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)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

More cosmetic surgery!!

The University of Newcastle now has Campus Care

This "has been set up as a central point of enquiry for information, advice and support in managing inappropriate, concerning or threatening behaviours."  There is an 11-page document of "Guidelines for responding to inappropriate, concerning and threatening behaviour" - this includes bullying.

Another bit of cosmetic surgery to cover up the bullying and harassment meted out by the senior management at this university. 

No cover-ups at the University of Newcastle! - over 190 staff and students are wrong.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

What is the matter with Optus?

Optus must be feeling very disappointed - they only have one person who has reportedly been bullied.

The Optus ex-employee states that she has been subjected to ''bullying, suppression and victimisation'' within the company which she said prevented her from doing her job.

Compare that to the University of Newcastle - we have over 190 students and staff who have reported being bullied.

She is asking for $14.5 million in damages, loss of future earnings and damage to her reputation.

"Just" one million dollars to each person who has reported being bullied at the University of Newcastle would put the uni into the red by $190,000,000.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


You are cordially invited to attend and participate in this long-awaited conference.

Ever wondered about workplace bullying?
Do you need a career change?
Do you know what strategies are successful?

Here is a unique chance to obtain or enhance your qualifications in workplace bullying.  Listen to experts in the field, network with colleagues and obtain the most up-to-date information ever openly shared on a global stage.

Where? The Australian National Bullying Centre


The keynote speakers are known to be the most successful workplace bullies of all time

They will teach you
  • The most up-to-date strategies that are guaranteed to work
  • How to select strategies that are best suited to your situation
  • How to use direct and indirect methods of bullying to your advantage

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Stop Press: Latest innovative Human Resources Guildelines

How to employ all your "favourite people" - the University of Newcastle method.
  1. Promise your new employee (in the half lecturing-half admin position) that the next full lectureship position will be theirs.
  2. A new full lectureship position arises.  You "give" this position as promised to the person in the half-half position.
  3. To fill the now-vacant half-half position, you ask your favourite person to apply.
  4. You ensure that you are on the selection panel (despite the conflict of interest, being the first referee etc etc).
  5. You collude with this applicant so that they appear to fiulfill all the essential criteria.
  6. This applicant is then employed in the half-half position.
  7. Time goes by.
  8. Repeat from step 2 (A new full lectureship position arises......ETC ETC ETC)
This excellent Human Resources tip is brought to you by the University of Newcastle, one of the universities of innovation in Australia..

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Truth, Honesty and Respect are not dead in Australia!

"WorkSafe has found the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) has seriously failed to address bullying by senior management."

""Bullying should never happen anywhere," said WorksSafe ACT Commissioner Mark McCabe."

"Education Minister Chris Bourke says the CIT will have to prove its implementing the changes."

Read more or watch more here.

There were SEVEN cases at the Canberra Institute of Technology.
OVER 190 people have reported bullying at the University of Newcastle in our survey.

What is the matter with New South Wales??

Can it be true that there is NO-ONE, NOT EVEN ONE PERSON, in the whole of New South Wales who will stand up and investigate the bullying at the Univesity of Newcastle?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wise words from PVC Kevin McConkey

  • Do not "engage in ‘cosmetic quality assurance’ and ‘superficial higher education policies’".

  • “Education is not an end in itself. Education is a value.”

  • "frameworks do not matter as long as they achieve the appropriate outcomes".

Quotes from McConkey, Cebu City, April 2011.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Throwing tax-payers' money down the drain?

According to the Australian Human Rights Commission, workplace bullying in Australia costs between 6 and 36 BILLION DOLLARS a year (yes, Billion not Million).

Where does that money go?

At the University of Newcastle we know it is wasted on
- internal "investigations" of complaints
- external "investigators"
- in-house legal costs
- external legal costs (for "tame" lawyers and barristers)
- gagging clauses (to keep bullying victims quiet)
- "redundancy" payouts (to get rid of complainants)
- wasted Human Resources money (money spent on job advertisements and recruitment whilst a "favourite employee"  is already ear-marked for the position)
- bonuses for senior management
- what else?

Taxpayers' money is also wasted on
- medical assessments and treatment for the Uni's bullying victims (is that why a mental health unit is based so acessibly at the Mater Hospital?)
- pro bono or no win, no fee legal work
- loss of expertise and experience (those bullied are often removed because they are seen as threats to the favourite workers)
- educating and training people who are then bullied out of work
- additional work for federal and state departments (Workers Compensation, Human Rights, Fairwork Australia, etc etc etc).
- stress management for partners, family members, friends of those bullied.
- students who transfer to other universities because of bullying.
- etc etc

How can this be justified?

Just think what could be achieved in Australia with even $6 Billion (let alone $36 Billion)!

Monday, April 9, 2012

What is wrong with Hungary?

The president of Hungary has been forced to resign. 
He has been accused of plagiarism in his PhD. 
The university in  Budapest that awarded him his PhD stripped it from him.

So what is wrong with Hungary? Are they crazy?

Staff who plagiarise should be rewarded and promoted.

Is there a position at the University of Newcastle for this man?
He would quickly be promoted up the ranks here.
He has been an Olympic fencer - this will help him dodge any problems.  Also just think how useful fencing would be as an additional method of bullying anyone who reports misconduct.

Is there a new career waiting for him at the University of Newcastle?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What is REALLY happening with the discipline of Chinese?

Today's article in The Australian highlights the continuing confusion in Chinese at the University of Newcastle.

"Students in the Chinese major had criticised the university for giving them a lecturer, Lili Mu, and convenor, Jo May, whose qualifications were not in Chinese studies.
Ms Mu stepped aside last month, according to the university, which blamed "unwarranted media attention" and "the challenge to her academic integrity.
Newcastle had defended both appointments, saying Dr May, a historian of education, represented "leadership" and citing Ms Mu's experience teaching Chinese characters as well as her qualifications in business and English linguistics."
The university has now recruited Janet Liang as the teacher for second- and third-year students.  She has taught Chinese in Australia for two years.
"Appointments have been closely watched since Newcastle decided last year to abandon its Chinese major until it could be rebuilt under the "guidance" of the Confucius Institute. Students mid-stream were promised they could finish."
Jonathan Yi, deputy director of the Confucius Institute has been hired to teach new students in the undergraduate program. He has taught English at Central China Normal University.
Both Dr Yi and Ms Liang have been employed as sessional staff, and the university says their undergraduate courses are subject to the same quality assurance measures as any others.
"A review last year found very few students enrolled in the Chinese major and concluded a language major taught by one academic was not sustainable."

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Monday, April 2, 2012

Small consolation for people who are bullied!

Who Gets Targeted? (according to the Workplace Bullying Instutute)
Most likely, you were targeted because you posed a "threat" to him or her. The perception of threat is entirely in his/her mind, but it is what he/she feels and believes.
WBI research findings …… have confirmed that targets appear to be the veteran and most skilled person in the workgroup.
  • Targets are independent. They refuse to be subservient.
  • Targets are more technically skilled than their bullies. They are the "go-to" veteran workers to whom new employees turn for guidance.
  • Targets are better liked, they have more social skills, and quite likely possess greater emotional intelligence. They have empathy
  • Targets are ethical and honest. Some targets are whistleblowers who expose fraudulent practices. Every whistleblower is bullied. Targets are not schemers or slimy con artists.
  • Targets are non-confrontive. They do not respond to aggression with aggression. (They are thus morally superior.)
"The most easily exploited targets are people with personalities founded on a prosocial orientation -- a desire to help, heal, teach, develop, nurture others."
Surely these are the very employees that the University of Newcastle would actively employ, not discard.

In the radio program "Encounter" over the weekend, John Bottomley spoke about his research about another largely forgotten aspect of suicide – people who feel driven to suicide because of their work.

Bottomley states that
"Suicide has been captured by the medical profession…. which focuses on mental illness and pays very little attention to the social factors and the economic factors that might contribute to mental illness".

His research shows that work factors are a critical factor in understanding suicide today
"because work has such an important place in people’s sense of identity, when something goes wrong in the workplace, if there is injustice, where there’s bullying, where there’s retrenchment and discrimination – all these things contribute to a violent attack on people’s sense of identity and can lead to mental illness, depression in particular … ".

Frighteningly, this research supports our survey findings that over 37 staff and students have considered suicide because of the bullying that they have received at the University of Newcastle.