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)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Farewell to Waring

Trevor Waring, a psychologist, has retired..

Did he know about the bullying at the University of Newcastle?  YES

Did he do anything to stop the bullying at the Unviersity of Newcastle? NO

Enjoy your retirement!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Some more details on the Workplace Bullying Review

Safety at Work have voiced the following concern about the inquiry:-

"These terms seem reasonable but the biggest risk is that the workplace bullying focus is diluted by school bullying issues.  There is an assumption that school bullying behaviours are carried over to the workplace  and that workplace bullying could be reduced by increased attention at the school.  This assumption needs to be addressed early in the inquiry as the submissions to the inquiry and the media coverage could become severely skewed away from the original intention."

Here is the list of those politicians who will be hearing and reading submissions:-

Ms Amanda Rishworth MP (Chair)Australian Labor Party, Kingston, SA
Mr Rowan Ramsey MP (Deputy Chair)Liberal Party of Australia, Grey, SA
Mrs Karen Andrews MPLiberal Party of Australia, McPherson, QLD
Mrs Yvette D’Ath MPAustralian Labor Party, Petrie, QLD
Ms Deborah O’Neill MPAustralian Labor Party, Robertson, NSW
Mr Mike Symon MPAustralian Labor Party, Deakin, VIC
Mr Alan Tudge MPLiberal Party of Australia, Aston, VIC

Any enquiries should be directed to the House Standing Committee once the inquiry is formally established.  As of today (30th May 2012), the House Standing Committee has not yet been convened.

We have so many strong cases from the University - we can just let the facts speak for themselves.  Let's see how they want submissions.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

More information on the review of workplace bullying

More information is available on the review. 
"Proposals to prevent negative workplace cultures from developing and to help bullying victims return to work will also be considered during the inquiry, which will be undertaken by the House Standing Committee on Education and Employment.

The committee, comprising members from both major parties, will consult extensively with the community and will report back to government by 30 November 2012."
  • ‘the prevalence of workplace bullying in Australia and the experience of victims of workplace bullying;
  • the role of workplace cultures in preventing and responding to bullying and the capacity for workplace-based policies and procedures to influence the incidence and seriousness of workplace bullying;
  • the adequacy of existing education and support services to prevent and respond to workplace bullying and whether there are further opportunities to raise awareness of workplace bullying such as community forums;
  • whether the scope to improve coordination between governments, regulators, health service providers and other stakeholders to address and prevent workplace bullying;
  • whether there are regulatory, administrative or cross-jurisdictional and international legal and policy gaps that should be addressed in the interests of enhancing protection against and providing an early response to workplace bullying, including through appropriate complaint mechanisms;
  • whether the existing regulatory frameworks provide a sufficient deterrent against workplace bullying;
  • the most appropriate ways of ensuring bullying culture or behaviours are not transferred from one workplace to another; and
  • possible improvements to the national evidence base on workplace bullying.’
The Prime Minister has stated that "[The inquiry] will enable people to come forward, tell their stories, help us work out the prevalence of bullying in work places and also help us add to what we are doing now,’ she said.

‘And one way we could add to what we are doing now is to take Brodie’s Law nationally and to have common national laws to deal with bullying at work.’"

Monday, May 28, 2012

National review into workplace bullying

The Sydney Morning Herald reports

"Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced a national review into workplace bullying.

The aim of the parliamentary review is to look at the nature, causes and extent of workplace bullying.
It will also consider proposals to prevent bullying cultures developing in the workplace and help individuals who have been affected by bullying return to work.

Ms Gillard backed a national version of this law.  "One way we could add to what we're doing now is to take Brodie's law nationally and to have a common national law to deal with bullying in the workplace," Ms Gillard said.

The Prime Minister and Brodie Panlocks parents

Brodie's mother Rae Panlock welcomed Saturday's announcement.
"It's been a long, hard road and it's just wonderful that so many people are united in this particular cause," she said.

The Productivity Commission estimates the total cost of workplace bullying in Australia at between $6 billion and $36 billion annually.

The House Standing Committee on Education and Employment will undertake the review and will consult with the community and report by November 30.

Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten described workplace bullying as secret scourge far too common in workplaces.  "No family should have to go through what the Panlocks have been through," he said.

"Their daughter was going to work and she was doing well and yet what was happening to her in work meant one day she didn't come home.""

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Makes you wonder.......

"THE University of Newcastle made more than $40,000 in parking fines in the first four weeks of this semester and is on track to collect more fine revenue than it did last year." (Newcastle Herald )

"The university issued 464 fines in March in what were the first four weeks of semester when new students were finding their way around and campuses were generally at their busiest.
NSW government figures collected by the NSW Office of State Revenue show the university is on track to collect more than $150,000 this year in fine revenue."

Is this how the University pays lawyers to get rid of anyone who has a legitimate complaint?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

LEGAL action has been filed against leading travel agency Flight Centre

"Maurice Blackburn Lawyers yesterday filed action in the federal court under provisions in the Fair Work Act intended to protect whistleblowers from victimisation. The action was filed on behalf of a former assistant manager of the Student Flights Frankston store in Melbourne, Richard Barnes, who claims he had made several complaints about the "bullying behaviour" of the store manager towards another female employee last year."

"Mr Bornstein said the case demonstrates that bullying can occur in all workplaces at all
levels and reinforces the need for National Workplace Bullying laws.
"At the moment, there is no law that directly addresses workplace bullying and makes it
illegal," he said".

For further details of this case, see article in The Australian and also at Maurice Blackburn's website.

Yet another workplace bullying report!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Women in the workplace

An article in Time Magazine gives some reasons from a new study "Why women don't always help other women".
"So-called female tokens (ouch!) in the upper levels of the business world are less inclined to help out female newcomers in their industry, according to research conducted by Olin Business School professor Michelle Duguid". 

If there is only a small number of women in a workplace, this research shows that you’re more likely to be compared with other women. Will you be judged as less qualified, less competent, less able?????

“Competitive threat is the fear that a highly qualified female candidate might be more qualified, competent or accepted than you are,” Duguid explained.

This research fits in well with the findings from bullying studies that it is often more competent and/or more qualified people who are the victims of bullying.

Madeleine Albright once noted that there is “a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.".
This "special place" must be pretty crowded at the University of Newcastle (Employer of Choice for Women???).

Monday, May 7, 2012

Privacy Awareness Week

Last week was Privacy Awareness Week at the University of Newcastle.

One of the privacy principles is
"Use and disclose information for the primary purpose of collection unless the person consents or an exemption applies." (Privacy management Plan)

How come those bullied at this university for exposing unethical actvities are ostracised and blacklisted, both within the university and to staff in other universities or organizations?

Another case of "everything is fine at the University of Newcastle as long as we have a policy"?

Friday, May 4, 2012

New Vision?

In today's paper, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Caroline McMillen, has spoken of her new vision which includes a "new international Centre of Excellence at the University of Newcastle".

Is she thinking about a new International Centre of Excellence in Bullying?

40,000 visitors!

Our blog has just reached the milestone of 40,000 visitors!

The majority of visitors are from Australia (67.5%) - people who have been bullied at the University of Newcastle, ex-staff and students, potential staff and students, and probably people (management?) who check nervously to see what further truth has come out about the university.

Other visitors to this blog are from the USA (10.3%), Belgium (5%) and the United Kingdom (4%) with smaller numbers visiting from other European or Asian countries.  So 13,000 people visited the blog from outside of Australia to discover more about the bullying culture of the University of Newcastle.

It is great that so many people are visiting out blog.  Most websites are thrilled to have more visitors but isn't it distressing to even have this blog in the first place!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

An opportunity not to be missed

The new Vice-Chancellor, Professor Caroline McMillen, has stated that "the university is embarking on an ambitious NeW Directions process in 2012".   She also says that "we will define the vision of what we aspire to be by 2025, which will in turn shape our goals, priorities and lead strategies".

She is asking for "staff and community input" to NeW Directions.  Even those of us bullied out of our jobs at the University can have our say as "community input"!  She says this input is "important and there are many ways to get involved".

If she is sincere in valuing feedback. she has a golden opportunity to investigate, listen to and respond to the issues of bullying at this university.  There are too many of us to ignore.

Professor McMillen says she is "very much look(ing) forward to hearing your ideas and thoughts". 

Your new Vice-Chancellor NEEDS you!

So do as she asks - email newdirections@newcastle.edu.au or "email her directly"  (caroline.mcmillen@newcastle.edu.au

Follow updates on the NeW Directions website and weekly updates "From the VC's desk".  

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Test case at University of Canberra

University of Canberras case tests anti-bullying boundaries
IN 2008, James Warden was in the bosom of the University of Canberra. He helped stage its 40th anniversary celebrations, wrangled government money for a new Donald Horne Institute for Cultural Heritage and became its first director.
A year later, Mr Warden was no longer director. Last December, he was gone from the university. The falling out is documented in 17 pages of a statement of claim filed with the Federal Court, where Mr Warden is seeking damages. He has his first hearing date on Friday week.
Mr Warden, whose background is in history and cultural studies, says he is unsure why he came undone, but believes that his treatment at Canberra is not an isolated case.
"The level of intimidation and persecution left me no option but to resign," he said.
He thinks enthusiasm for his institute did not survive a change in middle management.
In September 2009, he said, he was abruptly removed as director and confronted with the first in a series of "throwaway" allegations.

"They were a shopping list of complaints, none of which were documented," he said.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Enhancing and promoting a positive staff experience???

Enhancing and Promoting a Positive Staff Experience - this is part of the Institutional Strategic Priority for the University of Newcastle, as at 12 March 2012.

So how do you measure this? 
Two Key Performance Indicators for this are:-
  • Lost Time Imjury Frequency Rate ("a standardised measure across industries.  It is calculated by the number of Lost Time injuries, divided by total number of hourse worked across the Division, multiplied  by 1,000,000").
  • Staff Engagement (an amalgamation of 3 subcategories from the Your Voice survey reported as a mean score.  The subcategories measure Staff Organisational Commitment, Job Satisfaction and Intention to Stay.).
Lost time injury rate - what about the staff who are on stress leave?

Staff Engagement - what about the respondents to our survey who are desperate to leave or who have already left?

Seems like 2012 will be another "interesting" year at the University of Newcastle!
We all know by now that the University of Newcastle has again been awarded the Employer of Choice for Women Citation for 2012 (stop laughing - this is true!).

According to the US-based Workplace Bullying Institute, women on women bullying continues to rise and women are judged to be nastier bullies than men. "Workplace bullying is four times more common than sexual harassment or racial discrimination....Girls are taught to be critical of each other from adolesence, and it's particularly vicious among working women; from playing favourites to badmouthing colleagues. "  This happens more frequently in careers where they have to be "hyper-aggressive to get ahead in a male-dominated environment".  We know that the University of Newcastle has more males in higher management than females.

Apparently the university has career enhancement programs and opportunities that can support female staff at the university.  Also the Faculty of Education and Arts under John Germov is having its own Gender Equity Forum (why? - does it have a particularly bad record in this arena?).

  • Lessons in how to make a voodoo doll of other women and stick pins in it?
  • How to smile insincerely whilst stabbing other women in the back?
  • How to make your own rope ladder (for women who climb to senior positions and then haul up the ladder right behind them to stop other women succeeding)? 
  • How to sabotege the careers of other (better?) female colleagues?
  • How to spread rumours about other female colleagues?
What else?

We know from our survey that women at the University of Newcastle are bullied more than men and women are often bullied by other women.

We also know that many of the women who have received equity awards are expert bullies, protected by the males in management who gave them the awards.

So female employees at the Unviersity of Newcastle, you will be supported in your careers by the university PROVIDED THAT you stand on the heads of other women to get there!