Thursday, July 7, 2016

Graeme Mason, Screen Australia CEO, bans me from making Freedom of Information requests!

Graeme Mason
Chief Executive
Screen Australia
Level 7, 45 Jones St
Ultimo 2007                                                                                                  

4th July 2016

Dear Graeme

As you know, after four years with zero income, no access to the Producer Offset, and no prospect of making films in this country, Screen Australia’s ban left me with little choice but to retire as an Australian filmmaker in April this year.

Your new ban will not affect my capacity to make films outside of Australia but it does carry with it the same implications that the original ban did – that I intimidate, harass and place at risk members of Screen Australia’s staff in my correspondence. I continue to deny that I am guilty as charged in 2012 or that I am guilty as charged in 2016. It is not my job to prove my innocence. It is your job to prove my guilt. As was the case with Ruth Harley and Fiona Cameron in 2012 you steadfastly refuse to do so.

In yet another attempt to clear my name I wish to apply for copies of any memos, emails, minutes of meetings and other forms of internal Screen Australia correspondence relating to your recent decision to ban me for a further two years. You declared in your letter to me of 14th June that Screen Australia will no longer accede to any FOI request made by myself. I do not believe, in accordance with the  The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act), that you have a legal right to refuse my request.  If you do believe you have such a right could either you, or Screen Australia’s legal department, explain to me (and to Ombudsman’s representative, Kent Purvis and Australian Government Solicitor Louise Vardanega) the legal grounds for such refusal?

I do not wish to be supplied with copies of all my correspondence this past two years, as was the case in 2012. I wish only to be supplied with those parts of my correspondence (or blog entries)  that you believe to warrant that I be banned again.

As I made clear in my most recent letter to the Ombudsman, the offer I made to you in the first weeks of your tenure at Chief Executive at Screen Australia still stands: a meeting with yourself and Fiona Cameron (with Kent Purvis in attendance) in which you present documented evidence that I (a) intimidated, harassed and placed at risk members of Screen Australia’s staff prior to May 2012 and (b) that my correspondence with Screen Australia between May 2014 and May 2016 contains clear evidence of the need to ban me for a third time.

If such a meeting does not occur in the near future I will place this matter in the hands of my lawyers and let them deal with it as they see fit.

best wishes

James Ricketson
cc Senator Mitch Fifield, Minister for the Arts
Ms Louise Vardanega, Australian Government Solicitor (acting)
Mr Kent Purvis, Office of the Ombudsman

Kingston Anderson, Australian Director’s Guild.

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