Response to Terms of Reference (

Posted on February 27, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Posted below is the response from the Opposition spokesperson for Science in relation to the announced Terms of Reference of the independent investigation into workplace bullying within the CSIRO.



The Coalition cautiously welcomes the release of the terms of reference on the CSIRO inquiry into workplace bullying and harassment tonight.

However, we are disappointed that the promised prior consultation with the Coalition has not occurred. Nor were we provided with the promised opportunity to meet with Professor Pearce before the terms of reference were finalised.

“The Coalition has invested years of work inquiring into workplace problems at CSIRO and were the ones who pushed for this inquiry. Indeed, without our persistence there would have been no inquiry,” said Sophie Mirabella, Shadow Minister for Science, today.

“We also remain convinced that this needs to be a full and comprehensive investigation and, on first glance, the terms of reference seem unduly limited in a number of ways.

“It is regrettable that a wide number of cases have been excluded from full investigation,” Mrs Mirabella said.

Among those excluded from full investigation are cases involving current staff, as well as those employees who have been sufficiently aggrieved already to take legal action against CSIRO.

“In particular, we are gravely concerned by the implications of Clause 5 of the terms of reference, which suggests that Professor Pearce will only be required to report his general findings and merely recommend to CSIRO some possible revisions to existing procedures,” Mrs Mirabella said.

“This isn’t a Sunday school exercise in delivering lessons. It should be about why this deeply disturbing culture of bullying has permeated CSIRO, and determining who is responsible for it and bringing them to account.

“Given that the inquiry will not conclude until after the 2013 federal election, it is imperative that the Opposition is consulted and fully briefed on the process.

“Despite the limitations of the terms of reference, we do urge complainants to make submissions to this inquiry and to send us a confidential copy of their submissions.

“Naturally, if we are not convinced that this inquiry is sufficiently forensic then we will reserve our right to press for the fuller, more detailed and more wide-ranging inquiry that is desperately needed,” Mrs Mirabella concluded.

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