Open Letter to CSIRO CEO, Dr Megan Clark
On the 25th of June 2013, the Victims of CSIRO group communicated an Open Letter to CSIRO Chief Executive, Dr Megan Clark in relation to the treatment of Mr Martin Williams by Senior CSIRO officers both during his employment and subsequently in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AATA) in which said senior officers were found to have produced no less than 128 false statements relating to Mr Williams employment.
In a demonstration that her door is always firmly closed to the concerns of current and former employees and their representatives, Dr Clark has delegated the matter to a subordinate, demonstrating her obvious contempt for the wellbeing and concerns of others.
We have been duly advised by current CSIRO employees that Dr Clark’s phone “is firmly off the hook” and that she not currently “taking any calls”, particularly not those relating to workplace bullying, in what appears to be and thinly veiled attempt at avoiding accountability.
Covering ones ears and shouting loudly “I don’t know anything about it” as Dr Clark has been doing regularly during Senate Estimates hearings only goes so far when you are the Chief Executive Officer of a Prestigious Public Research Organisation, and particularly when you are paid almost double the Salary of the Prime Minister of Australia.
Dr Clark has ultimate responsibility for the actions of all CSIRO employees and the “I’m not listening” caper is becoming irritatingly repetitive!
Read the Open Letter and the response we have received below:
Dr Megan Clark
Office of the Chief Executive
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
P.O. BOX 225
DICKSON ACT 2602
Dear Dr Clark
Open Letter to CSIRO Chief Executive Officer, Dr Megan Clark
I am writing to you on behalf of members of the advocacy group known as the Victims of CSIRO. We respectfully request that you respond to the following matter raised by our membership in this open letter:
The Case of ex-CSIRO Staff Member, Mr Martin Williams.
In 2012, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) handed down a ruling in the case of an ex-CSIRO staff member, Mr Martin Williams. Deputy President James W. Constance of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal found in his decision on the case, that
– the actions of certain, named senior CSIRO staff caused a very serious anxiety condition to Mr Williams that has left him, effectively, incapacitated since 2008; and
– that the statements of those named individuals, including statements made under oath in his presence, were not accepted as factual by him.
He made this determination after two other senior CSIRO staff members, Group Executive Dr Steve Morton and senior HR officer Ms Leanne Currie, provided testimony that directly contradicted the evidence given under oath by the above persons.
Both Dr Morton and Ms Currie have since left CSIRO. However the named persons remain employed by the organisation. One of those persons was found by Deputy President Constance in his judgement to have sent an email to Mr Williams that was ”deliberately false”.
In recent correspondence with CSIRO staff on 2 May 2013, you indicated that despite the extreme nature of the anxiety condition suffered by Mr Williams, you will take no action whatsoever against the above named persons.
You made this decision based on a formal opinion by an internal CSIRO lawyer who had worked closely with and partly under the supervision of the named individuals, and was therefore conflicted.
In your email to staff you further summarised your response to Mr Williams’ case with the following statement:
“I regret that a CSIRO colleague left CSIRO feeling mistreated”.
Dr Clark, Mr Williams was rendered incapacitated for five years by the actions of your officers, who were found to have been “unreliable witnesses” by the AAT. And all you can say is that you are sorry Mr Williams left CSIRO “feeling mistreated” …?
Do you not have human compassion for a person whose way of life has been destroyed, apparently at the hands of your subordinates?
Under your leadership, over $1.5 million was spent in internal and external costs, including legal fees, fruitlessly fighting the ill and incapacitated Mr Williams in the AAT for his entitled financial support during this difficult time. Then, when the AAT found in favour of Mr Williams and confirmed that his illness resulted from his experience at CSIRO, you failed to hold those responsible to account.
Dr Clark, Your public comments and decisions ring as not only callous, cold-hearted and mean-spirited, but also deeply hypocritical. No one can conceive that any person who is seriously concerned about the welfare of their subordinates, would use the language that you did, or decline to take remedial action, as you have done.
We wonder, how you can publicly profess to be concerned about the safety of CSIRO staff and yet apparently display no empathy for Mr Williams, a person premeditatedly “broken” by your organisation?
We ask how anyone can believe your recurring public entreaties about CSIRO’s “zero-harm” safety policy when the person charged with implementing it – you – are revealed to view both Mr Williams predicament and the rulings of Deputy President Constance as, apparently, little more than a “legal matter” to be handled with cursory and dismissive comments.
When you started at CSIRO in 2009, you professed your intention to see to it that, under your watch, there would be no serious injuries amongst staff. You made statements to the effect that, in your previous role at BHP Billiton, you had experienced staff injuries and these had made you determined to ensure that no such injuries occurred while you ran CSIRO. Now, however, it appears to us that those apparently heartfelt statements were little more than cynical weasel words.
And they seem to join a large number of other public statements emanating from the CSIRO whose veracity are open to question. Just a few months ago, you may remember that the chairman of CSIRO, Simon McKeon, said that “even one bullying incident is one incident too many”. Well, one may ask: what about determinedly destroying someone mentally and then there being no action around those responsible? The chairman’s words ring extremely hollow…
Dr Clark, we acknowledge that there are many aspects of CSIRO’s operations that we don’t understand. However, what we do know is that Mr Williams does not need such a brand of “concern” for safety. What he needs is respect and validation for what he has been put through – for what CSIRO has put him through in, first, creating his illness and, second, in unrelentingly fighting his legitimate claims for assistance in the AAT with “unreliable” evidence. Mr Williams was bullied and harassed by your senior administration’s unprofessional actions.
We call on you to publicly acknowledge what CSIRO has done to Mr Williams and to give him some skerrick of dignity by offering to make it right, as best as you and the organisation can.
Formally acknowledge that CSIRO’s handling of Mr Williams’ case was prejudicial to him and provide recompense for the unfathomable financial and personal costs he has incurred. CSIRO can surely afford to provide him with some assistance, particularly as, under the Comcare scheme, CSIRO has actually benefited financially by ca. $92,000, as a result of Mr William’s injuries.
Take action against those whose conduct destroyed Mr Williams and save others from suffering a similar fate. You run one of Australia’s oldest and most trusted institutions with a leadership under scrutiny over how it handles such decisions in relation to the values on safety and integrity being espoused.
Dr Clark, we appeal to whatever compassion you have within you. Do the right thing by Mr Williams. Do it not because a tribunal has made a judgement against CSIRO. Do it not because your lawyers say that there is no alternative. Do it because it is the human thing to do. Do it because it is an empathetic, supportive action that will help relieve Mr Williams’ illness. Do it, and prove that you are a normal human being, with the usual human emotions.
and the response…
It’s nice that CSIRO are showing concerned about the welfare of staff but shouldn’t that concern extend to all staff and not just the chosen few whom the CSIRO protects out of embarrassment?