Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Senator Mitch Fifield maintains his silence!

James Ricketson
Europe Guest House
# 51, Street 136 Phnom Penh
+85517 898 361

Senator Mitch Fifield
Minister for Communications and the Arts
Level 2
4 National Circuit
Barton, ACT 2600                                                                                         

19th April 2016

Dear Senator Fifield

Receipt of my letter to you of 25th January remains unacknowledged.  The same applies to all of my letters.

You have joined with the Screen Australia Board and the Commonwealth Ombudsman in deciding that a person banned from making films in his own country (which is what the ban on me boils down to in practice) is not entitled to be provided with evidence of his guilt of the crimes that led to the ban.

Given that the Screen Australia board has no intention of ever providing me with evidence in support of the original proposition that I intimidated and placed at risk members of SA staff with my correspondence, I have no choice but to commence legal proceedings against Screen Australia.  My objective is not monetary gain but the restoration of my reputation. That I should have to do so in order to get an answer to a simple question, a question that you (or the Commonwealth Ombudsman) could get an answer to with just one phone call, is absurd.

A great deal of my time, energy and money will be spent getting an answer to this question. And a great deal of Screen Australia’s time, energy and money will be spent (as was the case with the 2012 Supreme Court hearings) trying to prevent me from getting an answer to this question. And the question is, as I have been asking for four years:

“Please provide me with at least one example of my having intimidated or placed at risk members of Screen Australia staff with my correspondence?”

Whilst I believe that more than one instance of my guilt should be required to warrant a lifetime ban, I will accept just one instance. Provide this to me, I will accept the Screen Australia board’s fatwa, and this matter can be put to rest.

I have been left with no choice but to retire as an Australian filmmaker. However, I wish to retire with my reputation intact and not besmirched by Ruth Harley and Fiona Cameron’s lies. These led the Screen Australia board, with undue haste, and without my being able to answer my accusers,  without any board meeting, to sign off on a letter (dated 9th May) that Ruth Harley had already written.

The legal justification for the ban was provided by the Australian Government Solicitor dated 9th May 2012. Despite my various requests through FOI the contents of this letter  have never been made available to me.  Nor have the letters sent to the Government Solicitor upon which he based his judgment. Not only am I not allowed to be appraised of evidence of my crimes, I am also not allowed to know the contents of the Government Solicitor’s letter which, I must presume, states the reasons why a ban should be imposed on me and why it was felt necessary to amend Screen Australia’s Terms of Trade to retrospectively create the legal justification for the ban.

I have enclosed a copy of Nick Coyle’s note to members of Screen Australia’s board dated 9th May. Please note that this was sent to board members at 5.37 in the afternoon. Given that Ruth Harley’s letter to me was posted on 9th May I think it fair to assume that the board decided to end a filmmaker’s career not only in the absence of evidence (true evidence that is; evidence that had been tested), not only in the absence of a board meeting to discuss the Government Solicitor’s letter, but in the space of a few hours. The expressions “undue haste” and “rubber stamp” spring to mind.

If, at this late stage, you felt inclined to pick up the phone and ask Screen Australia for evidence of my crimes a great deal of time, energy and money – expended by a long list of people – would be saved.

best wishes

James Ricketson

cc Graeme Mason
Commonwealth Ombudsman
Screen Australia Board

Australian Directors Guild

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