... One Flew Over the Kookaburra’s Nest
For the first time in Tasmania we will read the full account of Kevin Moylan’s story, one of the state’s high profile whistleblowers from the 1990’s.
Nine years in the making, it describes Kevin Moylan’s career and self-described journey into hell when he spoke out about Tasmania’s mental health system and exposed a dangerous and dysfunctional Spencer Clinic in North West Tasmania.
In the forward to the book Commonwealth Nurses and Midwives Federation Executive Secretary Jill Iliffe writes,
“I recommend Kevin’s story to every nurse, patient and politician in Australia. He is one of the bravest people I have ever met”.
Kevin Moylan lost his career, health, home and farm, and at his lowest ebb lived in a tent on the Murray River for 17 weeks.
Kevin Moylan, a psychiatric nurse, blew the whistle on serious malpractice in Spencer Clinic at Burnie Public Hospital, breaches of the OH & S Act and allegations of serious patient abuse. Professor Ross Kalusi conducted an internal inquiry into allegations from Kevin and other staff but the government failed to take any action.
As a result of dangerous working conditions in the clinic and the victimisation he suffered after speaking out, he was diagnosed as having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
In February 2002 the Australian Nursing Journal gave Kevin’s whistleblower story front page coverage, “Blowing the whistle: THE COSTS OF SPEAKING OUT”.
However, Kevin continued to speak out in the public interest about serious problems in mental health services in Tasmania.
In 2004 at a Media Conference he released a document “Questions for the Ombudsman” regarding an internal inquiry into the psychiatric ward Ward 1E at the Launceston General Hospital and called on nurses to boycott the inquiry as only an independent Commission of Inquiry into Mental Health Services in Tasmania would be effective. The nurses who blew the whistle on sexual abuse of patients in Ward IE had left their jobs due to relentless victimisation.
In February 2004, supported by whistleblower advocates, he signed a confidential out-of-court settlement with the state government.
Today little has changed for conscientious and ethical public servants in Tasmania with few people having any confidence that the Tasmanian Integrity Commission can and will protect them for speaking out.
In October 2014 Professor Jeff Malpas from the University of Tasmania was highly critical of the Tasmanian Integrity Commission and stated
“The fact that the Commission seems not to have been able to establish a significant public profile for itself as a key ethical body of a significant voice in the public arena seems to me especially telling.
“I would not favour the continuation of the commission in its current form.”
Alarm bells continue to ring about systemic failures within the Tasmanian health system, especially in mental health services, with critical under staffing, rising incidences of violent attacks against nursing staff by members of the public and insufficient focus on patient care.
Kevin continues to be a determined national advocate for freedom of speech, patient and nurse rights and now lives in Queensland.
Kevin Moylan will be sharing his story at the Book Launch of One Flew Over the Kookaburra’s Nest and other whistleblowers have been invited to share their stories also.
Speakers at the launch: Ged Kearney President of the ACTU
Isla MacGregor Whistleblowers Tasmania
When: 5pm Monday 29 August Cascade Hotel, 22 Cascade Hotel, South Hobart
One Flew Over the Kookaburra’s Nest can be purchased from:
*Isla MacGregor has worked with several National and Tasmanian public interest and Whistleblower organisations since 1993. Isla worked closely with Kevin Moylan and many other whistleblowers especially during the 1990’s and led the campaign to introduce Public Interest Disclosure Laws in Tasmania. In 2008, Isla contributed to the Tasmanians for Transparency campaign to push for establishment of a proper Anti Corruption watch dog in Tasmania. Isla thinks there is an urgent need to revitalise public interest activism if Tasmanians want to see more accountability and transparency from Governments and the corporate sector.