Monday, December 3, 2012

Woolworths, what did you do to my pizza?

Folks, this is a story about a pizza, a frozen pizza. Not just any old frozen pizza, but a Woolies Select brand pizza.

Called Mushroom and Mozzarella, packaging claims it has been wood fired and the dough hand stretched in Italy.

I don’t know about you, but I am having great difficulty conjuring up an image of a room full of dudes looking out across the Mediterranean working their asses off, churning out tens of thousands of Woolies pizzas!!!

Take a look at the picture of the plated pizza. On the left is the Woolies product, and on the right pieces from a frozen McCains pizza.

Now, take a look at the Woolies picture on its packaging.

Yep, at least the name of the product is accurate. Mushroom (ONE SLICED UP) and Mozzarella.

So, I called the Woolies Consumer number and had the most riveting one-way conversation.

Despite my various questions and comments, the only response I got was for me to take it back and obtain a refund.

I was more interested in talking about the picture on the bloody box!

For the life of me I just cannot see how in this day and age these people think they can get away with this type of visual deception.

And as far as being hand-stretched, methinks the only stretching going on here is that of the imagination.

I know that in the grand scheme of things there are more important things to worry about in life.

But come on, fair dinkum…a one mushroom pizza?

Final Scores:

Woolies 0/10
McCains 8/10

Matchs the pic
Woolies 0/10
McCains 10/10

Yep,'ve done it again! Well done.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Agent-General in London. Conflict of Interest?

According to our state government, ‘…The Government of South Australia maintains a European office, which is located in London and headed by Bill Muirhead the Agent General for South Australia. The role of this office is to encourage European companies to invest in South Australia; seek opportunities and provide support for the export of South Australian products and services to Europe; assist South Australian businesses, industry associations and other agencies in establishing contacts in Europe to promote trade, financial and commercial activities of benefit to the State; encourage people to migrate to South Australia under the business migrating scheme; assist the State's Tourism Commission in attracting tourists to South Australia; and raise the awareness in Europe of the State's cultural and artistic activities…’

According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Bill Muirhead, our Agent General ‘…is a founding partner of M&C Saatchi, where he continues to operate on a global basis, working with some of the largest and best known brands in the world…’

The Agent General’s address is The Australia Centre, Strand, London. The founding partner of M&C Saatchi’s address is 36 Golden Square, London.

The position is governed by the Agent General Act of 1901. The position is a salaried position with a 5-year tenure. Mr Muirhead was appointed in 2007.

In Parliament on 24 September 2008, Kevin Foley said; ‘…he is now working part time as our Agent-General…’

He does have a sidekick. The Deputy Agent-General, Matt Johnson.

Whilst in the UK last week, our Premier, Jay Weatherill, was prominent in the press for stating that South Australia (SA), in Britain, has no brand, no recognition. It was reported that SA has been confused with South Africa (SA). That brits have a general lack of knowledge about South Australia. That the state needs a new ‘brand’.

Western Australia, Queensland, and Victoria have Agent-Generals located in London.

Both NSW and Tasmania dumped the office many years ago.

The question must be asked.

What has Bill Muirhead and his staff been up to for the past 5 years?

In Parliament a few years ago, Kevin Foley stated:

The Hon. K.O. FOLEY: To promote our state we have the Agent-General's office in London, which is doing a lot of work. You would be familiar with his very cheeky adverts. We are very lucky to have a gentleman of the quality of Bill Muirhead as our Agent-General in London, the former founding partner of M&C Saatchi, former chief executive officer of Saatchi & Saatchi and the person credited with developing British Airways' advertising campaign. I think he has worked with Qantas, Coca-Cola and the big brand names in the UK. I think he was also responsible for the Tory election win of Major. I am not sure whether he was around the place when they lost to Blair.

We are very fortunate: he is a very clever man. He had that campaign 'Sod London house prices' and 'Bugger it, I'm off to Adelaide'. A few of the earlier drafts probably would not have got through the censor. That has been very clever. It has created much interest in our state. We do a lot of work outside our London office, in Great Britain in particular, but also in mainland Europe, particularly in France and Germany, for our tourism markets.

According to Saatchi financial records, Mr Muirhead is the Executive Director of M&C Saatchi PLC holding 3,799,369 shares.

Let’s talk about promoting. Let’s talk about advertising campaigns.

Remember the UK campaigns referred to as ‘Sod London House Prices’, and ‘Bugger it, I’m Off to Adelaide’?

According to many sources, Bill Muirhead for M & C Saatchi masterminded these campaigns.

OK Mr and Mrs Opposition. Time for some FOI requests.

(1) How much does the taxpayer fork out each year to maintain Mr Muirhead and the staff he manages?

(2) Do South Australia advertising campaigns go to public tender?

(3) What have past campaigns cost us, the taxpayers?

(4) What companies were awarded those contracts?

From where I sit, and from Jay Weatherill’s comments made in the UK last week, the efficacy of the Agent-General's office must be queried.

And I don't know about you. But there's just something not quite right here. I have no doubt that Bill Muirhead is a very honourable man. But, is it AOK for our government to be handing out lucrative work to a company in which our Agent-General has a very substantial financial interest?

I will leave the last words to Kevin Foley.

‘…For a minimal amount of money, with a novel idea he has got national BBC coverage all around the United Kingdom promoting South Australia…’

On the other hand, maybe, just maybe Jay Weatherill is talking out of his arse, and didn’t notice he was actually in South Africa!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Attorney-General John Rau. Another caucus room jackanapes?

Not once has the Advertiser published one of my letters concerning the Attorney-General (AG) John Rau.

During years of whistleblowing, I have at times been stunned when both ex-AG Atkinson and current AG John Rau were interviewed on air and had me shaking my head in total disbelief. Click Link to go to previous Post regarding Model Litigant boasts!

John Rau ABC interview re: Model Litigant

These are elected people holding positions at the highest levels of fidelity, lawfulness, and transparency.

These people are looked to for setting the standards by which we live by, by which we aspire to, by which we look to for protection.

Unless I have missed something, both these gentlemen have misled the public.

I remember a while ago when AG Atkinson hammered me on 5AA during an interview with Mike Smithson. He had some pretty horrible things to say about me. His inference that I was a liar was hard to miss!

Had it been the other way round, I am certain he would have dragged me through the courts for defaming his character. That was and still is his track record.

Anyway, here is the letter the paper has ignored.

Attorney-General. Please Explain.

During an ABC891 interview on 16 February 2011, as he had done many times since taking office, Attorney-General Rau went to great lengths to assure listeners that Crown behaves as a Model Litigant before and during court proceedings.

The previous Attorney-General, Michael Atkinson, held the same flag for many years.

Since 2004, I have doggedly pursued the Department of Justice and the government for a copy of this telestic papyrus, but with no success.

Recently, a document appeared on the web named CSO LEGAL BULLETIN2.PDF. The contents were authored on 16 June 2011. It is a Model Litigant dissertation.

Again, I challenge another Attorney-General to come clean, for the sake of transparency, for the sake of both complainants and defendants, and to release to the public domain an appropriately dressed Model Litigant Policy.

Considering the recently released file was authored last June, I am still curious as to what both Attorney-Generals referred to many times over the years prior.

It would be devastating to think that both doyens of South Australian justice done nothing but spoof the people of South Australia.

In my opinion, your Honour, John Rau carries the same flag the previous AG flapped around at anyone who challenged the integrity of the office.

Recently I submitted to John Rau a very detailed range of complaints against the Crown Solicitor's Office. Against a particular solicitor.

Yeah. I got a reply. All two paragraphs. He referred my submission to the Crown Solicitor's office. The same people I complained about.

Speaks for itself, doesn't it! I am certain you know what he said in that letter!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Now the Law Society is banging on about a Model Litigant Policy. AND, a warning to members of SuperSA

Recently, the President of the South Australian Law Society, Mr Ralph Bonig, gave media comment about the Attorney-General, the state bureaucracy, and the 'ghostly' Model Litigant Policy.

Well, bugger me. Guess what just became available through a Google search:  Model Litigant guidelines published by the Crown Solicitor's office. Authored 2011.

In response, I penned a letter to the newspaper's Editor. It was not published. Here it is:

I was dumbfounded to read Ralph Bonig's letter 'No Way at Present for Action on McGhee' (Sunday Mail April 1).

“…the Attorney is bound by the model litigant rules…”

What set of rules might that be Mr Bonig?

Surely not the same set I have doggedly pursued for nearly 12 years!

Hang on. Maybe you are confusing yourself by the sets made available on-line by the Federal Government, by the Victorian Government, by the NSW Government, by the West Australian Government, by the Tasmanian Government, et al.

The Model Litigant Policy does not exist, has never existed.

It is a shame to see the Law Society of South Australia banging on the same drum as Attorney-General Rau.

About a Policy that if existed would expose this government for what it truly is; the most aggressive, adversarial, litigious government in living memory.

Model Litigant?

As Willy Wonka put it in Pure Imagination, ‘Hold your breath, Make a wish, Count to three’.

For nearly 20 years, the Labor Government and its underlying bureaucracy, the public service,  both have proven to be adversarial serial litigants WHEN challenged.

Here is a great example. My example.

In 2002, I ambled across to the government Superannuation Fund office to apply for an increase to the  death and sickness benefits attached to my superannuation account.

I went there because of a question on the Form that asked if I was aware of any medical condition in my past that may give me problems in the future.

No detailed questionnaire. Just one question that puts you, the 'pseudo doctor' right under the pump.

I did not have a clue. Jaundice? Chickenpox? Concussion? Hickies? The freckle on my arm?

I sat down with a staff member and plodded my way through everything and anything. I answered her questions. She filled in my Form. No doubt I was there.

Jump forward a bunch of years to when I got really crook.

To cut the long story short, I was approved to receive a payout, BUT…not the additional benefits I had been paying for since 2002. Why?

Pre-existing condition. It was claimed I did not tell them about one particular past illness.

Well, I damn well did! That was why I went over there in the first place. I remember!!

So, instead of believing me, they claimed I had deliberately held back information. This allowed SuperSA to avoid the payout.

And despite the fact Crown Law has been unable to locate that staff member from 10 years ago, they still attacked me. The Judge declared he had difficulty believing that a SuperSA public servant could have made such a mistake! Now there's a huge red alarm bell!!! People don't make mistakes?

I was a Public Servant. Why would his way of thinking not apply to me equally? Why could he not believe me, as opposed to someone no one could find!

As a consequence, I have spent the past 4 years, unrepresented, dragging my sorry arse through the judicial system in an attempt to get my money.

And what has been the government’s reaction? To fight me all the way! To accuse me of re-writing history to suit.

In one particular court appearance, Crown Law delved deeply in to the technicalities of the superannuation legislation.

Also, before that Hearing, Crown told me we would only be handing up our submissions, as the case was one of Administrative law. 'In and Out in 10 to 20 minutes' he said.

Not so, on the day. He stuck me in the Witness Box. I was there ALL DAY!

I was lied to!

Yeah. Why would they want a Model Litigant policy.

I sat there like an empty application form wondering how the hell my whole appeal process had spiralled away from the simplicity of what really happened back in 2002, to an egghead disquisition that may as well been given in some Wookie dialect for my ears.

Now, this is where it can get interesting. The provisions of a Model Litigant Policy.

Here are a few pieces from the New South Wales government Policy:

‘......The obligation to act as a model litigant requires more than merely acting honestly and in accordance with the law and court rules. It also goes beyond the requirement for lawyers to act in accordance with their ethical obligations. Essentially it requires that the State and its agencies act with complete propriety, fairly and in accordance with the highest professional standards....’

‘..... where it is not possible to avoid litigation, keeping the costs of litigation to a minimum, including by not requiring the other party to prove a matter which the State or an agency knows to be true, and not contesting liability if the State or an agency knows that the dispute is really about quantum...’

‘....Not taking advantage of a claimant who lacks the resources to litigate a legitimate claim, not relying on technical defences unless the interests of the State or an agency would be prejudiced by the failure to comply with a particular requirement...’

‘...... apologising where the State or an agency is aware that it or its lawyers have acted wrongfully or improperly.....’

Some time ago I gave up trying to get a copy of the much referred-to South Australian Policy. Even when I was working within the Attorney-General’s department, that slippery little sucker was no where to be found.

It does not exist. And when you consider the gist of the NSW Policy, you can probably see why.

If you are one of the 200,000+ members of SuperSA, can I suggest you obtain a copy of your medical records and hand them across to SuperSA? Get a receipt? Trust me, when you lodge that claim, they will pledge 6 months, as they did with me, to turning over stones beneath the damn stones.

Fortunately for private sector Funds, the Insurance Contracts Act does give appellants a 'fair go' to challenge such decisions. An honest oversight, or a cockup by the Fund can be given an aspect other than a suggestion, for example, that a claimant was deliberately holding back, was nefarious in plotting a raid on the Fund years into the future!

There is also a Superannuation Appeals Tribunal (SAT).

You have options. Independent options.

Unfortunately, state government superannuation funds are literally a law unto themselves. The ICA cannot be used. The SAT is out of bounds.

Admistrative Law. The words HAM and STRUNG come to mind!

What a crazy situation. I felt totally impotent. What could I do? With no money, I was buggered.

You might be wondering if my circumstances raised the heckles of any elected members in Parliament House. Not really. A couple showed interest. But those interests kinda slid away somewhere along the email trails.

What I consider more disturbing is that our Justice doyen the Attorney-General John Rau, and the big kahuna of the Law Society, Ralph Bonig so readily trot out references to a Model Litigant Policy when it suits, when they need to placate. A Policy that does not exist. And they both know this as fact. THAT is a worry!

Oh. And regarding the SuperSA Board. I wouldn't bother with its internal appeal process. Your appeal just goes back to the same Board that denied your claim in the first place.

Considering the unusual circumstances, I had the audacity to seek the opportunity to present my Appeal in person to the Board .


As I was told, in writing, an Appeal can only be based upon medical evidence. Presenting your case to the Board is simply 'not on'. The bureaucracy's idea of Procedural Fairness in all it's splendiferous glory.

I was buggered from the getgo.

No surprise though, considering the calibre of the bureaucrats currently supping lattes in the Justice Department:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Dear Thief: Please Return My Wife's Pay!

Social networking.

A world where you will never know every single person who reads your Blog, your Tweets, your Facebook rants.

You might know a young plaited-hair mum with a young son who was at the Plaza Wednesday morning.

My wife works at Tea Tree Plaza. Part-time. And since I joined the ranks of the unemployed, the only source of money to pay our rent, put food on the table, and finance all those other things that can make life damn tough.

Yesterday, mid-morning, after taking her pay out off the Credit Union, she stopped by the ladies restroom near the Target store on the way back to work.

She chatted with the mum and the young boy who were at the sinks.

Dear young mum.

Surely you would know that Westfield security can backtrack you on CCTV from the moment you bolted through the fire exit with my wife’s purse. All the way back to when you got out of your car and entered the centre.

Are you that stupid?

I hope you enjoy spending our money, trying out the maxed-out credit cards, maybe even contemplating a shot at identity theft.

I now have to call my landlord and tell him I can’t pay the rent. We live on a weekly budget. Losing a week's pay simply does not compute.

But what a proud mother you must be.

A fine example for that wee fella you dragged along by the arm as you fled into the car park.

Oh. The police called last night. Thanks for dumping the purse in the car park of another shopping centre. There might not be much left in it, but at least we feel ever so slightly less ‘empty’.

You will be caught though. Aren’t licence plates a real bitch? And you did it in front of witnesses!!

I realise on the measuring stick of bad things that can happen to us, having a purse stolen is not right up there.

But, you do feel gutted, violated. And when you are on the bones of your arse, and your pay is nicked, it does have ramifications that are horrible.

Life today is bad enough in Struggle Street without arseholes like that thief.

I must give thanks and praise to the officers from our nearby Golden Grove Police Station. And to the security staff and cleaning staff at Westfield’s Tea Tree Plaza who searched waste bins both inside and outside.

Thank heavens for CCTV technology making it possible to backtrack this thief. Just like in the movies!

Who would have thought?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Where is the Justice? Not in the Justice Dept!

Jerome MaGuire.
CEO of Justice.
A grand poobah scoring over $6500 per WEEK!

What should we expect from these taxpayer funded people.

Honesty? Know what they're talking about?


Plaza Room, Parliament House, Adelaide
Friday 13 November 2009 at 2:20pm

With regard to the outcome of the Moss Inquiry, a Disciplinary Hearing where a most senior Public Trustee Executive had been accused and subsequently found guilty of rampant workplace bullying strewn across many years, the Committee Chair, Liberal Party Rob Lucas asked, in part:

7335 The CHAIRPERSON: What penalty, if any, was applied to him? The concern that has been expressed to me is what you have just indicated; that is, your department has negotiated a TVSP with Mr O'Neill. And so, after all the concerns that had been raised about his behaviour within Public Trustee, an inquiry by Mr Moss into his behaviour, found guilty of an offence or offences, there does not appear to have been any penalty, and not only wasn't there a penalty, the department has negotiated a TVSP with him.

Mr MAGUIRE: Perhaps we should come in there. There was a penalty, and I will take a risk here and I will advise the committee that Mr Moss imposed a reprimand upon Mr O'Neill and that went onto his file. That is the maximum penalty that could have been imposed at the conclusion of the disciplinary hearing. That occurred last year. The two are not related—and I want to make that clear to the committee. The penalty imposition in 2008 and a TVSP acceptance by Mr O'Neill in 2009 are not related. The Public Trustee offered the TVSP to Mr O'Neill and funded that TVSP, and Mr O'Neill took that TVSP. He was surplus to requirements in the Public Trustee.

Bounding ahead two years, to questioning about the Cartridgegate Affair, and what could happen to any public servant found to have benefited, by way of gifts, by purchasing over-priced printer cartridges:


Plaza Room, Parliament House, Adelaide
Monday 31 October 2011 at 10:35am

6639 The CHAIRPERSON: What would that be—abuse of public office? What would be the nature of the criminal offence?

Mr MAGUIRE: It would obviously depend on what the nature of the offence was. I can't tell you, in law, what those offences would constitute without knowing the details, but if it is a criminal offence, it would be referred to the police. If it was a code of ethics matter, the Public Sector Act outlines the requirements that you are required to undertake. The individual would go through a disciplinary inquiry, and the results of this inquiry have a range of remedies from a reprimand right through to dismissal, but it really does depend on the circumstances of the matter that we are talking about.

As I reported in a previous Post, the Public Sector Act is very clear on this matter:

Section 58(5) of the then Public Sector Management Act 1995:

(5) If, on an inquiry under this section, the Chief Executive is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the employee is liable to disciplinary action, then the Chief Executive may do one or more of the following:

(a) reprimand the employee;

(b) order that the leave entitlement of the employee be reduced by a specified amount;

(c) order that the employee be suspended from duty in the Public Service for a specified period with or without remuneration and, as the Chief Executive thinks fit, with or without accrual of rights in respect of recreation leave and long service leave;

(d) order that the salary of the employee be reduced by a specified amount for a specified period;

(e) recommend to the Governor—

(i) that the employee be transferred to some other position in the Public Service with a lower remuneration level; or

(ii) that the employee's employment in the Public Service be terminated.

The obvious question demands an answer. Is this a case of selective memory, bad memory, ignorance of the Act, or something more nefarious?

Could it be that due to Mr O'Neill's Executive classification that he was handed a get-out-of-jail card? It did take them about 6 years to deal with this man from the day I blew the whistle. At the same time they were very busy firing air-to-surface missiles my way.

The Act has not changed since 2009. Why did he cite it differently last November? Could it be that the public servants responsible for the cartridge purchases live down at the pleb level?

Considering the definition of the word mislead, did Mr MaGuire mislead the Select Committee in 2009?

Takes me back to saying that despite the mountain of corroborating evidence, a letter of reprimand was the paramount punishment on the day, and absolutely a slap in the face to the many who stuck out their necks battling the Public Trustee toxic workplace.

I want to know why the bully got off scott free?

There needs to be an Inquiry into the outcome of the Moss Inquiry. The findings of that Inquiry must be made public, not buried in the 45 Pirie Street basement. Mr MaGuire needs to answer  some hard, direct questions.

And while we're at it, I had a letter from the CEO guaranteeing the safety of my job during the lengthy internal investigations. Why did Mr MaGuire subsequently find me surplus to requirements?


What became of the group of Public Trustee employees sprung on Today Tonight for circulating porn and smut through the government electronic network for many years?

I was fortunate to have a source close to the key players during the many investigations that came out of my whistleblowing. I KNOW what was discussed at some of the 45 Pirie Street meetings. And unless someone digs up a few skeletons, I will spill my guts.

And no doubt, as once before there will be threats to sue. Hey, I lost my job. My health is still buggered. Our home is gone. What you gonna do, have me for dinner? 

Strange though. I threw away years of my life fighting the system, pushing them to address the toxic workplace at Public Trustee. After those many years of government inaction, I took refuge under the Whistleblower's Act and appeared on Channel 7's Today Tonight. Hung the dirty clothes out.

ONE WEEK later I was swooped upon. The Government Investigations Unit was tasked to interview me to determine if I had breached my employment contract. That was when I quit, I felt I had no other option.

Years avoiding the corruption and bullying issues at an Executive level. One week to shaft me, the whistleblower.

I think that says it all!

Monday, February 20, 2012 for real mate?

Graeme Richardson. Powerbroker. Backslapper. Listen to yourself.

Sack Mr Sheen for supposedly bringing about a challenge?

By your own yardstick then, what should have been done with Julia Gillard for her knife-wielding ousting of our then Prime Minister?

Oh, that is right, it was not premeditated, was it. She just sort of got up, had her cocoa pops, then thought...hmmm, think I will take over as PM today.

My problem is this.

I see a Prime Minister I simply cannot trust.

Heavens to murgatroyd, even the infamous one-eyed Richo brain cortex must take issues with someone who cannot be trusted.

Someone who has so blatantly lied to the Australian people, particularly when that person is running the bloody country!

Over many years you have done your fair share of banging on about people who cannot be trusted! Where's the consistencey mate? Where's the conviction??

Like a bus driver, a pilot, a taxi driver, my damned mineral-drilling dentist. I have to have faith, have trust with the highest office in the land. The office of the Prime Minister.

What once were clear waters is now a churning vortex of sludge as factions, powerbrokers, truth, half-truths, and blatant dishonesty swirl with the vengeance of a captured yak.

From where I sit, surrounded by bills I cannot pay and patting a scrawny cat I now feed on cheap stuff, politics in this country, today, has jack shite to do with answering to and looking after the Australian people.

It is about power, about wannabes, about backroom wheelin' & dealin', about...yes Mr Richardson, sheer hypocrisy.

I am very disillusioned.

What we need is a fresh face. Someone who will make a promise and....stick to it! Win back the trust; win back the faith of the Aussie people.

Hmmm...having said all that, Richo, you old shitstirrer, you may not have an idea of what I say. You should, but I doubt you want to. Does not fit into power broking plans.

I am just a simple, non-complicated Irish migrant now Aussie-voter who is struggling to survive in a country that has been taken down into a seething apocalyptic abyss.

You live in noddyland mate. The hypocrisy of your '...I’m staggered...' statement, is proof.

As for South Australia and this mob of Labor Government leaders? The apples never fall far from the tree! Thank you Mister Isaac Newton.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Public Trustee Parliamentary Hearing: In Secret!

UPDATE. Tuesday afternoon.

I was contacted this afternoon and told by a Committee Member that he and the other Members know nothing about any in-camera request, and that no such request has been acceded to. This will only occur on the day, Thursday at 9.15am.

Most certainly, the emails I received from Committee support staff over the past few weeks suggest otherwise. It does not involve rocket science to get a handle on comments such as '...I believe you will have a wasted journey if you come in...'. Anyway, to the credit of the Committee this has now been clarified. I & the media await Thursday morning with bated breath. I am aware that Public Trustee WILL make an in-camera request!

Original Post

For many years, the Office of the Public Trustee (PT) was constantly in the spotlight with disturbing stories about workplace bullying, corruption, and shocking customer service.

On 31 March 2008, the Statutory Authorities Review Committee resolved to '...inquire into, and report on, the operations of the Office of the Public Trustee...' The findings of that Inquiry were tabled in Parliament December 2009.

As the Committee was '...dissatisfied with a number of practices...', PT is required to report back in accordance with Recommendation 13. This is scheduled for Thursday 16 February inst, this coming Thursday.

The Committee advised me over the weekend, that the session is to be 'in camera'. There is to be no transparency.

The Inquiry, up to now, has been very transparent.

As Public Trustee is responsible for more than one billion dollars of clients’ money, this sudden request for secrecy is disturbing.

From a personal viewpoint, it is a kick in the guts.

I have sacrificed a lot over the past 12 years, banging on about Workplace Bullying, Sexual Harassment, and corruption.

So, here we are at the proverbial 'end of the road', with access to be denied to the media, to the public, and to yours truly.

I did ask if I could make a submission to Committee Members to argue the merits of transparency, and that Public Trustee's request to be in-camera is not appropriate.

Unfortunately, all I got was '...never known a committee to refuse...' such a request.

If I had a dollar for each time I was stonewalled over the years with a similar stance, I would be a very rich leprechaun!

Nevertheless, I have canvassed Members of Parliament and alerted the media. NEVERTHELESS, my gut feeling is that no one gives a toss!

No doubt, PT management will regale in their claims of how the culture has changed, how the bullying has been vanquished, how staff is all now happy little vegemites.

Sorry, but not according to the constant stream of information lobbing into my inbox.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Nick Xenophon and Parliamentary Privilege: could this have been avoided?

As recorded in Hansard, in the House of Assembly, on 18 May 2011, the South Australian Premier Mike Rann said; “...The fact of the matter is, in terms of parliamentary privilege, there are people who use and abuse the privilege of the courts to smear people, and we have parliamentary privilege where we are required to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth...’

Not long after, Moral Mike then said; '...or bikie lawyers like Craig Caldicott or David Edwardson...'

A brave man indeed, evidently hypocritical, linking a Queen’s Counsel, a member of the Independent Bar, with ‘...bikies...’. Under Parliamentary Privilege.

I think we are all informed enough to view some of the criticisms of Nick Xenophon for what they are, political convenience.

According to various reports, Archbishop Philip Wilson said that Monsignor David Cappo had urged Archbishop John Hepworth, on eight occasions, to allow an investigation to proceed.

I suggest that David Cappo and Philip Wilson both endure most of the blame for the dramatic events of this week. A week during which Senator Nick Xenophon used Parliamentary Privilege to name the person that John Hepworth claims raped him more than 40 years ago.

In McKibbin V South Australia (Office of the Public Trustee) of 2004, Judge Rice stated; “...the wishes or desires of the person making the complaint are not paramount and cannot be used as a reason for no action by management or inadequate action...’

Provided the media reporting is accurate, I get the impression the Church is suggesting that a formal investigation was constantly stymied by the complainant, John Hepworth.

PHILIP WILSON: “...from my perspective, from Monsignor Cappo’s perspective and in accordance with our legal advice, we have given Archbishop Hepworth’s allegations priority...’

PHILIP WILSON: “...on my behalf Monsignor Cappo urged Archbishop Hepworth, at the end of each meeting, to give his permission to proceed with an investigation into the allegations. On each occasion Archbishop Hepworth declined, indicating that he was not in a proper emotional state to deal with an investigation...”

In my own whistleblowing case, in which I was complaining about workplace bullying and sexual harassment for years, when asked by the Court why no action had been taken, the Public Trustee Executive said; “ order to move forward with these other comments that we would need clearer details in relation to that and a commitment from him that we were actually making a complaint, and I was never able to get that commitment from him...”

Fortunately, the Court saw through this nonsense and concluded that irrespective of the wishes of the complainant, once management becomes aware of any serious issue it is absolutely obligated to take an immediate course of action.

As Judge Rice stated, “...the wishes or desires of the person making the complaint are not paramount and cannot be used as a reason for no action by management or inadequate action...’

Did Nick Xenophon do the right thing? I am stuck in the middle between yes and no, but feeling I need to shift toward NO. I doubt any of us would be thrilled about being named in Parliament.

During my years of whistleblowing, action was eventually taken only after I went public. I took Public Trustee to the public arena of the District Court. Then 5 years later I gave evidence at the Parliamentary Inquiry.

And out of sheer frustration, brought about by the years of the government sitting on its arse doing nothing about my complaints, I appeared on Today Tonight.

For me, the end justified the means. I was vindicated. The Government was caught in all of its glorious bullshit!

Had the Church, irrespective of the complainant's position immediately initiated a transparent and independent investigation, the interactions leading up to this week's Xenophon declaration might not have occurred. By its own admission, the Church did not, and now has placed the blame for that inaction squarely at the feet of the complainant.

You cannot get much more wrong than that!

During the week Moral Mike also said; ‘...Naming a person in parliament, unsupported by evidence, rather than telling the complainant to go to the police, is really about publicity...’

I can but wonder why our Premier's most infamous nickname is Media Mike. I suspect Craig Caldicott and David Edwardson already know.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Living with depression. What workplace bullying did to me.

I am not a clinical expert on depression. I am a sufferer.

For decades, I operated my own I.T. Company, and I was successful. Remember the Keating recession and his banana republic comment?

Interest rates up around 20 percent, businesses going bust, families destroyed.

When that recession hit me, my monthly turnover plummeted to depths further down than my breakeven point. Those were terrible times.

Yet, I managed to get through that period. Words such as depression, stress, and anxiety never really meant anything to me.

And despite the fact I single-handedly lost our family home, as a family we all popped out the other end fit and healthy.

In 1999, I was asked to sort out some I.T. issues at the Office of the Public Trustee. A one-month assignment evolved into an 18-month stay when eventually I was offered a full-time position.

Having already been in the public service back in the 70s, I was a bit hesitant at accepting, but after decades of self-employment thought, what the hell. No more business to worry about.

Besides, things were getting tough in the I.T. industry, with younger folk popping up offering their services for bugger all. Writing on the wall? Possibly.

I took the job. The beginning of my woes.

During my years of whistleblowing, I was certainly subjected to intense victimisation, both direct and indirect.

I will never forget the day that something came over me, something I had never felt before. Unknown to me then, it marked the beginning of years of depression.

I was losing sleep and enduring night sweats. Slowly I became reclusive and cowered away from the company of others. Other strange symptoms added themselves to an ever-lengthening list.

Every morning as I approached the bus to go to work in town, I would vomit. Every, bloody morning.

I would have to get off quickly and walk around the bus station until the feeling passed.

Talking with people, close up, proved very difficult. The longer the conversation persisted, the more nauseous I felt. Then the dry retching would start.


Eventually I did go to the doctor, and he spoke about serotonin. Told me I had some chemical cock-up in my brain and that medication would restore the balance.

The first lot of meds turned me into a zombie. The second lot had me detached from reality. Bizarre is the only word I can use.

I told my doctor to forget the meds. I intended to battle my depression by attacking the stressors. Logic was trout slapping me in the face telling me that to remove the effect I had to remove the cause. Sounded good to me anyway.

Having said that, evidence overwhelmingly confirms that medication does work. You just got to find the one that is right for you. I  didn't bother. Maybe I should have.

It took years of fighting to get rid of those stressors, and I did. But, they were only replaced by others.

One of those stressors was myself.

Some people find it easy to forgive and forget. Unfortunately, not me. Despite the work of psychiatrists and psychologists, the hatred I have built-up over the years, toward my former employer, the state government and its public service, slowly eats away at me.

When many investigations and a Parliamentary Inquiry showered me with vindication, and with the high-ranking bully out of the service, I waited to return to my job as a Systems Administrator at Public Trustee. I even had a letter from the CEO guaranteeing my position would be protected whilst I was away on special leave.

Pages 65 and 66 address my issues.

Parliamentary Inquiry Findings PDF file

But no. Despite all the accolades and the vindications, the Attorney-General’s department declared my position null and void. I was not wanted. How can I put it...they shoved it up me!

If you had nearly 30 years experience in I.T. and was told they could not find any work for you within the entire public service, would you trust them? Feel angry? By another whistleblower, I was told the department could not find anyone game to take me on. I was also told they wanted rid of me.

All I did was stand up for the rights of others and me. We do not need workplace bullies, or sexual harassers, or those that gratuitously use the money of others as though it was their own.

I had never done anything like that before. Whistleblowing.

Premier Rann did not want to know. Attorney-General Atkinson did not want to know. The CEO of the Public Trustee, who decided to suddenly 'leave', couldn't stand the sight of me.

I was pissing in the wind for years. I was a pain in in all the wrong places.

Taking Public Trustee to court had to happen. I hung the dirty clothes out in public. But later, after another few years of trying to get them to take action against corruption, my appearance on Today Tonight gave them all they needed to push me out.

McKibbin V South Australia (Public Trustee)

I had dobbed them in. Shamed them.

I have now been suffering from forms of depression on and off for 9 years.

It did go away for a while when I found myself as the Acting I.T. Manager at Consumer Affairs for a couple of years. But, it returned with a vengenace when that assignment ended and they sent me home again.

Oh. And the government had no part in that assignment. I stumbled across it myself when calling around looking for opportunity amongst my contacts.

By mid-2007 I was back in the pit patting the black dog.

I joined the ranks of the unemployed in September of 2008. Had no choice. Had I stayed in my employer's playground, I am certain my years on this earth would have been numbered.

I took a Workcover payout. And believe me, it doesn't go far!

Unemployment for the past 3 years has been beyond terrible. You want to try attending an interview only to find yourself throwing-up as you enter the room?

If I could go back in time, and be told I would one day suffer from depression, I would not believe it.

It just took me over. I had no say in it.

I now live in a vicious cycle. Still looking for work to support my family. The closer I get to one, the more ugly the symptoms become. Even popping an anti-nausea pill does jack squat!

Recently on 5AA, in response to an interview with politician Andrew Robb about his depression, a subsequent caller spoke of the day she entertained ending it all.

I had that day too. It was bizarre. I remember the feeling. It was as though a huge weight had been taken off my shoulders as I contemplated how to do it, not should I do it.

Thank god it was a one-off and I came to my senses. But, I do understand why others consider it, and do it.

Yes, this is a morbid post. Unfortunately, these are facts.

I do my best from day to day. I look for work. I worry like hell if I score an interview.

How do I explain away my three-year absence from the workforce? How do I answer questions whilst battling waves of nausea that get more intense with time.

I definitely keep away from crowds. I worry if I am asked to go to someone’s house for dinner. I am embarrassed by my symptoms.

I remember that fateful day at Public Trustee when I complained about my Manager for constantly rubbing his groin in the office. That is when my nightmare began. March of 2001. All management had to do was...well, do something, anything. But, they did not.

I do not know why I am sharing this story so publically. No doubt, there will be derisive thoughts and comments. However, I do not care. Would swap that for this damn illness any day of the week.

Unless you have suffered yourself, you will not pick it. We do hide it well. But, rest assured, there are many like me out there.

I would be remiss not to plug Beyondblue. This organisation, and the people behind it, has been doing amazing work in our communities to address illnesses such as depression. To let us know that we are not alone, that there is hope and help.

The site is a goldmine of information, particularly for inspiring stories of recovery.

Check out the web site. You can access videos, books, etc. All gratis. This is a place I get inspiration from, besides help.

You are not alone.

Vicki Chapman MP and the Galapagos Duck!

Member for Bragg.

Pray tell Vic, what is the connection between Burnside, or Greenhill Road, or Skye with an archipelago of volcanic islands stuck out in the middle of nowhere?

Politicians. How the hell do they justify these taxpayer funded overseas jaunts!

I have reported on these jaunts before. Here is a couple to whet the appetite:

Jack Snelling’s tour of the UK, France, and the Czech Republic:

At least Jack seemed to do full days, unlike our mate Karaoke Kevin:

And, Lyn Breuer certainly has a penchant for everything UK. I previously reported on her 2008/2009 Christmas/New Year jaunt, with her daughter in tow, reportedly assisting:

Poor old Lynn obviously ran out of time as she returned again the following year, only this time to also see how the Welsh Parliament works. Bit of a worry that, Politicians not knowning how Parliaments hang it all together.

Now, as much as I have a soft spot for Vicki Chapman, I am not surprised she waited nearly one year to lodge her Travel Report. Wait for it folks. The GALAPAGOS ISLANDS!

‘...My attraction to these islands was stimulated by the discovery that they had undertaken pest control and management programs that remain a shining example to the world...’

‘...I was astonished to learn that no other Members of Parliament from South Australia, or, from the Australian Parliament, have travelled to the Galapagos Islands and reported to their constituency...’

Sorry my little Galapagos Vic, but I am not astonished in the slightest. How did you manage to get this one through? However, you really do not need approval, do you?

Moreover, what could there possibly be to report to your Constituents? Got me stuffed!

These Travel Reports are nothing but travelogues.

This was Galapavic’s justification for the trip as reported to Parliament on 28 September 2010:

‘...I had the pleasure of visiting the Galapagos Islands just over a month ago, a visit which was not only memorable but also certainly informed and educated me about aspects that could assist our own state, in particular the development of precious parts of South Australia, including Kangaroo Island, some of which it already shares with the Galapagos Islands...’

Well, I have read your report and your travelogue to Parliament and I must say, I can only give you a tin star.

The Galapagos Travel Report Link

Here, take an electronic visit to these web sites:

Everything you need, and more, is right there. You could have saved yourself a lot of time, and us a lot of money.

Well, that really depends on why you went!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

No wonder we lose faith in the Government!

4 February 2011, I posted a story about the South Australian Equal Opportunity Commission.

I considered the effectiveness of this government agency in light of my own experiences having lodged two complaints during a two-year period.

I was wondering if the EOC reacted to a complaint against a government department differently to a complaint lodged against anyone in the private sector, such as Joe’s Fish and Chip Shop.


Just How Effective is the Equal Opportunity Commission

In addition, I stated that the Conciliation Agreements brokered by the EOC, between two warring parties, are not worth the paper they are printed on.

After I posted, I received an Email from the Attorney-General’s Department on 2 March 2011, 8.32 in the morning:

Dear Mr McKibbon (sic)

The Office of the Attorney-General is currently finalising a response to your query, however it is policy that we respond to (sic) via post.

Please provide your postal address within the week so a response can be forwarded.

Attorney-General's Office
45 Pirie Street Adelaide SA 5000
Ph 08 8207 1723
Fax 08 8207 1736

By reply, I provided my address that same morning.

I did declare to myself, that after years of condescending crap from the previous Attorney-General, Mick Atkinson, maybe the new AG, John Rau must have effected change throughout his portfolio. Change aligned to Premier Rann’s renewed promise about transparency and accountability.

Well, the postman came, and the postman went. Days evolved into weeks...

During the afternoon of 25 June 2011, I clicked REPLY against the original AGD Email:


Nearly 4 months have passed since your advice (see below) that a response was being finalised.

I wonder if it got lost in the mail!

I advised my postal address on 2 March 2011.



The postman came, and the postman went...

During the afternoon of 26 August 2011, I clicked FORWARD against my Email reply dated 25 June 2011:

Good Morning.

Another two months, and I still await the promised response as advised by 'you' over FIVE MONTHS AGO!

Please, at the very least click REPLY even to say there is to be no response.

Very poor.


Today is 6 September 2001, and still no response. Twenty seven (27) weeks from the day the AG department asked me to provide my postal address within one week.

The only question worth asking is: WHERE'S THE PROMISED RESPONSE?

My opinion? I do not expect a response. The evidence I have submitted is so damning, I cannot even see one of their most unctuous spin-doctors reel out anything with a hint of credibility.

However, I will persist.

I still want to know why a most senior public servant, against whom I lodged a complaint, got off the hook!

A most senior public servant who was subsequently subject to a disciplinary hearing, the Moss Inquiry, the most secret Moss Inquiry.


The Moss Inquiry and Mike Rann's Idea of Transparency

Page 34 of the 2009/2010 annual report of the SA Equal Opportunity Commission states:

‘.... A small business owner in a regional town was alleged to have sexually harassed a number of young female employees over several years. Andrea complained about his behaviour to the Commission and because of this was victimised by the owner to the point where she felt that she had no other choice but to resign from her employment.

This matter was resolved through conciliation with the owner agreeing to apologise in person to Andrea and agreeing to pay her compensation of $2250 for injury to her feelings...’

Well, at least her Boss had his sorry ass dragged into Grenfell Street. Had he been a senior public servant???

Thursday, February 17, 2011

South Australian bureaucracy claims to be a Model Litigant! Bollocks!!

Wednesday morning, tuned to ABC radio, I was intrigued as I listened to Matt Abraham and David Bevan lock horns with the South Australian Attorney-General (now, Deputy Premier) Mr John Rau.

My morning was relatively peaceful. Breakfast was good. My granddaughter’s first birthday the next day. Cat strolled past and flicked her tail.

All was fine until I heard Mr Rau utter two words, MODEL LITIGANT. In that same breath, he stated that The Crown, as in, I suppose, the Crown Solicitor’s Office, conforms to a Model Litigant policy. Mind you, in all my years of interfacing with these people, I have never, ever seen a document purporting to be thee Policy. Every other state has one. Google it!

As many will know, I have not enjoyed good health for some time, since leaving the public service. But, I have learned how to recognise ‘my moments’ and how to manage them.

The more I listened to this interview, the more livid I became.

So, what does Model Litigant mean? Here are a few pieces from the New South Wales Policy:

‘......The obligation to act as a model litigant requires more than merely acting honestly and in accordance with the law and court rules. It also goes beyond the requirement for lawyers to act in accordance with their ethical obligations. Essentially it requires that the State and its agencies act with complete propriety, fairly and in accordance with the highest professional standards....’

‘..... where it is not possible to avoid litigation, keeping the costs of litigation to a minimum, including by not requiring the other party to prove a matter which the State or an agency knows to be true, and not contesting liability if the State or an agency knows that the dispute is really about quantum...’

‘....Not taking advantage of a claimant who lacks the resources to litigate a legitimate claim, not relying on technical defences unless the interests of the State or an agency would be prejudiced by the failure to comply with a particular requirement...’

‘...... apologising where the State or an agency is aware that it or its lawyers have acted wrongfully or improperly.....’

Let me put the State Government to the test.

In 2004, after several years of blowing the whistle on sexual harassment and workplace bullying, within Mister Rau’s own portfolio, self-represented I caused a trial to be conducted in the District Court by the Equal Opportunity Tribunal.

Whilst the sexual harassment claims were prominent, my focus was on the Court determining that the bureaucracy sat back on its fat arse ignoring my complaints for years. The Justice Department was simply validating the bullying and the harassment, by doing nothing.

I am happy to say the findings of the Tribunal totally vindicated my position. I was very, very pleased!

I was again in Court, last September. Same idea. I said one thing, in defence, the government said another.

Those two court cases have a common thread. Obviously under instruction from the government agency, the Crown Solicitor’s Office was to convince the Judge I was a liar, that I tended to re-write history, and that I was a man with questionable motives.

So, how did they go about trying to discredit me? Specifics.


I was in the Witness Box for two days. It was savage. The Crown lawyer hit me with accusation after accusation. Some of them downright bizarre. Absolutely nothing to do with the case itself. Just good old-fashioned mudslinging. I am a strong person, but I took one helluva pummelling those two days. It was bad.

The night before the case began, the Crown lawyer and THE BULLY and the CEO of Public Trustee called my star witness to the executive boardroom. She called me in tears that night. I had lost my witness. Infer what you may.

Unfortunately, for the government, anything they thought achieved by that pummelling did not make it to the Determination handed down 25 June 2004. Although the sexual harassment allegations did not hold water, TECHNICALLY, I certainly got what I wanted. Proof the government lied. Proof I was not a bullshit artist. Proof they damn well knew about the bullying, about the harassment! The government agency, Public Trustee, was found to be vicariously liable for the actions of an employee.


Same crap! Only this time, it was downright gutter tactics. The Hearing was one of Administrative Law. Leading up to court day, there were several Preliminary Hearings. That was a hoot! From memory, the majority of my requests for discovery were, yeah, just ignored. Yet, each time Crown wanted something, it was pistols at dawn stuff!

A few days before day one, I had a conversation with the Crown lawyer. Nice guy, only doing his job, I guess. He made it very clear to me that providing I did not introduce any new evidence, it would be a 10-minute in & out affair. We hand up or read out our statements. Home in time for lunch.

Well, as I walked into the courtroom and up to the Bench, the tomes of material he had strewn across that bloody great big bench puzzled me.

He put me in the Witness Box.

That was in the morning. Sometime after four, I slid out. Yep, just like in 2004, he did his best to convince the Judge I was a liar, and a re-writer of history. He introduced paperwork I had never seen before. Paperwork from years prior. Sitting in that box, my brain went into meltdown. I got confused. I was upset. But, hey, he was only following instructions. I had been ambushed.


If the elusive South Australian Policy is anything like that of the NSW Policy, I hope you draw the same conclusions. Is Crown a Model Litigant?

In my second case, I had my sickness insurance entitlements withheld due to an alleged pre-existing condition non-disclosure back in December of 2002.

During Preliminary Hearings, Crown did agree with some of my allegations: that my insurance form had been filled-in by counter staff, that there were no policies or procedures for counter staff, that many of the staff were contractors. HOWEVER, they did not agree with me when I said I had told the staff member all of my medical history.

Hell, but that was why I went there in the first place. This government superannuation manager does not have any medical questionnaires. The form has one question, and asks you to report what you think, in your past, may cause you to become disabled in the future. Too bad if that freckle does turn out to be cancer many years later.

Well, they did a great job of ambushing me. Of deceiving me. Crown Law lied to me. I was set-up. But, hey, I have lodged an Appeal with the full bench of the Supreme Court. Give it another shot. Be more alert this time.

So, give me a verdict. Did Crown behave as a Model Litigant?

Dear Attorney-General Rau.

With the greatest of respect, I must disagree with what you said on ABC891. Moreover, if you are even half the man I believe you to be, you will seek time with me. I have been and I remain a victim of a very cruel and adversarial system that is entrenched within the public service.

As a taxpayer, well, if I ever get a job again, you should want to hear it from my side. From one of many  who has been through eleven years of hell. Years of no one wanting to help me. Years of bullying, victimisation. Years of ill health. Years of frustration with an employer who deserted me, who now is screwing me, all over again!

You have the findings of Judge Rice. You have the findings of the Alan Moss Inquiry. You have the findings of the Parliamentary Inquiry. Vindication. Vindication. Vindication.

And, do you want to know how it all started? Back when I was a normal person, a great father, a good husband. All I did, one day in March of 2000, was to say to the CEO; “That new guy is touching himself in front of staff members.”

This is nothing to do with law, with legislation, or with policy. This is to do with the truth. And, certainly in my experiences, truth is the first casualty in this adversarial system we call justice. A Model Litigant? I do not think so!

This is The Bank calling.....your payment is 5 minutes late!

I might be wrong, but since the Banks reduced various fees, such as late fees, I have been getting calls the day after the monthly payment is due.

Used to get a letter, or even better a note on the Statement a few weeks later.

This happened this morning. It is fair dinkum, and I have rushed the story out before I forget the details.

My phone rings:

ROB: Hello.

BANK: Is this Robert Mckibbin?

ROB: No. This is Rob McKibbin.

BANK: Rob McKibbin? Can I speak to Robert McKibbin please?

ROB: No.


ROB: No. I’m Rob McKibbin. But you can call me Robert.

BANK: Robert, can I confirm your date of birth please?

ROB: What’s yours?

BANK: What?

ROB: What's your date of birth?

BANK: But I need your date of birth.

ROB: Me too.

BANK: I need to verify your identity.

ROB: Me too. You could be anybody mate. A nutjock. A cuckoo. A bloody terrorist. Anybody.

BANK: I am calling from the Bank.

ROB: No you’re not. You're calling from India.

BANK: I am calling from the Bank about your account. This is urgent.

ROB: Don’t care. I don’t know you. I’m not giving you my personal details.

BANK: Robert, can I have your date of birth please?

ROB: Yours first please.

BANK: Robert. I need to discuss your account.

ROB: I don’t. What is your phone number.

BANK: Robert, I am calling from the Bank and I..........

ROB: Look mate. I don’t know who you are. You have told me jack shite about yourself. I'm gonna hang up. You are so rude.

BANK: Robert, I need to verify your date of birth.

ROB: I’m not sure which particular word you don’t understand, BUT, I’m bustin for a crap, I got the hangover from hell, and I don’t need some pinhead calling me up in the morning wanting to know when I was born. Adios.


Better check to make sure that thirty-eight bucks went through!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Workplace Bullying: Do employers have strategies to avoid stress claim payouts?

You feel you have no option other than the Workcover option. You have fought the workplace bully for what seems like an eternity. However, the problem remains. And, you get sicker with each passing day.

Whatever management says it is doing, is not working. Your doctor pulls the plug. Anxiety, depression, adjustment disorder...irrespective of the term, you are sick.

It was a gut-wrenching two years and seven months from my first complaint to my stress claim. Then I persisted with my war for a further six years before I felt compelled to resign.

As in my case, here in South Australia, the process begins with a Workcover Prescribed Medical Certificate (PMC) from a General Practitioner. This is what you attach to your Workcover Claim Form.

BOTH documents will detail your medical condition. Both will detail THE ALLEGED CAUSE.

And that, my friends, is when your worst unsuspected nightmare goes supersonic.

Put yourself on the management throne. By signing off on the Claim, legitimacy attaches to your declaration that your illness is directly linked to workplace bullying.

And if all goes your way - you actually survive - the only thing you have left to prove, in any legal arena, is that management sat back on its arse, as in my case, doing what it is very good at...nothing!

In my old workplace, the bully (now proven to have been a bully by a subsequent Disciplinary Inquiry) was one-down from the CEO. The Big Kahuna Number Two, the self-appointed deity who signed-off on EVERYTHING!

I was buggered, right from the get-go. It was like soliciting Caesar for a life membership of the RSPCA.

That sign-off does not happen overnight, or in the week after, or in the month after, or.........

The South Australian Public Service AND the inept State Government created my experiences. The department I toiled for, the Office of the Public Trustee, an agency under the Attorney-General’s Department umbrella, was and still is a self-insured entity.

The only good thing I have to say about the self-insured position, is that I avoided being managed by one of those independent, profit-driven insurance companies. From all accounts, that was a godsend, in relative terms anyway.

In my case, I was sent to a Psychiatrist of my employer’s choosing. Moreover, the report from that employer-paid-for expert was a medico-legal report. It was NOT a medical report. There is a difference. And, if you ever wind up in a witness box, you will realise the report was not obtained to help you, the injured worker.

N.B. You have the right to obtain a report from a specialist of your choosing.

Now, getting back to my legitimacy attachment comment. Even though co-workers were managing me, the process was, for the sake of better words, both backbreaking and stress making.

It was as though that much-needed sign-off was as elusive as fluffy ALF returning from Melmac looking for another garage to crash through.

It was as if my employer was being guided by some secret document. A ‘How to avoid stress claims’ type document.

Do such documents exist? HELL YEAH!

Not for the first time, I received one such document yesterday. Prepared by a Law Firm for a government agency. It needs to be read a few times in order to transform your mindset from that of an injured worker to that of a bushwhacker.

When I first read it, I could not quite get my mentally damaged psyche around it. I was looking for the benevolent bits. I was assuming the needs of the employee were a consideration on some level, any level.

Then it struck me. The guide I was reading has nothing to do with the wellbeing and the interests of the worker. The guide is the 2011 version of the 15th century Malleus Maleficarum, the Witch Hunter’s Bible.

Because, I’ll tell ya, you feel like you’re being led to the bloody stake as you wind your way through the sea  of constantly popping-up obstacles on a ‘Talking Heads’ road to nowhere.

After my employer received the first psychiatric report, management was pissed. Human Resources, at the request of Big Kahuna Number Two, yep, the bully himself, penned a response letter asking the Psychiatrist to RECONSIDER his findings!

I HAVE THAT LETTER. Yep, my employer, a government agency within the Department of JUSTICE!!!

The Psychiatrist said NO!

I have that response, and it sure does make interesting reading. I got the impression Sigismund 'Sigmund' Schlomo Freud was wondering what planet he was communicating with.

Now folks, back to the nefarious employer Stress Claim Avoidance Manuals (SCAM) I mentioned.

Here are some tantalising extracts from a few of the documents in my possession:

‘...obtain the necessary information if you later want to claim an exemption from the statutory requirement to provide ‘suitable employment to the worker...’

‘...obtain the necessary information required to dismiss the worker for incapacity in a legally effective manner...’

'...Dismissal by reason of disability is not unlawful if the worker is unable to perform their duties due to their disability...'


‘...if a private sector company and a Government department were found to have breached their safety duty for the same issue, the private company could be fined or prosecuted but the government department would be issued with a Notice of Non Compliance...’

I think it necessary to say that I do not believe all employers behave nefariously. I have knowledge of an  employer that dealt with the bullying problem decisively, and assisted the worker towards a full recovery.

Well...I know of one case.

Over the past few weeks, I have helped some people, people targeted by workplace bullies, people who are sitting at the crossroads, the same t-junction I found myself back in late-2002.

I turned right and filed a stress claim. I could have turned left, walked, and saved myself years of grief.

You are not the only one who will suffer. Factor in your family.

My best word of advice? HEALTH! Do not take on a system that is hell bent on self-preservation. Do not hop on that white horse if you know your health is on wobbly legs. It will not be worth it. Walk away. They are not worth it.

And, do yourself a huge favour. Google the word whistleblower. I doubt you will find a whistleblower who still has employment, who still has sanity, and who still has the life that was enjoyed before taking on the devil.

It is a cold world my friend. Take on bullying and the system, and it becomes a lonely world. Think carefully.

But.....would I do it again?     HELL YEAH!

Friday, February 4, 2011

How effective, how diligent is the South Australian Equal Opportunity Commission.

According to the website,, one of its three mandates (information, education, assessing & resolving complaints) is ‘...Our complaint handlers assist people to reach an agreement if a complaint of discrimination or harassment is made. We do not act as advocates. Our aim is to bring people together to try to resolve the complaint. If a complaint cannot be resolved, it may be referred to the Equal Opportunity Tribunal...’

By its own admittance; a dog without a bark, a snake without venom, a tiger missing a few molars.

How effective is this well-oiled machine. From the 2010 Annual Report:

‘...satisfaction with the conciliation process remains high on the part of both complainants and respondents...’

‘...will continue to deliver valuable services to help protect South Australians against unlawful discrimination...’

‘...Over the past year 59% of complaints within our jurisdiction were resolved through conciliation...’

‘...Eighty five percent of conciliated outcomes involved the respondent making an apology or providing another undertaking to the complainant...’

How effective? Let’s put it to the test. In fact, let’s deal with specifics.


For years, I have assisted workplace bully targets with filling-in the Complaint Form. You see, if you don’t get it right, I assure you, it WILL come back and bite you in the bum.

On Thursday, 24 March 2005, at 4.08pm, I lodged a completed Complaint Form claiming I was being victimised for having lodged a previous complaint of sexual harassment on 26 February 2003.

The Equal Opportunity Tribunal in the District Court, to my satisfaction, had dealt with that previous complaint, the 2003 complaint. However, had the Commissioner dealt with it appropriately, Court action would not have been necessary.

Be aware that under the legislation you are permitted to lodge a victimisation complaint provided you can link that behaviour to a previous EOC complaint.

AND, also be aware that if the Commissioner brushes aside your complaint, you do have the right to request it be referred to the Equal Opportunity Tribunal within the District Court. I had to do that!

On page two of my 2005 complaint, I named, in section A, the Office of the Public Trustee as the organisation I was making a complaint against.

On page two of my 2005 complaint, I named, in section B, an Executive Officer of the Office of the Public Trustee I was making a complaint against.

The Form clearly states: ‘...I am complaining about:...’, and ‘...I am also complaining about:...’


What struck me as bizarre from the onset, was that Public Trustee staff trotted across the way to the EOC and sought (and got) assistance with putting together a response to my complaint. Eh???

Can you imagine: "Hi, this is Joe from Joes Chip Shop. You guys sent me this complaint asking for a response within 21 days. Can you help me put it together?'.

During December of 2005, a conciliation conference had been organised by the EOC and attended by me and a proxy for the Public Trustee. Note: the Public Trustee, the ‘...I am complaining about...’ bit.

An agreement was signed. I was happy to release the organisation from my grip.

It was around this time I was sent home, apparently for my own safety. A full-on investigation began, immediately, and for the next three years, everything hit the fan. Investigations, Inquiries, and then a Parliamentary Inquiry.

During all of this time, albeit somewhat distracted, I continued to wait for the EOC to address the other part of my complaint, the ‘...I am also complaining about...’ bit.

On 18 July 2007, I wrote to the then Commissioner, Ms Linda R Matthews.

I received a response dated 26 July 2007. It said:

‘...I refer to your letter of 18 July 2007 requesting information about the progress of complaints against Ms Cath O’Loughlin (the then Public Trustee) and Mr X (I won’t shame the poor bugger anymore) of the Public Trustee...’

‘...I do not have any record of a request to consider your complaint against any individual respondents other than the Public Trustee, nor do I understand that you asked for your complaint to be considered against individual officers...’


I really, really, really hope I am not the only one bewildered here. It is possible that Ms Matthews was in wind-down mode as she drifted toward her exit from the EOC in 2010. Who knows!

One thing I do know, with absolute certainty, is that Ms Matthews was wrong!

The only question worthy of an ask is; ‘WHY?’

It is worthy of mention that there are plenty of media-reported cases of small business operators copping it fair & square for a helluva lot less than the years of crap I went through in the public service.

Should I mention that the EOC, the Public Trustee, the Attorney-General’s department, the State Ombudsman, the Government Investigations Unit, et al, all live inside the Department of Justice tepee?


From my experience, not worth the paper they are written on. I had an agreement I signed-off on in December of 2005. It included a date for my return to Public Trustee, hopefully after the investigation was over.

On 30 November 2006 I wrote; ‘...the 12-month assignment, as per my Settlement, expires in less than a fortnight...’ In other words, tally-ho, get my desk ready.

Four hours later, a response, ‘ will not be returning to Public Trustee...’

Not long after I contacted the EOC. I wanted that Agreement enforced. Ooppss...sorry, no can do. The tootthless tiger had spoken.

So much for Conciliation. So much for the EOC.

The three mandates? Maybe just stick to Information and Education. The rest just doesn’t work, well, not for me!