Why is the CSIRO investigation any different?

Posted on June 19, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized |

One striking contrast between the CSIRO Investigation into workplace bullying and other unreasonable behaviour and other similarly commissioned inquiries into other agencies is that those other lines of inquiry included investigation of the mishandling of such allegations and complaints by those responsible for the duty of care towards the complainants.  It is quite apparent that both the Inquiries into sexual abuse in the Australian Defence Forces and the current inquiry into institutional sexual abuse have focused quite heavily on the culpability of those in charge in failing to meet their duty of care in protecting those under their supervision.

Given these precedents, what possible justification does the investigator leading the CSIRO investigation have in deliberately removing or excluding from investigation those complaints relating to the manner in which complaints were initially handled, particularly where there is evidence to indicate that those responsible for handling such complaints either ignored or attempted to confound resolution of such complaints or have subsequently participated in the ostracism or victimisation of the complainant.

More incredulously, some of those involved in the CSIRO Investigation into workplace bullying and other unreasonable behaviour were also involved in the investigation of other departments or agencies in which the responses to allegations of misconduct were heavily scrutinised?


Whilst we make no claim about the comparative impacts between sexual abuse and institutionalised bullying (which may very well contain elements of sexual abuse and sexual harassment), the long term devastation experienced by victims of workplace bullying compounded by the lack of recognition and closure directly attributable to the CSIRO’s failure to properly manage such complaints, surely warrants investigation in its own right.

After all, a failure to act to protect the welfare of employees not only breaches CSIRO’s own Code of Conduct policy but also constitutes a breach of the CSIRO’s statutory obligations under the Commonwealth Work Health and Safety Act.  A failure to report or cover up misconduct is also a breach of the CSIRO’s Code of Conduct policy as are attempts to false or misleading information.

How many of those senior officers who provided knowingly false information to Mr Martin Williams and then subsequently provided unreliable information to Deputy President James Constance in the AATA matter of Williams v Comcare [2012] ever faced misconduct proceedings?

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