About

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About Us

The intention of this blog site is to provide a point of contact and information for current and former employees of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) who have experienced bullying, harassment, victimisation or other forms of anti-social behaviour as a result of their employment with CSIRO.

We encourage all current and former staff of the CSIRO who have experienced such behaviour to contact us via the groups email address: victimsofcsiro@gmail.com.

TOP NEWS/ISSUES

Release of Investigation Report into Workplace Bullying and other Misconduct. 

The Victims of CSIRO have undertaken a review the Investigation Report and provide the following considered response  here

-The Victims of CSIRO team-

The Long Awaited Response to the Stage 2 investigation report and participant feedback

CSIRO Investigation – Is your privacy in Jeopardy?
Another backflip by the investigator in CSIRO bullying and misconduct allegations

Detailed Review of the Investigator’s Report – The Good, the Bad, and the downright Ugly

** Response to Investigators Report **

Incomplete inquiry still leaves questions unanswered

CSIRO to take its time to release bullying report – transparency optional

Victims of CSIRO website reaches 50,000 unique visits

A new familiar story

Open Letter to CSIRO CEO, Dr Megan Clark

128 lies and counting…

Litigation by former CSIRO employees on the Increase as Victims investigate legal options

Q&A –Meeting between HWL Ebsworth and Victims of CSIRO on the 22nd of March 2013

 Change.org Petition – Call for Solicitor General, Attorney-General to intervene in the

CSIRO’s “Independent” investigation into workplace bullying and other misconduct

 “Victims of CSIRO” Advocacy Group Rejects Terms of CSIRO’s Bullying Inquiry –

 

Visit us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/VictimsOfCSIRO

The Concerns

  • Most recently, scientists Warwick Raverty and Sylwester Chyb have publicly complained of “endemic” and “systemic” management bullying and intimidation at CSIRO. Raverty has publicly exposed the “many acts of bullying and intimidation” he saw and was subjected to at CSIRO. His story can be viewed in the media section of this website. Chyb has sued CSIRO in Federal Court and obtained a Comcare investigation into his case. His story can be viewed in the media section of this website.
  • Despite numerous complaints by these and many other employees to the Chief Executive, various senior executives, and even the Board of Directors at CSIRO, nothing has been done.
  • In 2012, seven ex-CSIRO scientists jointly hired a legal team and wrote to Comcare requesting a formal investigation of the workplace practices and management culture of CSIRO.
  • In Senate Estimates hearings on 28 May 2012, CSIRO executives were questioned about management bullying and harassment at CSIRO. They claimed to be unaware of the problem and cited a statement in a confidential Comcare report which appeared to suggest that no problem exists. The transcripts of their responses can be found here and here. However, nothing could be further from the truth. We have, as individuals, written to them, met personally with them, emailed them, requested formal investigations by them, and even sued them in one case. In our oppinion, it is preposterous, misleading and deceptive for them to say that they were not aware of the extent of the problem.
  • Shadow Minister of Science, Sophie Mirabella issued a statement after the Senate Estimates severely criticising and condeming CSIRO. Her press release can be read here.
  • Comcare wrote to CSIRO after the Senate Estimates expressing their extreme displeasure at the disclosure of the confidential report and stating that the quote used by CSIRO was “out of context” and that CSIRO also failed to disclose to the Senate that “the draft report also contains preliminary findings that the CSIRO breached its occupational health and safety duties with respect to its handling of some of the allegations of bullying made by anad against Dr Chyb”. Comcare demanded that CSIRO “issue a correction to hansard as soon as is practicable”. Read the Comcare letter here.
  •  In summary: CSIRO appears to have little respect for its staff, its legal obligations, the regulator (Comcare), and even the Senate and Parliament of Australia.

Who Are We?/Our History

The Victims Of CSIRO group was formed in mid-2011 as a result of conversations between a number of former CSIRO employees who all shared common experiences of bullying, harassment and/or coercive behaviour whilst employees of the CSIRO.  It soon became apparent from the large body of information between the former employees that this was a significant issue requiring a coordinated approach to address effectively.

A number of our members have previously approached CSIRO at both Senior Executive and Board level to address these issues without success.

Our Purpose

Our purpose is to provide support and advocacy for those who have experienced inappropriate workplace behaviour.  We feel that effective communication and collaboration between affected parties and a focused approach in pursuing and addressing the damaging workplace culture within the CSIRO is the only way to effect positive change within the organisation.

Our group is made up of members with long-standing affiliations with the CSIRO (in some cases spanning decades) who are passionate about public standing and integrity of this much loved and respected Australian public institution.  Similarly we are highly dismayed by the apparent dilution of the integrity and standing of the institution as a result of the purely selfish interests of a number of very highly placed individuals who do not have the best interest of the CSIRO at heart.

Our intentions have not been, are not, and never will be to diminish or damage the reputation of the CSIRO.

What we are not able to do

We are not able to provide legal advice… etc.

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26 Responses to “About”

RSS Feed for Victims of Bullying, Harassment, and Victimisation in the CSIRO Comments RSS Feed

I find it peculiar that you do not provide any contact details for your group, or members. Why does your group lack such transparency? This is particualrly unusual, as an email address is required to post to this site- thus requiring transparency from those who engage with you.
ALso, even though you state that you are not intending to diminish the reputation of CSIRO, why are your printed this material publicly?
I am interested to know whether you have engaged with the CSIRO Staff Association with your grienvances?

Hi Adam

Thanks for your comments. A contact email is provided on the contacts page of this website victimsofcsiro@gmail.com
The requirement for an email address upon posting comments simply allows us to contact anyone who may have questions and discourages spurious posting. The email address of the author is not posted publically and we do not release the personal details of anyone engaging with us without their expressed written permission.

This material has been printed publicly because attempts to get these issues addressed internally within the CSIRO have been ultimately fruitless and have resulted in some really nasty attacks on those who are raising the issues. I have been attempting to raise these sorts of issues for over 5 years. Others have similarly raised concerns, some dating back to the 1990’s. Where else does one go when the CSIRO Executive and CSIRO Board fail to act on complaints?

In relation to your question on the CSIRO Staff Association, I have been providing updates to senior CSA employees where appropriate. The CSA have not indicated support or otherwise for this group. I was a CSIRO Staff Association workplace delegate for a significant length of time and the CSA assisted a number of our group in pursuing resolution of their grievances.

I have a huge issue with the comcare statement from the draft report.
“I found no evidence of system deficiencies or a culture within CSIRO or specifically with Entomology division that embedded or promoted bullying type behaviour.”

Evidence for something is easy, not finding evidence is different, its as simple as – not being tasked to look, or not looking, or having evidence withheld, or not taking a thorough approach to the task, or being prevented from thoroughly investigating, or not asking, or not having access to the right people, or even if you are talking to the right people, those individuals withholding information for their own safety . I am very interested in the method that the comcare investigator used to ascertain there was “no evidence”. There must be one, or there is a serious compromise here.

I can not find evidence that there are not faires at the bottom of the garden.

Unless there is a very solid methodology, Comcare should not be speculating like this. Comcare should withdraw this if there is not a robust methodolgy demonstrating this lack of evidence.

Comcare refuted the assertion of CSIRO as misleading as they did find a number of breaches in relation to the investigation. I believe the almost daily reciept of new stories of bullying from within the CSIRO will quickly disavow any notion of this *not* being a problem of organisational proportions if for no other reason that the current and previous executives have permitted such a toxic culture to thrive in CSIRO as a result of lack of attention, desire or care to deal with such a culture. Such a culture cannot thrive unless it is ultimately supported, even if unwittingly rather than blatently. Only a thorough investigation of the allegations will reveal whether the culture has been overtly supported (condoned) or covertly supported (through inaction).

I’ve posted on the latest –
CSIRO ordered to act on bullying – But is this the APS disease? http://apsozloop.ning.com/profiles/blogs/csiro-ordered-to-act-on-bullying-but-is-this-the-aps-disease

ICT centre

The independent investigation that CSIRO has started should include current employees, not just former employees.

I find this site less than helpful to outsiders like myself, trying to find out what this “bullying” was about.
Was there Health and Safety issues alone? Was there gagging of scientists that did not agree with public stance of CSIRO in matters of science (and if so which ones)?
Are there any common trends regarding the issues that brought about such bullying?

Hi Claude

In response to your question All of the Above and more! Many articles relating to complaints are published on the website in the media section

One of the purposes in establishing this website was to capture experiences of bullying with the organisation and identify common threads. We are certainly finding that a number of prominent names are reappearing with ongoing contact with current and former employees. Some of the complaints involving particular senior employees of the CSIRO date back a considerable period of time and we hope that a truly independent investigation will expose them and remove the current protections they have been afforded which has enabled them to behave in this manner for an extended period.

Referring to a comment by Adam Smith here i too find it peculiar that you dont provide any contact details of your group or members. More so that comments and posts are screened by you. This would lead many to conclude that the comments are screened and then comments which suits your groups/ members agenda are posted. .

Dear “Anonymous”

Surprisingly enough you will find the contact information for Victims of CSIRO on the “Contact Us” page. Comments, except those which are overtly spam or offensive are posted. You will not that there are a number of such comments on the Victims of CSIRO site which many may reasonably conclude are not supportive of the group/members objectives. Take for example the comment by “Adam Smith” which you quote. The sheer fact that your comment which many may consider unsupportive of the groups/members agenda was published quite successfully defeats your own argument.

It is quite a common practice to moderate comments on websites (at least those which permit comments to be made) to ensure that the content is appropriate in relation to societal standards.

Yours Sincerely

Victims of CSIRO
email: victimsofcsiro@gmail.com

By the number of spelling and grammatical mistakes made by an apparently intellectual disaffected group!!!! Check out the first 5 words of your ‘purpose’.. Maybe English lessons are in order. Could that be why you were managed out of CSIRO??

Thank you for pointing that out. This grammatical error has now been fixed. Perhaps we were “managed out of CSIRO” because we could actually write!

Is this true? This was in the Sydney Morning Herald published on 13 April 2013 “Science second in toxic CSIRO work culture”

“The group suffered a blow recently when the Fair Work Commission dismissed an application by the ”victims” spokesman Andrew Hooley to be granted an extension of time to appeal against his February 2011 dismissal from the CSIRO: ”There is no evidence upon which I could be satisfied that CSIRO took prejudicial action against Mr Hooley either before or after his employment ended.”

This is a gross over-simplification of the determination in relation to FWA matter of Hooley v CSIRO. If you take the time to read the decision itself, you will find that the matter was dismissed due to the applicant, Mr Hooley, being unable to satisfy the tribunal under Section 266(2) of the Fair Work Act that extenuating circumstances warranted an extension of time in which to make the application. The ruling of the FWA on whether to grant an extension in relation to this matter should not be construed as ruling on the merits of the matter itself, which were not the subject of this decision.

Suggesting this to be a blow to “The group” is also somewhat of an embellishment as this is a personal matter for Mr Hooley and should not be confused with the activities undertaken by the ‘Victims of CSIRO’ group.

The ‘Victims of CSIRO’ group has been highly successful in educating the Australian Public in relation to the toxic workplace culture which exists within the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and in supporting the many casualties of such an unwholesome environment. We will steadfastly continue to support and advocate on behalf of the victims of the CSIRO’s toxic culture and will continue to educate the public on matters relevant to this topic until there ceases to be a need for such work.

It is inarguable that such a culture exists within the CSIRO when one considers that the CSIRO themselves have instigated an investigation into such matters, if only as a result of massive public pressure. Such a result must be duly attributed to the individuals who have had the courage to come forward and declare that ‘enough is enough’ and to demand a change to the toxic culture within the CSIRO.

The increasing trend in both the number and cost of injuries of a psychosocial nature accepted by Comcare over the past 3-5 years also makes it difficult to dismiss the reality of the situation within the CSIRO.

A CSIRO funded “Independent” Investigation? This is an interesting concept?
Wouldn’t the CSIRO senior staff be dependent on the “Independent” to clear them of all misdeeds for which a fee is paid to the “Independent”. The “independent” is not doing this for free, certainly not for charity. CSIRO would be the best customer the “Independent” would have ever come across if they hold them responsible and get paid for the investigation.
But one thing is certain the “Independent” and the Dependent are both convinced in their view that the public are fools.

I was working for CSIRO at the time the allegations were made, and Comcare insisted CSIRO take action to halt the endemic bullying and harassment within CSIRO.
This action took the form of a few hour “workshop” sessions where employees had to participate in a series of exercises to show them what the policy stated. However the employees affected by various forms of bullying and harassment could already have garnered the information without wasting 1/2 a day on the course and those responsible-if they attended (and many were “too busy”) assumed they were blameless. Many (such as my own former manager) skipped the course and was asked to do an “online” (click here) version.
As a former employee who resigned after my job was made impossible by my “team leader”, and who like many others was not helped by the human resource department when issues started to arise I find the responses of CSIRO to the allegations against them much as I found their internal actions-completely ineffective.

AAT is “only” a tribunal – time will tell if CSIRO “subordinates” will risk perjuring themselves at the Federal Court of Australia or NSW District Court

Agreed AAT is a tribunal. But the false statemenst were made under oath. By now most woudl know that lying is a standard practice by senior officers at CSIRO. I have herd and read so much lies by senior management at CSIRO that i dont trust a single word of what they speak or write. Maybe some of those they say or do are true but the credibility is so low i disregard even the truth thinking its an other lie.

Surely lawyers acting for CSIRO should show some integrity as expected of the “officers of the Court”! But perhaps they’d rather contine to lead CSIRO down the garden path and keep billing them?

In the matter of Qantas Airways Ltd v Transport Workers’ Union of Australia [2011] FCA 470 (13 May 2011) Justice Moore makes comments on the conduct of Fair Work Ombudsman (represented by Justin Bourke SC):

192. As an aside I should observe that this submission was illustrative of the general tenor of a number of the submissions of the Ombudsman. The submissions were, in my opinion, a little too partisan at times for a statutory officeholder. By partisan I mean infused by a measure of zeal rather than detachment. I would have thought that the Ombudsman should aspire to be a model litigant rather than a partisan one.

We commend your courage to stand up against these corporate bullies. CSIRO is not the only place this is happening. This is happening in many government departments and corporations where “restructure” and reforms are an almost daily affair.

They keep changing things just to save money in the name of efficiency and productivity.

They bring in CEOs on performance contracts to make things happen who in turn hire other executives to do their job for them. In fact, there are very few public servants left at that high level. The workers are the servants.

The public service is under the grip of corporate mercenaries who make the killing and leave (usually the organisation dead).

Middle managers are the ones who suffer. They are made to do the “business improvements’ and change management with very little resources and support staff. It leaves them with little or no time to get their own jobs done; and performance (KPI) in their professional role suffer.

These organisations like yours will continue to deny any wrong doing. “Just Culture” (by any name) is all about protecting the organisation. It has nothing to do with safeguarding the interest of the employee. While the perceived intention seems good and laudable, it is usually a bullying tool.

CfCBV supports you.

Keep fighting!

Dear CSIRO,

No matter how much you do towards staff bullying, it still continuously rising. I am facing bullying everyday and when I approach my supervisors I been threatened by my future references. however, I won’t be able to give my details and I am not going to come back in CSIRO. CSIRO stands first in BULLYING and last in science. I get too much stress from other things rather science.

It is poignant to point out that CSIRO’s legendary reputation has had such a profound effect on the employability of Dr Megan Clark.
Given the destructive nature of her reign it would appear that no self respecting organization would risk the qualities that she could bring to an organization.

To much fanfare much has been written about the appointment of Dr.Larry Marshall as CEO of CSIRO beginning his tenure on January 2015, while at the same time nothing has been said about the afterlife of Megan Clark.

As they say, watch this space, but it appears that Dr Megan Clark will never be trusted to lead another organization such as the CSRO.

Disgraced Eddie Obeid stripped of Order of Australia medal in wake of ICAC corruption findings. I suspect a similar fate would await Dr Megan Clark if she is ever held to account for the bullying & victimisation that she allowed to flourish under her rein as the head of the CSIRO. All it will take is one decent inquiry that would honestly investigate the bullying and unreasonable behavior that was rampant during her time with the CSIRO. I suspect a more appropriate fate would be a public guillotining as retribution for her crimes against humanity.


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