Another blackflip by the Investigator

Posted on December 3, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Over the course of the year, Victims of CSIRO has reported on a number of occasions in which the Terms of Reference and other material relating to the CSIRO Investigation into Workplace Bullying and other Misconduct, have subtly changed.

This latest change yet again reinforces our conviction that the original Terms of Reference were ill-conceived and rushed through without the benefit of proper consideration or, in fact, any consideration with key stakeholders affected by the investigation.

In the latest change to appear on CSIRO’s website, it appears that the Investigator will not be making any findings of misconduct in relation to the investigation of complaint but will instead defer determination of whether specific acts or omissions constitute misconduct to the CSIRO who will determine whether or not it constitutes justification for sanctions against that officer or officers.

We know how effective leaving the CSIRO to determine whether certain acts constitute misconduct works.  Recall in particular that:

– CSIRO’ acting General Counsel determined that senior officers who had misrepresented themselves before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in the matter of Martin Williams were not guilty of serious misconduct, despite being determined to be be unreliable to the point that the Deputy President of the AAT could not accept the veracity of any of the evidence provided by those senior officers and instead preferred the evidence of Mr Williams in all matters in which conflicting evidence was presented.

– CSIRO similarly determined through an internal investigation conducted by its own legal counsel that it had not participated in the Fraud of pharmaceutical giant Novartis.  Such action is akin to handing the accused the power to make a determination in their own prosecution.  What kind of planet do these people live on???

CSIRO has still failed to take any significant action in relation to numerous complaints of both former and current employees in relation to the misconduct of its officers, particularly in the handling of bullying allegations.

We are led to believe that the “raison d’etre” for the external investigation was to provide an impartial review of bullying allegations only to see that justification eroded as the powers of determination are again hand-balled back to the CSIRO because the investigator is seemingly incapable of making a judgement on whether certain acts constitute misconduct despite the CSIRO having clear policies identifying examples of misconduct.

It is quite clear to all (perhaps with the exception of CSIRO and the Investigator) that this process is irretrievably flawed and has been compromised from its very inception to the point where it cannot be held, in any way, shape or form to be credible.

The simple fact that the Investigator has gone to great lengths in an attempt to diminish the concerns of those critical of the process and to discredit those critical of the investigator, speaks volumes on the unapologetically Partisan politic at play here.

This gross waste of taxpayer money needs to cease and in its place, a credible investigation, overseen by the Australian Parliament needs to commence.  This investigation should quite rightly be called out for what it is, a ‘Sham’



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2 Responses to “Another blackflip by the Investigator”

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We have a very similar problem with the Terms of Reference of QLD Department of Education investigations.
I was disconcerted when an independent’ investigator told me that the Terms of Reference of his investigation might be changed halfway through the investigation. I had the impression that the Terms of Reference were going to be changed to exclude certain allegations that I was able to prove had been fabricated.
I was not allowed to know the Terms of Reference till after the investigation had been completed and declared “closed”. I was never actually allowed to see the full investigation report, so I have no real idea what the final Terms of Reference of the investigation were.
I agree that a lot of public money is being wated on investigations that are being “set up” to fail to find out anything of any significance.

It is a sad indictment on society when the people dreaming up the investigations are so stupid as to think people will not notice. The Terms of Reference must be clearly set out prior to the commencement of such an investigation, not piecemeal as the investigation rolls along. The TOR set the ground rules for the investigation.

Another critical component of success in drafting effective Terms of Reference is to publish them, seek feedback and be prepared to incorporate feedback before finalising the terms. Stakeholder engagement is also critical.

The ADF investigation cost the Australian Tax Payer somewhere in the realm of $14 million and we are still hearing allegations in the media of recent abuse, indicating that the investigation has in fact failed to achieve anything other than a gross waste of money from the public purse. God only knows what the CSIRO investigation is going to cost, which also judging by the ongoing psychological injury claims and complaints arising from bullying is also failing to have any effect.

Comcare should commence a thorough investigation of these allegations from a Work Health and Safety angle and should be prepared to prosecute those that have either engaged in, or failed to take all reasonable steps to prevent bullying from occurring in the workplace.

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