Claudia Karvan, Al Clarke, members of the Screen Australia Board, you say I pose a risk to SA staff. Owing to your duty of care, you say, you cannot allow SA staff to meet with or communicate with me. You refuse to provide me with any evidence that I pose a risk; that I have engaged in ‘highly offensive conduct’. The reason is simple. There is none. And you know it. Your ban is a fatwa; punishment for a critic; a warning to other filmmakers.
Thursday, June 2, 2016
Graeme Mason, please produce evidence that I intimidated or placed anyone at risk? Just 3 examples from my correspondence will suffice.
I was banned by Screen Australia.
4 years ago - from making script development or production funding
applications; from communicating with members of Screen Australia staff. I am hence
unable to access the Producer Offset and my career as Australian filmmaker is
at an end. My crime? Allegedly, I intimidated and placed at risk members of
Screen Australia staff with my correspondence. The evidence? None has been
presented to me. There is none. Screen Australia is under no obligation to
present evidence – a stance accepted as valid by Minister for the Arts Senator
Mitch Fifiled the office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman.
Level 7, 45 Jones St
banning of a filmmaker in a nutshell:
-Pre May 9th 2012: Screen
Australia’s Chief Executive presents evidence to the Australian Government
Solicitorin support of the proposition
that SA be entitled to amend its Terms of Trade in order to both justify and
make legal the banning of a filmmaker.
-9th May 2012: The Australian
Government Solicitor, on the basis of the evidence before him, accedes to
Screen Australia’s request.
-10th May 2012: The filmmaker,
with the approval of the Screen Australia board, is banned by the Chief
Executive. The charge? That he did intimidate, harass and place at risk members
of Screen Australia’s staff with his correspondence.
-May 2012 – May 2016: The filmmaker requests
that he be provided with the evidence given to the Australian Government
Solicitor upon which the ban on him is based. His multiple requests are
-16thMay 2016: The current Screen Australia Chief Executive, having just announced an
extension of the ban to six years, refuses to produce the evidence provided to
the Australian Government Solicitor, citing FOI legislation:
Australia is not required to give you access to these documents under section
11A(4) of the FOI Act. This is because they are exempt from disclosure under
section 42(1) of the FOI Act because they are subject to legal professional
ban includes the following in relation to Screen Australia staff:
have been directed not to communicate with you in relation to funding as long
as you remain ineligible for funding under our Terms of Trade.”
Screen Australia is essential for any filmmaker wishing to take advantage of
the Producer’s Offset to produce his or her films.
accused of a crime sufficiently horrendous to ban him from even applying for
the Producer Offset (without which it is virtually impossible to make a film in
Australia) is not entitled to be provided with evidence of his crime because
the evidence is “subject to legal professional privilege!”
have made it clear , Graeme, that you are going to fight tooth and nail to
prevent me from acquiring a copy of Ruth Harley’s submission to the Australian
Government Solicitor. And I will fight tooth and nail, for however long it
takes, and however much it costs, to be provided with evidence of my crimes – a
right that has been enshrined in Westminster law for over 600 years.
will be hoping that the Ombudsman will defend your right to keep evidence of my
crimes secret. And I, if need be, will pursue the matter in the Supreme Court with
a view to obtaining a copy of Ruth Harley’s submission to the Australian
Government Solicitor. And you will employ Queen’s Counseland a legal team (as Ruth Harley did in 2012)
to mount whatever legal defence you can in support of the proposition that I
should be be given access to this evidence! An extraordinary state of affairs.
And not without its inherent comedic elements. And, of course, a waste of
Screen Austalia’s precious financial resources.
the Ombudsmanburies his head in the
sand (as has been the case this past four years) you may well win out in a
bureaucratic/legal sense and prevent me from obtaining evidence of my ‘crimes’.
Whether your credibility will survive the ensuing court case is another matter!
And why will you
fight so hard to keep Ruth Harley’s submission to Mr Ian Govey secret? I must
resort to conjecture here; to the asking of questions you and the SA board
refuse to answer:
Is it because Ruth
Harley’s submission, the accusations levelled against me are demonstrably
untrue? Is it because they are not nearly serious enough, to justify the
termination of my career as an Australian filmmaker?
I contend that
there is no truth whatsoever to the allegations; that you know there is none,
that the Screen Australia board knows there
is none and the Ombudsman knows there is none. Or would know if the most
fundamental of all questions were to be asked:
I contend that as
with Hillary Clinton’s speeches to Wall St, the contents of Ruth Harley’s
communication with the Australian Government Solicitor must be kept secret at
all costs so that you and the Screen Australia board can maintain the illusion
that the banning of me was justified, necessary and must continue.
You can so easily
prove me wrong, Graeme, by making public three examples from my correspondence
in which I intimidated, harassed and placed at risk members of Screen
cc Ms Louise Vardanega, Australian Government Solicitor (acting)