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, June 25, 2015

$10.9 billion a year - cost of mental illness on work incapacity in Australia: What about the effects of bullying?

The ABC reports that

"Mental illness is the leading cause of long-term work incapacity in the developed world, with the cost to Australian employers more than $10.9 billion a year."

Of course, not all mental illness is a result of workplace bullying and harassment.  However, the survey of 195 staff and students from the University of Newcastle revealed the significant role played by workplace bullying issues in mental health.

As reported to the Parliamentary Workplace Bullying inquiry, the survey of University of Newcastle revealed that
"More than half the respondents reported having sleep problems (61.5%) and depression (56.4%), with about one third also reporting headaches and constant tiredness. Around one-fifth reported digestive disorders (17.9% had digestive problems and 20% had nausea).

Of concern is the fact that 23.1% (i.e. 45 respondents) had suicidal thoughts.   Also of note is the relatively high number (40 respondents) who had increased their alcohol and smoking intake; furthermore 42 suffered from hypertension and the same number had a racing heart rate (palpitations).

Numerous respondents described being under extreme stress, 
  • major anxiety disorder which is the polar opposite to my normal personality”, 
  • “constant panic at the workplace”, 
  • “random periods of tears”, 
  • “feeling under threat, walking on eggshells” or 
  • “feeling overwhelmed, extremely disliked, powerless, disenfranchised”.   
Respondents also spoke of their depression as being “quite despondent”, lowered morale”, “constant panic” and being “diagnosed with clinical depression”.  As a result of the bullying, some respondents were looking for another position  and students reported wanting to withdraw from postgraduate study.  Respondents had suffered a variety of health issues including “dysfunctional uterinebleeding, severe migrain headaches, heart arrhythmia”, “chest pain”, “facial tic”,” stress induced heart condition”, and weight loss.


  1. Clinical depression and anxiety developed after studying at the University of Newcastle. What a complete nightmare.

    1. Yes! Major depression and posts-traumatic stress disorder after being a staff member at the University of Newcastle and being destroyed because I spoke about unethical misconduct of other academic staff.

  2. The very word sociopath indicates that an individual with this personality defect will be socially astute but pathological to society.

    They are an odd mix of perpetual child, domineering bully, narcissist and criminal.

    They don't do emotions unless it suits them, and it suits them when the time comes to try to dominate and control others.

    Why do they want this control? It's a bit like asking a cat why it hunts for sport. That's just what they do. All predators hunt. It is how they survive.

    Unfortunately a institution with a more than high prevalence of these types will fail. They are necessary in small amounts but if they reach a majority they destroy the institution they swear to protect. It has already happened. Knowledge is power but power is not knowledge.

    I will be bullied for saying this yet it is my right to speak the truth.