6th Nov 2012
STAR CHAMBER: “In modern usage, legal or administrative bodies with strict, arbitrary rulings and secretive proceedings are sometimes called, metaphorically or poetically, star chambers. This is a pejorative term and intended to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the proceedings.”
On 20th Dec there will be a trial to determine whether or not I was trespassing in the Screen Australia foyer at 4 pm on the 15th Oct. Sitting on a couch reading through correspondence handed to me by Ruth Harley just a little earlier in the day during business hours! There will be two police witnesses and three civilian witnesses - the only one I can be sure of being Fiona Cameron. I guess poor Graham Smith will have to be there also to explain why he felt it necessary to call the police and who told him to do so. On the day he told me it was the “people upstairs” but the “people upstairs” insist that calling the cops was Graham Smith’s initiative, though why he should do so during Screen
You will no doubt ignore this letter as you have done with all the letters I have written you this past six months. Your refusal to even acknowledge receipt of letters (especially after writing in an email on June 18th “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”) bears witness to your own commitment to the fairly well established tradition (Habeas Corpus Act 1640) of providing an accused with evidence of his or her
crimes and giving them an opportunity to present a defense. You are not alone, of course. Glen Boreham doesn’t bother to acknowledge receipt of letters either and nor does the board as a whole. The collective position of the board seems to be: lets just ignore Ricketson. He will eventually run out of steam, give up, concede defeat and cease his relentless asking of questions we do not want to answer. I would have thought by now that it must have occurred to you and the board that in this asymmetrical battle with Screen
Four days after posting this blog I received notification from Ruth Harley than I had been banned.
A brief recap is in order here for newcomers to this blog – the dividing line between letters to you (Glen Boreham, the board, the Prime Minister) and my blog becoming increasingly blurred. As I have written before, I have only my words, my blog, to defend myself and, at the same time, throw a ray of light onto the lack of transparency and accountability that informs Screen
The initiative to have me banned began three days after I wrote my blog “Why is my complaint etc” entry when, on 9th May, Ruth Harley presented you and other members of the board with a draft letter. Not only was Ruth asking the board to greenlight the banning of me, she was also asking the board to alter Screen Australia’s Terms of Trade in order to make the banning legal. She was asking you to do this overnight, with no opportunity to discuss the matter and certainly with no opportunity for me to defend myself.
Even with an alteration of the Terms of Trade in place, however, Ruth Harley also needed to come up with a persuasive (and legal) reason for the ban. That I had caused some members of Screen
The problem now, I suspect, is that the board cannot castigate Ruth Harley for misleading it without also accepting responsibility for having done nothing this past six months to rectify its having endorsed Ruth’s ban. The board now ‘owns’ this problem - if, indeed, the board sees the banning of a filmmaker as a problem worthy of its attention. If it is not, all filmmakers who have the temerity to expect transparency, accountability, honesty, decisions made on the basis of facts, not spin and old fashioned professional good manners from Screen Australia could find themselves in precisely the position I am in now - banned (either officially or unofficially) and with no-one to whom they can turn for help.
What better way to silence critics! Critics who are also filmmakers reliant in so many ways on Screen
In managerial terms, Ruth Harley made a big mistake in making her ban on me official (a huge cockup) and hence giving me, at least in theory, the opportunity to fight it, if only on a blog in cyberspace. It would have made much more sense to make the ban unofficial, leaving me with not a leg to stand on if I made any kind of complaint regarding individual projects. I would not, of course, be the first or nor will I be the last to be unofficially banned. Ruth’s decision to call the cops (or was it Fiona?) was likewise a really stupid management decision. It is the stupidity of these decisions that should, I believe, raise serious doubts about the way in which Screen Australia is managed and whether Ruth Harley is the right person for the job.
Something is rotten in the state of