Monday, June 25, 2012

Does Gillard support harassment of public servants who support the opposition?

It looks very much like it.   Lori Dwyer asks below whether  Darrell Morris was bullied by the Australian Public Service after working for the Liberals

"Bullying" is a great Leftist theme at the moment.  It's an excuse for censorship.   If you criticize homosexuals you are a bully;  if you look cross-eyed at a black you are a bully and if you preach the Bible you are CERTAINLY a bully.

So it should be no surprise that the real bullies are Leftists themselves.  Thuggery is never far beneath the surface with them

The recent announcement by Julia Gilliard of a nationwide review on workplace bullying was so well received, it was almost disturbing– it seems that the culture of harassment and standover tactics within Australian places of employment is so ingrained and accepted that the detractors of this government initiative were few, and their criticism at relatively low volume.

Quite recently, the story of Darrell Morris began to generate buzz within Australia's social media circles, despite the apparent reluctance of mainstream media to become engaged in the hierarchical warfare of our public service departments.

By his supervisor’s own admissions, with the evidence collaborated by formal reports, Morris had been consistently “performing well” in his role with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He's worked in the Canberra–based department for the better part of a decade. A quiet but conscientious man, he admits that this is the only job he has ever wanted to do, and he relocated his wife and very young family to the ACT on finishing university specifically to cater to this career.

A fairly typical Aussie guy, Darrell forfeited his weekend rugby games and essential time with his kids in order to advance his employment– putting in the extra effort that is an unspoken requirement of being a ’good employee’ in this country.

It was during late 2009 and early 2010, while on leave with out pay working for Liberal Senator Helen  Coonan, that unfounded accusations of sharing classified information were leveled in Morris's direction. While DFAT issued him with a ’letter of regret’ over the incident, the subversive harassment continued and union officials report that the tone in meetings and other forms communication become between Morris and his superiors became increasingly hostile.
 It was last year, 2011, that Darrell Morris first took medical leave for severe depression. While ComCare, the relevant workers compensation providers, declared his workplace a significantly contributing factor to his illness, they have a ’no fault’ policy and no blame was laid, or compensation sought.

Morris's return to work in late 2011 was plagued with accusations of poor conduct from senior staff members and inflexibility within his senior management in regards to providing a safe and secure work environment– every employers ethical duty of care to those in their employ.

Currently on his second round of medical leave for depression, the DFAT has instructed Morris that his claims of stigmatization are invalid and further claims will result in disciplinary action. On his return to work, he will be blocked from receiving any training or promotion within the Department for a period as yet undetermined– it could be as long as three years.

While stating that a blanket ban on individuals returning from medical leave is ’policy’, no formal evidence of such a policy existing has been presented, despite numerous requests.

On this story breaking in the social medias, the general reaction from readers was subtle disgust overladen with a cynical acceptance that this conduct is to be expected within Government departments and all layers of bureaucracy, not only within our country's capital but in our state departments as well– those employed within our public sectors often work under a cloud of silence and passive aggression.

Transparency in workplace practices is always welcome, and Gilliard’s review of workplace bullying is timely, significant and valid. But it needs to focus its attention on sectors that are publicly known for using discrimination and stand over tactics– the Government’s own recruitment, advancement, internal complaint handling and ethical practice policies in particular.

Is that even possible, with the current culture of terrified silence that surrounds the topic; when people are too afraid to put name to their experiences for fear of covert retribution? When the best advice anyone within the public sector can give Darrell Morris is to change jobs, change departments, walk away and don't make a fuss?

Results of the review, due out in October, may provide a clearer picture– But don't go holding your breath. Given the current atmosphere, it may take more than one government review board to break the covert ranks of conspiratorial silence that surrounds this bizarrely underground, curiously Australian phenomenon.


That "Welcome to Australia"  sign is costing lives

By Amanda Vanstone

SURELY after another known tragedy of lost lives because people smugglers are able to sell unsafe places on boats to get to Australia, the Gillard government will finally shut the door on people smuggling.

The government must now remove the so-called pull factors that encourage people to risk their lives. Labor must take down the "Come on down" sign that makes some of its supporters feel so good, but actually costs lives.

When I was minister for immigration in the Howard government, one of the Indonesian ministers visited Australia to discuss border protection, among other things. My job was to reinforce the reasoning for our then strong border protection policies. He had a very sombre approach, but when I said "Ada gula ada semut" - "where there is sugar ants will be" - he had a glint in his eye. It is just common sense.

Tough border protection is not about being anti refugees. This is a ruse run by do-gooders who, in contrast to their sweet self-image, like to peddle hatred by asserting that people who don't think as they do are racists or uncaring.

During my time as immigration minister, we increased our intake of refugees, through the United Nations refugee agency, by a massive 50 per cent, while maintaining strong border protection. And we stopped the boats. For the government to now offer to set up an independent inquiry to look at the effectiveness of these policies seems to me no more than an unnecessary stalling tactic.

The people that use people smugglers fall within a range of categories, some with better credentials to take a refugee place than others. What all the boat arrivals have in common is a desire for Australian permanent residence and, hopefully, citizenship. But the UN Convention does not give a right to choose the country in which one will be protected.

I think it is fair to say that those who have travelled through three or four other countries before coming to Australia are no longer fleeing persecution but are rather seeking the citizenship of their choice. Who wouldn't want the golden visa card that Australian permanent residence or citizenship brings? While that is on offer, we are tempting people to get on the boats.

The government needs to reintroduce both offshore processing and temporary protection visas, or a variation thereof. Something that says: "If it becomes safe for you, we will assist you to resettle home. In the meantime, phone home and tell them they are not coming."

The Malaysian solution was never going to be all the government hoped. A half-smart people-smuggling network would quickly send 800 people to Australia for no fee, just to fill the limited number Malaysia was prepared to take. They may even then pay for those 800 to get from Malaysia back to Indonesia. Then the boats with paying customers would start again. It might increase their cost of doing business, but it would not stop the trade. What will do that is taking the goodies off the table.

Last Monday on this page, former Liberal prime minister Malcolm Fraser made a contribution to this debate, labelling the Coalition's policy both evil and inhumane. It's the use of these words that got him the headline and it is typical of the hate-style politics that some seek to practise. (We've seen a bit more of it over the past week in the "Let's get stuck into Gina" campaign.) Fraser might like to consider what humanity there is in continuing to attract people on to these boats when so many have lost their lives in horrific circumstances.

He says Australia does not have an asylum seeker problem because the percentage of people arriving unlawfully by boat is small compared to the number of people who cross our borders each year. It is an apple-and-orange comparison.

The fact that millions of people do lawfully enter and leave Australia each year has nothing to do with the fact that thousands are choosing to land on our shores with the aid of people smugglers, having passed through other safe countries so they can live in the land of the golden visa card.

Where we are the country of first asylum, as we were with the Indonesian West Papuans in 2006, of course there can be no question. They did not go through three or four other countries first in order to force our hand. We were their nearest port of call, and we gave protection. They were a completely different category to those on the boats that come through Indonesia.

Thankfully, in a free country such as Australia everyone is entitled to voice their opinion. Former prime ministers are no exception. But I don't recall hearing Fraser's former nemesis and now friend, Gough Whitlam, publicly attacking his own party in the way that Fraser has.

There are plenty of people keen to argue the case for leaving onshore processing in place, for community detention and for letting almost everyone stay. With a throwaway line of "send back the ones who are not refugees", they reveal how little they know of the difficulties in doing just that.

These people are engaging in conspicuous compassion - it is more a statement to the world about how they would like to be seen than it is about the object of their concern. It is nothing more than the politics of convenience.

There is nothing humane or compassionate about enticing people to risk a horrific death.  For heaven's sake, take the sugar off the table.


Wivenhoe class-action lawsuit progressing

Labor party penny-pinching cost billions.  Flood-mitigation capacity should NEVER have been used as water storage

FIRMS mounting a class-action lawsuit against the Queensland Government have spent $1 million on experts to prove Wivenhoe Dam operators were negligent in flooding thousands of homes and businesses last year.

Several hundred flood victims turned out for public meetings in Brisbane yesterday and today as law firm Maurice Blackburn and litigation funder IMF Australia mapped out their strategy for the suit.

Maurice Blackburn partner Damian Scattini told a packed crowd at Indooroopilly Bowls Club that "overconfident" dam operators failed to follow their manual or monitor the weather properly in the lead-up to the flood.

Three US-based experts in dam and hydro-dynamics are preparing detailed reports and modelling that will demonstrate much of the flood damage was caused by late releases that could have avoided with more prudent management.

About 3400 people have already signed for the "no win, no pay" suit, which potentially could cost the state more than $1 billion.

The experts' modelling will show which areas would not have flooded or would have suffered substantially less damage if the dam operators had acted differently.

People with properties that would have been damaged no matter what the dam operators did will not be represented in the class action, which is likely to be filed in Queensland.

The class action will seek only actual damages not "pain and suffering" and compensation received from other sources might be deducted from the claims, Mr Scattini said. He confirmed the state was building a legal war chest and firming its legal position.

"I'm sure they'll find money to fight us," he said.

The state's inquiry into the floods provided "useful sworn testimony" for the lawsuit, with dam operators "in thick mud at the moment".

He doubted the state would pass legislation to limit a court payout.

Only a handful of the 200-plus people at the meeting raised their hands when asked if they had been taken care of by their insurance companies.


Meatworks may shut Queensland plant for three weeks to avoid carbon tax

A MAJOR meatworks could shut one of its Queensland plants for three weeks to side-step a carbon tax bill expected to cost millions.

Teys Australia Meat Group is one of 295 names on a preliminary list of companies to be slugged the $23 a tonne carbon tax from July 1 after its carbon emissions were estimated as being above the threshold of 25,000 tonnes a year.

The group, which has its head office in Beenleigh, south of Brisbane, was expecting its carbon tax bill to exceed $2 million a year.

But the meat processor could dodge part of the bill by closing down its second-biggest plant at Beenleigh for several weeks to reduce its annual emissions at the location to just below the Government's 25,000 tonne tax threshold.

It is believed other meatworks with emissions above the threshold could also be considering temporary shut-downs to avoid the tax.

"We could close this plant for a period of time in the year - one or two weeks - and therefore our total emissions for the year would potentially be below 25,000 (tonnes)," Teys spokesman Tom Maguire said.

"We are talking to the Government about ways of avoiding that but to this date we haven't come to any resolution.

"Given some of our competitors don't have the same tax, we won't be able to pass the costs on."

The company will also pay a carbon tax on emissions from its Rockhampton plant but says a temporary closure there was not an option.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said the Government's $1 billion Clean Technology Program provided grants for new equipment and technology to reduce emissions.

The potential shutdown comes as Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan moves to reassure voters that carbon tax compensation will reach much higher up the income threshold than people realised.

New Treasury analysis reveals half of all families earning up to $150,000 a year will be over-compensated for the carbon tax, with tax cuts and welfare changes equivalent to 120 per cent of the expected cost.

But it might not stretch as far in Queensland as other states, with residents here facing a $3.70 a week rise in electricity prices directly related to the carbon tax.

That compares with a rise of $3.30 a week in NSW, $2.48 a week in Tasmania and $2.50 a week in Western Australia.

Prices will rise by double those amounts in some states but those increases are not as a direct result of the carbon tax.



Paul said...

Bullying and Queensland Health....where to begin? We were hit with an anti-bullying campaign about five or six years ago. It was actually directed at the Head Office where a toxic culture had emerged under Gordon Nuttal, but in order to not look singularly bad they tried to pretend bullying was systemic and out of control throughout all regions and we were all forced to attend numerous seminars and watch numerous, hastily slapped together videos that basically told us that bullying was anything they said it was (this was the first time I'd ever heard the laughable PC term "horizontal violence"). The biggest problem this caused was among new, inexperienced nurses who didn't like being taught their job (Gen Y and beyond) suddenly decided that any attempt to educate, or at least limit poor behaviour in the workplace (noise, language, basic competency etc) could be (and was) met with an accusation of bullying. I can still recall watching one new guy's eyes light up when it dawned on him what he could now get away with. We had a tortuous period of three or so years of ignorant, obnoxious young nurses making demands and even threats towards senior staff such that a real culture of us vs them emerged. This wasn't helped by an emasculated multi-layered management system where multiple warnings and appeals processes took the place of direct management control of the workplace. All seems to have passed now, like Gordon Nuttal's career, but it was one bad time.
BTW time you revisited that emergency nurse who sent the kid with pneumonia and swine flu home to die. The Coroner has spoken, and I was on the money about him being a dick with no experience, a tendency to know it all and not listen, and a reluctance to accept responsibility. Gay or not I still don't know, but the report just oozes entitled Gen Y with inflated sense of self importance inversely proportionate to actual experience and education. Its not so much him as it is those who let him loose in the first place where the bigger problem lies.

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