Monday, March 30, 2015
Letter to Screen Australia Board re 3 year old ban, dated 10th March 2015
20 days ago I sent the following letter to the Screen Australia Board. I have received no reply:
Members of the Screen Australia Board
Level 7, 45 Jones St
10th March 2015
Dear Deanne Weir,
It is now close to 3 years since I was banned by the Screen Australia board, at Ruth Harley’s request. I have yet to be provided with evidence that I intimidated or placed at risk members of Screen Australia’s staff – the ostensible reason for the ban.
When, in late 2012, after months of asking, my requests for evidence were ignored,
I arrived at the foyer of Screen Australia and sat quietly waiting to be provided with such evidence. Fiona Cameron called the police in the middle of the afternoon and had me arrested for trespassing!
Undeterred I arrived at Screen Australia’s foyer a second time some weeks later and, again, sat quietly in the foyer waiting to be provided with evidence of my crimes. Again Fiona Cameron called the police and had me arrested. I spent the weekend in jail for the crime of insisting that I be provided with evidence that I had intimidated and placed at risk members of Screen Australia’s staff.
I was subsequently found guilty in court of trespassing! For sitting quietly in the Screen Australia foyer during business hours!
In May 2014 the board of which you are members banned me for a further two years. The reason given was expressed in the following way:
“That your deliberate, repeated and inappropriate personal attacks on Screen Australia staff through letters and internet publications appear intended to humiliate and damage the reputation of Screen Australia staff in a way that is unacceptable to Screen Australia.”
My many requests that I be provided with examples of when I had engaged in “inappropriate personal attacks…intended to humiliate and damage the reputation of Screen Australia staff” have been ignored.
As was the case with the first set of allegations (intimidation, placing at risk) it was not possible for me to respond to these new allegations without knowing which of my comments were deemed to have been ‘inappropriate personal attacks.’
Natural justice demands that any person accused of a crime be provided with evidence that’s/he has committed a crime so that he or she can mount a defense. I have been denied this right for close to three years now.
In the absence of any evidence I have to presume that what my ‘inappropriate personal attacks’ boil down to two things. One is that right from Screen Australia’s inception I was a vocal and public critic of Ruth Harley’s management style. The second is my insistence that Screen Australia be both accountable and transparent in its decision-making; that Fiona Cameron should not be allowed to place on file demonstrably untrue statements.
It was my continued insistence that Fiona Cameron correct the misinformation she had placed on file that led, ultimately, to my being banned. Instead of addressing the problem, Ruth Harley decided it was best to ban the filmmaker! And the board went along with her decision!
The ban that you collectively continue to endorse has effectively ended my career as an Australian filmmaker.
Yet again, I request that the board provide me with evidence that I intimidated and placed at risk members of Screen Australia’s staff and of my “inappropriate personal attacks…intended to humiliate and damage the reputation of Screen Australia staff.”