AAT Deputy President finds CSIRO evidence unreliable.

Posted on January 8, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized |

In a recent decision handed down by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Deputy President J W Constance in relation to a compensation claim lodged by a former CSIRO employee, the Deputy President deemed the evidence of two CSIRO employees, (one of them a Senior Executive)  to be unreliable.

In relation to evidence provided by Group Business Development Director, Mr Damien Thomas, the Deputy President stated:

“I am not satisfied that Mr Thomas was a reliable witness. His memory of the events of the time was poor and at times he was evasive in the answers he gave. Where his evidence conflicted with that given by Mr Williams I prefer the evidence of Mr Williams.”

The Deputy President determined that an email sent by Mr Thomas on the 16th of September 2008 was “deliberately false in a number of respects…”

Of CSIRO Group Executive, Dr Callum Drummond, the Deputy President made the following statement:

“Taking into account the evidence of Mr Williams, Mr Head, Ms Currie and Dr Morton relating to the circumstances of Mr Head being told that he would have a position in the merged Division I am not satisfied that Dr Drummond was a reliable witness and I do not make any findings of fact based on his evidence.”

Also of specific note in the case was evidence submitted of a communication (via email) from CSIRO People & Culture (HR) stating that assistance was needed as a result of Dr Drummond not following appropriate procedures.

The Deputy President also challenged the evidence of CSIRO Executive Director, Mr Nigel Poole, forcing Mr Poole to concede that he was not in a position to be providing the evidence he had previously submitted during examination.

It is great to see members of the judiciary challenging the usual spin of CSIRO rather than swallowing the broad, grandiose statements hook, line and sinker like so many of those currently in senior government and public service positions.

Surely the conduct of these individuals in appearing before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal should provide more than enough justification for initiating proceedings of misconduct as these individuals have brought the organisation so publicly into disrepute.

The proceedings also again highlight the lack of consistency in CSIRO application of its own policies, in particular the organisation’s recruitment processes where it strongly appears not to be a level playing field and in the willingness of senior CSIRO officers to willingly provide false statement.

Again we question how reasonably CSIRO can affect the change required by Comcare in recently issued Improvement Notices where such a level of crony-ism is on public display.   Victims of CSIRO has already started receiving complaints of breaches relating to the Improvement Notice. More to follow…

The full determination of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal case referenced in this posting can be found at the following location:


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2 Responses to “AAT Deputy President finds CSIRO evidence unreliable.”

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Some other salient quotes from this case:
“[HR advised that] assistance was needed because Dr Drummond was not following the necessary procedures.”
“I am satisfied that Mr Thomas’ email of 16 September 2008 was deliberately false in a number of respects…”
The ball is very much in CSIRO’s court as to what happens next in light of the murky dealings revealed by this judgment. People will be watching.

Thanks Anon

I shall go back and re-read the determination when time permits.

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