Bullying at the University of Newcastle (Australia)

We are working to highlight and stop academic workplace bullying at the University of Newcastle, Australia. We are a group of staff and students who have been bullied for speaking out about misconduct.

Help make a difference –

*answer our survey,

*contribute to the blog, or

*contact us.

This will help us gather as much information as possible so that we can put an end to this bullying with its’ decades-long history.

“Systemic bullying, hazing and abuse generally are identified with poor, weak or toxic organizational cultures. Cultures that are toxic have stated ethical values that are espoused but not employed, and other non-ethical values which are operational, dominant, but unstated.

Such cultures thrive when good people are silent, silenced, or pushed out; when bad apples are vocal, retained, promoted, and empowered; and when the neutral majority remain silent in order to survive. Those who are most successful in such a toxic culture are those who have adapted to it, or adopted it as their own”. (McKay, Arnold, Fratzl & Thomas, 2008)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Parliamentary news - Workplace Bullying

A video about workplace bullying has been published on the Parliament of Australia website - About the House.  The video is titled "The Human Cost of Bullying".

Friday, December 14, 2012

"A slow poison"

An extensive and detailed article on workplace bullying has been published in the parliamentary journal "About the House".  This follows the report from the Workplace Bullying Inquiry which was published last month.

It includes a substantial interview with John McPhilbin of the Injured Workers Support Network.

This article is a timely reminder during this "season of goodwill" that victims of bullying have suffered and continue to suffer. 

Those of you who have bullied us, try to take on board the fact that

"Behind the alarming statistics on workplace bullying are personal stories of grief and hardship, revealed during a parliamentary inquiry."

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Uni has reiterated its values on its NeW Directions website.

"The values of the University of Newcastle are shaped by our history and our aspirations. Our values represent shared ideals and express what we stand for and who we are. As we move forward, our values will underpin our choices, strategies and actions.

One of its values is "Equity and social justice"

"We provide opportunities for people with ability, regardless of their background and experiences."

Should this be amended to "We provide opportunities for people with ability, regardless of their background and experiences, as long as they are able to ignore unethical behaviour"

NeW Directions Strategic Plan 2013-2015

Here is the statement regarding the new initiative to reduce staff stress (as noted in the Newcastle Herlad article):

"5.4 Implement the ‘Healthy University Scheme’, a whole-of-institution approach that consolidates and expands upon existing health, safety and wellness programs, including the UoN Equity and Diversity Management Plan 2012-2015, and supports a working and learning environment that promotes and advocates positive physical and mental health."

Tell us what you think of it......................

Caroline McMillen's opinion on the Workplace Bullying Inquiry

Further to the post below about trying to get a comment published on the Uni's blog, a comment which was awaiting moderation for 13 days has not been published.  Zero comments published so far.

Here is the text of the comment:which was not published.

"Congratulations to Caroline McMillen for emphasising on her blog how unacceptable online bullying/cyber-bullying is.  She has highlighted the online attacks on Julia Gillard and Charlotte Dawson and states that these "have suddenly shone a light on the subterranean and cowardly world of anonymous online bullying."

We agree totally with her on this.

Julia Gillard (as reported by Anne Summers in a lecture) has suffered immense cyber-bullying.  Apart from sexist and demeaning photos, Julia Gillard has been called a witch, a bitch, a liar, a lying c--t, and a useless oxygen thief, and more.  Slogans have included "Hang Gillard", “If I wanted a greasy red box I’d go to KFC ya slut”,"We need her to bleed out”, “an unproductive old cow” etc etc.  More examples can be read and seen in the transcription of Summer's lecture.

What about Charlotte Dawson, a self-confessed fashion and social personality?  The cyber-bullying she suffered was mostly in the form of Twitter messages.  These included "stick your head in a toaster", "kill yourself", "go hang yourself", etc.  Even though Dawson is sometimes involved in controversial issues (e.g. "she was among a panel of fashion "experts" passing judgement on footballers' wives and girlfriends' outfits"), the comments made to her on Twitter are totally unacceptable.

These two women, singled out by Caroline McMillen for their experiences of cyber-bullying highlight the role of social media in unacceptably denigrating and bullying prominent people.

In contrast, the social media when used appropriately has a huge role to play in changing society for the better - we only have to think of the role of social media in the Middle East as people try to achieve democracy in their countries.  Also the role of social media in Australia has been the instrument of change in a number of successful campaigns (see Change.org).  Email, facebook, Twitter and blogs (like this one) have an important role to play in keeping society informed about what is really happening in Australia - often that information is not available elsewhere.

We continue on this blog to keep the public informed and to highlight any anomalies and absurdities that we observe.  However, unlike some blogs which delete critical comments by readers  (e.g. the  University of Newcastle blog), we do provide a forum for people to express their views (which may NOT be OUR views) on their experiences of bullying at the University of Newcastle.  People who have been bullied out, silenced and ostracised have very few opportunities to express their views or describe their experiences."