22nd May 2013
Sunday, May 26, 2013
for Senator George Brandis, Minister for the Arts in waiting!
The Hon George Brandis MP
Shadow Minister for the Arts
Commonwealth Parliament Offices
Level 361 Eagle St
Brisbane QLD 4000
22nd May 2013
22nd May 2013
Dear Senator Brandis
In a few months you will be Minister for the Arts and, no doubt, will be inundated with advice from all quarters on what needs to be done to improve the delivery of government funding to the Arts sector. My suggestion: Insist that senior bureaucrats be transparent and accountable for their actions and have zero tolerance for those that are not and who use spin or outright lies to justify their actions or cover for their incompetence.
In the case of Screen Australia what is required is a functioning complaints system that is run quite independently of SA itself – one that is totally impartial in its deliberations, basing its findings on facts, on evidence and not on hearsay or unsubstantiated allegations.
From the day I was banned by Screen Australia, on 10th May 2012, I have stated, repeatedly, that I deserve to be banned if I have intimidated and placed at risk members of Screen Australia’s staff with my correspondence. However, I have also asked repeatedly that, in the interests of transparency and accountability, the evidence that I am guilty of such crimes to be made public. It is not appropriate (indeed it is quite unfair) to convict anyone without providing the accused with evidence of his crimes and with no opportunity to defend himself. I have maintained for a year (and still maintain) that I have never intimidated or placed at risk any member of Screen Australia’s staff in my correspondence or in any other manner. If I am lying in making this assertion, Ruth Harley and the Screen Australia Board can demonstrate this very easily be releasing to both myself and the industry one paragraph, one sentence or even just the conjunction of a few words that speak to the proposition that I am guilty as charged. If they can do so it is appropriate that I be held accountable for my actions; that I be banned and shunned by my fellow filmmakers.
In the grand scheme of things my being banned is of no great consequence to anyone other than myself. What it represents, however – a lack of accountability and transparency on the part of the Chief Executive and the Screen Australia Board – should, I believe, be of concern to you as Minister for the Arts.
If my ban is still in place when you become Minister I will make a formal request that you provide me with evidence of the crimes that led to my ban or that you insist Screen Australia lift the ban and acknowledge that it should never have been imposed in the first place without SA providing evidence in support of it.
The enclosed letter to Screen Australia speaks for itself.