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,

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*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)

Friday, November 30, 2012


Congratulations to Caroline McMillen for emphasising on her blog how unacceptable online bullying/cyber-bullying is.  She has highlighted the online attacks on Julia Gillard and Charlotte Dawson and states that these "have suddenly shone a light on the subterranean and cowardly world of anonymous online bullying."

We agree totally with her on this.

Julia Gillard (as reported by Anne Summers in a lecture) has suffered immense cyber-bullying.  Apart from sexist and demeaning photos, Julia Gillard has been called a witch, a bitch, a liar, a lying c--t, and a useless oxygen thief, and more.  Slogans have included "Hang Gillard", “If I wanted a greasy red box I’d go to KFC ya slut”,"We need her to bleed out”, “an unproductive old cow” etc etc.  More examples can be read and seen in the transcription of Summer's lecture.

What about Charlotte Dawson, a self-confessed fashion and social personality?  The cyber-bullying she suffered was mostly in the form of Twitter messages.  These included "stick your head in a toaster", "kill yourself", "go hang yourself", etc.  Even though Dawson is sometimes involved in controversial issues (e.g. "she was among a panel of fashion "experts" passing judgement on footballers' wives and girlfriends' outfits"), the comments made to her on Twitter are totally unacceptable.

These two women, singled out by Caroline McMillen for their experiences of cyber-bullying highlight the role of social media in unacceptably denigrating and bullying prominent people. 

sign on window says Kill Gillard Hang Bligh

In contrast, the social media when used appropriately has a huge role to play in changing society for the better - we only have to think of the role of social media in the Middle East as people try to achieve democracy in their countries.  Also the role of social media in Australia has been the instrument of change in a number of successful campaigns (see Change.org).  Email, facebook, Twitter and blogs (like this one) have an important role to play in keeping society informed about what is really happening in Australia - often that information is not available elsewhere. 

We continue on this blog to keep the public informed and to highlight any anomalies and absurdities that we observe.  However, unlike some blogs which delete critical comments by readers  (e.g. the  University of Newcastle blog), we do provide a forum for people to express their views (which may NOT be OUR views) on their experiences of bullying at the University of Newcastle.  People who have been bullied out, silenced and ostracised have very few opportunities to express their views or describe their experiences.

A fortnight later, the launch of her revealing biography was accompanied by an intense promotional campaign, but she again came under attack after hosting a red carpet fashion critique of the Brownlow Awards. She was among a panel of fashion ‘‘experts’’ passing judgment on footballers' wives and girlfriends' outfits.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/private-sydney/dawson-defends-decision-to-out-trolls-20121023-282ik.html#ixzz2DeUJ0Q2D


  1. If Caroline McMillen meant a word of what she said about bullying, why hasn't she replied to Heather Richard's letter about the very serious cases concerning students (to say nothing of the numbers of academic staff members bullied out) at the UoN?

    When is Caroline McMillen going to own up that bullying has been rampant at her university and start dealing with the notorious bullies?

  2. VC Professor Caroline McMillen might say she is against bullying, she might put new policies in place to deal with bullying, and she might appear to be taking a positive step against bullying at the University of Newcastle. That is not good enough. She has to BE AGAINST BULLYING AND FOLLOW THE ANTI BULLYING POLICIES. This web site has been valuable to so many people. One thing it has done is provide a support network for the victims of bullying at the University of Newcastle. People contact us all the time. These are real people. They are not ANONYMOUS. What we can tell you is this....bullying has not stopped under the management of the new VC. In fact many people who have contacted us have stated that they believe that the new VC continues to condone bullying at the University of Newcastle. I guess that is why WORK COVER NSW was called in recently to deal with the University of Newcastle's breach of The ACT when dealing with a particularly high ranking staff member who was psychologically injured by bullying at the University of Newcastle. In this case I have been told, and believe, that Professor McMillen was pivotal in the bullying, and it may only be a rumour, but I was also told that the actions that were taken were because Professor McMillen had a personal interest in the appointment of a replacement for the "bullied victim". Is this true Professor McMillen?

  3. I am not related to anyone running this site, but I have also been bullied out and I have also heard that McMillen has refused to allow this senior executive, a victim of bullying, to return to work because she is bringing a large group of her own people from her immediate past uni, South Australia, where she was the VC here to replace many including this senior executive, the highest-ranked UoN executive bullied out.

  4. When the President of NUSA representing more than 30,000 students of the Uni asks for a public inquiry into the UoN management under Caroline McMillen, it is a very serious matter that can't be ignored.

    We wonder why Caroline doesn't answer the charges contained in the NUSA president's letter.

    Is this an institution that should be ranked the world's "top 50" as McMillen claims? Or is it just wishful thinking on her part?

    1. It is called posturing and McMillen is obviously an expert at it.

      Or she could have been fooled by the bullies who are very entrenched in their positions and have obviously managed to pull wool over her eyes.

  5. Callaghan Campus Student comments on the article in Newcastle Herald seen here


    "She also wants to see the university crow a little more." Oh dear!
    Let's have a look at a few examples of concern relating to the Callaghan Campus:

    - Food options are next to zero, and those that are there are over-priced or of poor quality.
    - It's cheaper to buy a cup of coffee in Oxford St, Paddington than it is right here at the University.
    - On-campus computers are old and slow (on lease from Macquarie Bank, mind you).
    - Night-time security is of great concern with many areas having poor or no lighting.

    The current administration has taken a combative approach with students and student associations. Students are not being consulted about many changes. Instead, announcements are simply made via the University's website or on Facebook, after the fact. Having to consult might slow things down a little, but generally results in a balanced and better outcome than without such input.

    Perhaps Professor McMillen should stop the on a media campiagn that she appears to have embarked upon and concentrate on the things that really matter? Just my 2¢ worth.