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, July 11, 2012

Public hearing on workplace bullying

A group of us attended the first public hearing in Sydney of the Workplace Bullying Review.

Here is what the Daily Telegraph had to say about it:

Bosses "lack courage to stop bullying"

Bosses who fail to step in and stop workplace bullying lack courage and contribute to the victims' pain, a federal parliamentary committee has heard.

THE House Standing Committee on Education and Employment, which is undertaking a review of workplace bullying, held a hearing in Sydney on Tuesday.

Workplace coach and psychologist Keryl Egan said bullies needed to be held accountable for their behaviour as early as possible, but managers were often measured only by results, rather than the workplace culture they fostered.
"There's a lack of courage at the top," Ms Egan told the hearing.

"Leaders are required to have more courage about this and to confront it more."
She said victims of bullying often didn't have the strength to leave a toxic workplace before it damaged their self esteem.
"(The bullying is) like a dripping tap that goes between 18 months to two years," Ms Egan said.

"By the time the person's run out of puff, they can't manage it any more and put in a claim - it's too late, they're damaged already."

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

John Watson, general manager of WorkCover NSW's health and safety division, said the organisation received more than 5000 calls a year about workplace bullying.

The national review follows the suicide of 19-year-old workplace bullying victim Brodie Panlock.
The death of the Victorian waitress prompted law changes that could see workplace bullies face up to 10 years' jail in that state.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has backed a national version of this law, and the committee is expected to report by November 30 .


  1. As an ex-staff member, bullied out of the University of Newcastle, I do look forward to the submissions going up on the parliamentary website. The submissions are subject to parliamentary privilege so the bullies will be named.

    The uni's treatment of me for speaking in confidence about staff misconduct was abysmal. I have been blacklisted in my profession and I have now been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

    There is no hope that I will ever work again but I do look forward to seeing the bullies named in public.

  2. As a former member of staff, I want to see the bullies of the UoN named and shamed and stripped of all of their promotions for deliberately destroying other people's lives and careers.

    I would especially like to see a few of them put in prison for their most serious crimes against humanity.

  3. Former geographer bullied out of UoNJuly 11, 2012 at 8:05 PM

    I wish it was as simple as Bosses lacking "the courage to stop bullying". After five years of being bullied within my discipline, to my dismay when I sought help from senior management in my School, Faculty and finally the University the bullying towards me was not only sanctioned by senior management but they (Senior Management) demonised me and set in place a deliberate campaign to eliminate me from the University.
    So I disagree with the article, it is not about courage, bullying occurs and will continue to occur where there is a entrenched culture of bullying that is condoned, encouraged and rewarded from the highest echelons. Unfortunately, as many former (and some current) staff and students can and will testify.