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, January 30, 2014

Monthly meetings 2014

Starting next month (February), we will hold regular meetings on the second Tuesday of each month at 12.30 pm.

Our first meeting will take place as follows

Tuesday 11th February

12.30 pm

Corner of Beaumont and Dennison Streets, 

If you have been affected by bullying, harassment, victimisation and/or discrimination at the University of Newcastle, come and join us.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Experts at cover-up?

The University of Newcastle is back in the news regarding the Doyle's Creek Mine and the one million dollars given to the University.

The Uni says it was a ‘"‘philanthropic agreement’’ between the two organisations" (Newcastle Herald).

This deal was made by Nick Saunders, now at Bond University.

"Senior university staff noted in internal emails concerns of the ‘‘irregular’’ manner by which John Maitland, also a former union boss and influential Labor Party figure, had made the offer on behalf of the Department of Primary Industries to establish a new chair position at the university.

However, the institute went on to write a letter of support for the mine proposal and sign agreements with the Department and Doyles Creek Mining, for $1 million from each over four years, to establish its Institute of Frontier Geoscience." (Newcastle Herald)

"The Independent Commission Against Corruption found a September 2007 letter of support from Newcastle University to Doyles Creek Mine backers was used, with similar letters, as a ‘‘political shield’’ to help disgraced former NSW minister Ian Macdonald protect himself from the inevitable criticism flowing from the Doyles Creek Mine exploration licence approval."(Newcastle Herald)

The uni established courses via the Institute for Frontier Geoscience.
"The first five-day course costs $3500, with no exams. Participants, described as "early to mid-career employees" in the coal industry, will receive a certificate of attainment on completion." (emphasis added)

For a detailed account of this matter (including the involvement of Nick Saunders, Bill Hogarth and Barney Glover), see also previous articles by Joanne McCarthy and SMH and more.

ICAC?, "irregular"? "political shield"? 

Corruption, misconduct, bullying, harassment, victimisation... the Uni's ever-expanding contingent of spin doctors better get busy.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Coffee? A chat?

Do you need support?

Do you want a chat?

Do you want to meet confidentially?

Contact us at stopbullyingat-newcastleuni@live.com

Friday, January 24, 2014

Dignity, open, honest, respectful - University of Newcastle executives and managers?????

"Executives and managers who preach and practice dignity 
will see that quality resonate throughout an organization.  Establishing a culture of open, honest, and mutually respectful communication will have the salutary effect of reducing 
bullying and other forms of employee mistreatment."
(Yamada 2008)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Workplace bullying - domestic violence

David Yamada has been pondering on why people who suffer workplace bullying find it difficult to leave their jobs.

He continues
"Such scenarios often resemble all-too-common domestic abuse situations where the abused party stays in the relationship, either hoping that things will change or otherwise feeling trapped and without options."

"Similar patterns often appear in severe workplace bullying situations. The abuse continues, and some targets keep enduring it, sometimes for years. Eventually they’re so psychologically beaten up that they lack the self-confidence and judgment to move on to a hopefully healthier work setting — or at least to remove themselves from the abusive one."  
"Workplace bullying resembles domestic abuse in another way: As a society, we have been too willing to deny its destructive impact and to dismiss it as a personality conflict or a bad match. It took us many, many years to recognize the harm wrought by domestic abuse, even in the face of mounting evidence. We’re still fighting that uphill battle with workplace bullying, despite real progress over the past decade.

When people ask me if workplace bullying is a lot like schoolyard bullying, I typically respond, yes, in a way, but that domestic abuse is the more apt comparison."(emphasis added).


Stay strong

Monday, January 13, 2014

"Bullying on steroids"

In a review of a new book entitled Overcoming Mobbing (Duffy, M. & Sperry, L. 2013), Sophie Henshaw reports that

"Mobbing is “bullying on steroids,” a horrifying new trend whereby a bully enlists co-workers to collude in a relentless campaign of psychological terror against a hapless target."

"Mobbing is more likely to occur when a number of workplace factors are present.....

Organizations that are driven by bureaucracy, e.g., government departments, are arguably the most toxic. They appear to have policies and procedures to ensure a safe workplace, but they will redefine bullying as a “personality conflict” and end up offering no real protection. In essence, bad behavior is tolerated and left to escalate."

Note that UoN has a vast collection of policies and procedures (the most of any uni in Australia?).  It has recently flaunted its anti-bullying procedures and blurb.  However, the outcome of  bullying at UoN is that the bully is rewarded and remains in employment whilst the victim is further harassed by the complaints system and will lose their job.

Reports to us indicate that this mobbing is the most commonly occurring type of workplace bullying occurring at the University of Newcastle - employees collude with each other and with managers at higher levels to victimise and destroy the victim.  According to Hemshaw,

"Targets are usually anyone who is “different” from the organizational norm. Usually victims are competent, educated, resilient, outspoken, challenge the status quo, are more empathic or attractive and tend to be women, aged 32 to 55".

At the University of Newcastle, you only need to be conscientious and refuse to be involved in unethical behaviour to become a target of relentless bullying and ultimately be "removed" from your job.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

How many of these apply to the University of Newcastle?

The Employment Law Handbook has compiled a list of warning signs of bullying in the workplace. They suggest using this list to investigate further.


  1. Patterns of absenteeism or excessive sick leave.
  2. High staff turnover.
  3. A high number of grievances, injury reports or WorkCover claims.
  4. A workplace culture that accepts or promotes a ‘tough guy’, ‘dog eat dog’ or ‘harden up’ attitude to interpersonal relationships, performance management and distribution of work.
  5. Leadership styles that are particularly forceful, rude or aggressive, demanding, aloof, overbearing or micromanaging.
  6. Systems of work in which there is:
    • uneven or unfair distribution of work;
    • excessive intervention in a person’s work;
    • excessive amounts of work; or
    • provision of menial or tedious tasks, or failure to provide any (or any meaningful) work.
  7. Workplace relationships in which one or more people are excluded from a larger group or social activities.