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.

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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, January 24, 2012

"Anti-social Network: Australia - the Facebook bullying capital"

This headline (Herald Sun 24th January 2012) is one of many similar recent headlines.

“AUSTRALIA rates number one in the world for bullying on social networks like Facebook, according to a global poll”.

“The Ipsos Social Research Institute survey of 24 countries ranked Australia worse for bullying than all of the European countries, along with the US, Britain and China.”
We have had reports of Facebook bullying at the University of Newcastle.  Of course there is other cyber-bullying happening here -
  • many senior managers often just ignore emails from anyone who has made a complaint and/or has been bullied. 
  • some in very senior positions do respond BUT they state that they will no longer respond to these emails.
More evidence of "ignore the problem and it will go away".

Is this a senior manager from Uni of Newcastle? (Picture)


  1. THis happened to me at Newcastle uni. I made a complaint (bullying) - naturally the uni's response was that nothing had happened (even though I no longer had a job and the rumours spread around stopped me from getting another job). There were a number of questions still unanswered in the uni's response. When I tried to get answers, the emailed response from one of the very senior managers was that he wasn't going to respond to any more of my emails.

  2. Lost it all for being a whistleblowerJanuary 26, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    This reminds me of a petition we organised to the NSW Ombudsman to ask for an enquiry into the claims that whistle blowers were bullied out of UoN. The response was that they would not accept a "petition", so we wrote individually, and the response was that it was not the role of the NSW Ombudsman to investigate individual work place industrial relation issues. We were told to contact the Minister of Education who simply said he was not able to act against University's as they were autonomous. It is no wonder when we write to the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor asking for an investigation our emails are returned as SPAM. Even though tax payers support the higher education sector, those who work in these institutions appear to be above question.
    So if you are a bully and want to get ahead in an institution that turns a blind eye to this unsocial behaviour, consider working at a NSW University. It seems those you bully can not do anything to stop you....and the best thing, what we have observed is the bully is promoted and rewarded. Your career would thrive....and any of those annoying staff who speak out about "ethical behaviour" and who "disagree" with your opinion, you can simply get rid of them as trouble makers.

  3. Someone who stood up for a victim of bullyingJanuary 26, 2012 at 8:35 PM

    Dear Lost it all for being a whistle blower,

    Maybe you feel you have lost everything - but at least you have your integrity. It may mean nothing to you now, when you are still feeling the pain, but give it time. Watch your colleagues and friends who turned their back on you climb the university career ladder.....then remember in the end we are all just travellers in time, and our impact on now will not be judged by career and awards, but the people who we stood beside and supported and for our actions of kindness. I read somewhere that the Chancellor of the University of Newcastle declares himself a Christian, and I think that I would be very worried if I had to stand before his God and reflect on how he has helped in this world....At least you can say you did your best.

  4. suspended between air and earth because of being bullied out of School of Biomedical Sciences and PharmacyFebruary 27, 2012 at 3:56 AM

    Lost it all for being a whistleblower,

    So, could we please ask who we should bring up our case if no one is responsible in this counrtry? Shall we go to the Human Rights Commission. They might be the only one we would take us seriously just 'out of humanity'! I'm seriously thinking of appealing through United Nations and relevant organizations. WE must let UN know that criminal murderers are not just located in Lybia or Syria. They are recognized at University of Newcasle as well.

    I recently discovered that I can lodge my complaint to DEEWR
    (The Department of Education,Employment and Workplace Relations)
    which seems to be the only external channel that the University would be scared of(Hopefully!). DEEWR feedback is kind of fast. They get back to your complaint after 5 working days. If I get a positive feedback on behalf of them I'll definitely let you know.

    I'm thinking of bringing the case to the attention of the ADB (Anti-descriminaton Board) , ADT or Anti-corrupton board as well. Recently, I had a chat with a journalist who has been investigating about long history of UON in bullying, I was told by him that external agencies have all been hopeless so far in terms of fighting against the University of Newcastle. SHAME!

    It's been a while that I have been looking for one droplet of justice in this country but I must say that there has been NO JUSTICE so far. Absolutely hopeless....

  5. I heard a former student of the UoN who took her grievance to the Hague. It's been a long and tortuous journey for her here. Poor woman! Maybe she'll tell us her story on this forum. I have mine to tell soon and maybe we can take class action. That will be the most effective way of getting justice. Several of us have been thinking about it. Take heart. Your battle might have been lost, but our war will win.

  6. I am witnessing a colleague go through it now. Very hard, don't know how she keeps strong. I try to offer what support I can but I can see what is happening around the place is beyond my control. What is happening to her is sooooooooo wrong. Yet head of school and head of faculty do absolutely nothing. If anything, they are supporting such behaviour and encouraging it by doing nothing and adding what they can to the fire... Very sad state of affairs this university. Bully the few who are the few capable ones around who make this place a good place. Yet the bullies themselves make themselves feel powerful by treating the good in this manner as it is the only way they can feel such power. To call it sad would be a gross understatement.

  7. Here, here. Literally being forced to resign due to the incompetence of fellow staff. i.e. the incompetent staff who cry bullied at the sign of a task headed their way. Who, as a result of such behaviour, try to ostracise the person doing all the work, and go to great lengths to label the real victim as the bully.

    This is what I call a "true" bully.

    The support of senior staff for such behaviours is also very alarming. Such game playing at an extreme. Hearing you loud and clear. Some have no other way of proving competence. Their only way of proving competence is to belittle and bully the few who are competent. Seems it is rather easy at this institution to bring many to the party. Why bully alone when bullying as a group or a team is so much more effective, at least for some people's sense of confidence and achievement...

    1. oh yes, and so much more effective when the bullies comprise many in senior roles. Conjointly is by far the best approach to take when bullying at UON. Lies and deceit among senior staff, who I once had ample respect for, is something hard to come to terms with.