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)

Monday, November 26, 2012

NEWS FLASH - Parliamentary Workplace Bullying Review report is out!

A House of Representatives email has just been published.

"Monday 26 November 2012

House Education and Employment Committee report tabled on workplace bullying

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Employment has today released its report, “Workplace Bullying: “We just want it to stop”.

According to the Productivity Commission workplace bullying costs the Australian economy between $6 billion and $36 billion annually.

The Committee received over 300 written submissions – mostly from individuals who have experienced bullying first-hand - but also from organisations, about the enormous human toll that workplace bullying takes.

The report contains 23 recommendations that focus on:

·         defining what bullying is and is not;
·         promoting and strengthening existing legislative and regulatory frameworks;
·         ensuring that the requirements of the draft Code of Practice: Managing the Risk of Workplace Bullying are met, with guidance and support provided to employers;
·         improving workplace cultures;
·         and enhancing tools for the prevention and early resolution of workplace bullying  incidences.

The Committee Chair, Ms Amanda Rishworth MP, said “Workplace bullying is happening far too frequently in Australian workplaces, and occurs in all sectors and industries. We started this inquiry with a focus on examining whether we should introduce a national equivalent of Brodie’s Law. We discovered throughout the inquiry that prevention and early intervention is critical.  A chief concern of witnesses was the lack of clarity about what to do and where to go for help. That is why we recommend, in consultation with stakeholders, that the Commonwealth Government establish a new national advisory service to provide advice, assistance and resolution services to employers and workers alike. We hope that this report forms part of the national conversation we need to have on this topic and offers ways for moving forward. We all have a responsibility to stop bullying behaviour in its tracks.”

The full report is available from the Committee’s website:


  1. Managers need to be able to lead.. Interesting read. This starts at discipline level. What to do when there is no leader? That is when things become out of control.. This is when behaviours become inappropriate from all directions. Open your eyes.. The obvious is stated.

  2. Poor or no leadership equates to prime conditions for mobbing. Ideal breeding conditions for such behaviour. When incidents of mobbing arise, time to divert the attention to the leader. This should not be an opportunity to start falsely accusing the victim as being the bully. However when the supposed leader is orchestrating such behaviour, where is the victim to turn? Discipline leaders should start to be held accountable for their actions. When there is no leadership, there is always the need for a scapegoat. And it continues from there until it becomes a full blown case of mobbing...

  3. That is why many people at the UoN want to be discipline convenors because that is the first step to power and endless financial rewards, e.g. fast-tracked payrises, promotions and easy money for teaching assistance, etc. The power to bully is part and parcel of this shining "career path". Before they realise it, they become program convenors, deputy heads or better still heads of school and are in a real position to do a few colleagues in or get rid of rival disciplines in their true 'executive" fashion.

  4. Oh, another group of highly powerful people are the program convenors and assistant deans (research, international, etc.) who can "set the direction" for the "programs". There has been a recent example of a program convenor providing a highly biased "executive summary" with doctored evidence to an "external" and "independent" program review with committee members hand-picked by major stake holders and interest groups to have a rival discipline deleted and a colleague made redundant and rival majors reduced to minors in order to hold on to their own jobs, research territories and of course long-term survival.

  5. That is very revealing. We can now see how small-timers can get so powerful in places like....