up back in stir but the police reluctantly allowed me to proceed, though they did inform me, if they found me again within the exclusion zone, that I would be arrested and not released on bail; that I would wind up in Long Bay. They followed me all the way down to the entrance to the Harbour Bridge to make sure that I was not planning to come again to 150 William St. and place SA staff at risk!

Incidentally, Screen Australia’s assertion that the decision to have me arrested was made by poor Graham (reported in Encore online), is nonsense. He was their messenger – in every sense of the word!

I have decided, regardless of my bail conditions and regardless of whether or not the Screen Australia Board lifts my ban by Friday, that I will make an application to SA before the end of the week and hand-deliver it to level 4, 150 William St. If Ruth and Fiona decide to ask Graham to call the police and have me arrested again as I hand in my application, so be it. It’s been many years since I was in Long Bay (parking fines) and one does meet an interesting cross section of the community there.

In the meantime, here’s a couple more examples of correspondence from me that has intimidated and placed Screen Australia staff at risk. Both are extracts from letters to Fiona Cameron – the highlighted bits being the ones that, presumably, Fiona finds intimidating and feeling at risk! I have left sufficient of the surrounding text in place to give you an idea of context:

Fiona Cameron
Chief Operating Officer
Screen Australia
Level 4, 150 William St.
Woolloomooloo 2011                                                     23rd. June 2011
Dear Fiona
Oh dear, here we go again! I have to admire you Fiona for the tenacity with which you present  pig’s ears as silk purses – in the belief, it seems, that your guile will go undetected! Take my two previous applications with CHANTI’S WORLD, for instance – the second of which is the subject of a complaint to the Ombudsman that has yet to be resolved. But let’s look at my first application in relation to the facts; facts about which there is no disagreement. The centrepiece of my 2009 application was a 7 minute ‘promo’ in which 15 years in the life of Chanti were presented in highly abbreviated form. In making their assessment of CHANTI’S WORLD both Ross Mathews and Claire Jaeger somehow or other failed to look at the ‘promo’ – a significant omission. Ross has admitted this to me twice – the first time in a teleconference in 2009 with Liz Crosby as a witness; the second in my August 2010 meeting with himself and Julia Overton. I am sure, if you were to ask Ross, Julia, Claire and Liz they would all agree on this fact: ROSS MATHEWS AND CLAIRE JAEGER DID NOT VIEW THE ‘PROMO’ FOR CHANTI’S WORLD. This should have been sufficient reason for Claire’s assessment to be set aside and done again. It didn’t happen – the process of not happening all well documented.

And from a letter to Fiona a few days later, on 27th June 2011

Dear Fiona

Further to my letter of 23rd. June.

Digging out the correspondence you refer to regarding my belief that CHANTI’S WORLD had been greenlit should take just a few minutes. In six months of my asking you have not produced it. Not surprising given that it doesn’t exist. The same applies for an alternative account to the one I have given of what was said in the meeting between Ross Mathews, Julia Overton and myself in August last year. They will not provide an alternative because my version is correct. As for the ‘promo’ for CHANTI’S WORLD, Ross and Claire haven’t come out in their defence and said, “James is wrong. Of course we saw his ‘promo’ before deciding to knock his development application back.” They haven’t come out in defence of themselves because they didn’t see it. None of this matters to you, Fiona. Why let the facts interfere with a good line of spin! 

CHANTI’S WORLD is of no real consequence in the grand scheme of things. Your approach to dealing with legitimate complaints is of consequence though. It should not be tolerated by Ruth Harley or the Screen Australia Board. Your job is to deal impartially with complaints. Without such a complaints process in place Julia Overton can ignore correspondence from me (and this has gone on for years) because she knows that Ross will back her up regardless of the facts. And Ross Mathews can safely ignore all correspondence (and not just from me) because he knows that you’ll back him up regardless. And Claire Jaeger can fail to see a ‘promo’, get so many of her facts demonstrably wrong and then not apologize because she knows that Julia, Ross, yourself, Ruth and Glen Boreham have no commitment to the precents of transparency and accountability.

With a dynamic such as this in place Screen Australia becomes a self-serving autocracy in which everyone, in every position on the bureaucratic chain of command, can do pretty much what they like. The real question for the Ombudsman should not be what happened here with CHANTI’S WORLD but how and why Screen Australia has structured itself in such a way as to actively encourage a lack of transparency and accountability.
Again I ask, Rachel: Do your and your fellow board members believe that the highlighted parts of my correspondence are evidence of intimidation on my part; of placing Screen Australia staff at risk? If not, why is my ban still in place after four months of your sharing my concerns?
I think the more important question for the Screen Australia board is not whether or not to lift the ban on James Ricketson but whether or not to ask Ruth Harley to resign for having mislead the Board as to the reasons why I was being banned.
best wishes
James Ricketson


  1. You're pissing in the wind, mate. Rachel is part of the A Team and has too much to lose by supporting you no matter what there facts of the matter are. And you are very naive if you think that the SA board is going to come to your rescue. That would involve admitting that it made a mistake and boards do not do that. Sure, Harley and Cameron might be liars but what you donut seem to understand is that lying is a pre requite for jobs of the kind they do. Wouldn't surprise me at all if its one of the questions asked during job interviews: "Are you a good liar?"

    Look to the whole Craig Thompson thing for the template of what is happening here. Thompson might be a lying count but he's Labor's lying count and they need him and his vote. They have to stick by him come hell or high water because Gillard and her lot will look like idiots and hypocrites if they suddenly start to act on principles rather than self-interedty. Same here. Perkins, Harley, the SA Board and Crean all have one common objective now - to make you the problem, not them. And because there's more of them than you they'll win so you're fighting a losing battle and even though I can give you brownie points for taking the cunts on I think you're a fucking idiot for not dropping it and getting on with your life. Harley's contract won't be renewed and maybe her replacement will be better, though I wouldn't hold my breath if I was you. It will probably be Fiona Cameron! Good luck.

  2. I don't think he's an idiot? Just frustrated and taking direct action to address what seems to be a very common criticism levelled at the "funding institutions". These include very important issues such as transparency and accountability.

    I do agree with the lack of "honesty" and the ability of institutions to address "wrongdoings or maladministration".