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)

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)!


  1. Congratulations on brining this most serious issue to this forum! The Finance Ministers of both federal and state governments should be looking at this blog RIGHT NOW to come up with an effective strategy of freezing universities where bullying thrives out of public funding. Inaction would be too costly for the the country.

  2. To your list I have to add the terrible loss of talented scholars and teachers to other universities and countries to the detriment of the university, the local community and the country. The Faculty of Education and Arts has lost at least a dozen staff to the University of Sydney and the University of Western Sydney in recent years, most of them highly respected associate professors and senior lecturers.

  3. The worst thing about bullying is the depth of human suffering it causes, which can't be measured in monetary terms. This is why the government should make bullying in the workplace illegal and put the bullies behind bars.