Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Economy

Dr Warwick Raverty: Many acts of bullying and intimidation in CSIRO

image
Dr Warwick Raverty speaks at a pulp mill rally. Picture: Dave Groves, http://adigitalphotographer.wordpress.com/2012/04/29/once-upon-a-night-time/

The Victims Of CSIRO group was formed in mid-2011 as a result of conversations between a number of former CSIRO employees who all shared common experiences of bullying, harassment and/or coercive behaviour whilst employees of the CSIRO.

It soon became apparent from the large body of information between the former employees that this was a significant issue requiring a coordinated approach to address effectively.

A number of our members have previously approached CSIRO at both Senior Executive and Board level to address these issues without success.

I was one of the senior scientists who witnessed many acts of bullying and intimidation over eight years of my nine year career with the CSIRO.

As someone who had been trained in modern senior management techniques at Columbia University in New York and spent the previous 20 years in a very well-run public company, I was appalled at the way in which bullying and cronyism developed in the senior management of CSIRO Forestry and Forest Products when the Chief of the division resigned in 2000.

The people who were appointed to replace the former Chief were either incompetent, or had no interest in the morale of the scientific staff.

I soon found myself spending a fair amount of my time counselling not only my own research staff, but also the staff of other middle managers in the division who were frequently bullied and treated with complete lack of respect by deputies of the various chiefs that were appointed between 2001 and 2009.

One of the worst aspects was that a senior manager with formal responsibility for ensuring that all staff were treated with respect in accord with official CSIRO policy had no relevant formal tertiary training and was part of the bullying clique that developed at the top of the division during those years.

One of the mission statements of CSIRO talks about the organisation providing technological benefits to Australian society and to the environment, but I found as the years passed that these became just empty words and that CSIRO was far more focussed on extracting research funds from companies, no matter what the ethical standards or environmental bona fides of the companies with which it engaged.

I was officially disciplined for ‘breaching CSIRO confidentiality’ and ‘insubordination’ following my decision to exercise my democratic right to support the community of the Tamar Valley in opposing the corrupt Pulp Mill Approval Act and Gunns’ planned bleached kraft pulp mill at Long Reach on sound environmental grounds.

My ‘crime’ was to publicly name and shame Les Baker for having telephoned someone on the CSIRO Executive on the day of the TAP Public Meeting in the Congregational Church in Launceston in an attempt to prevent me speaking out as a private citizen while on annual leave.

My boss at the time had even telephoned my wife without my permission prior to the meeting and tried to get her to stop me speaking out on the topic of ‘Right Mill, Wrong Location’ by suggesting that Gunns were well known for SLAPP suits and that my public speaking would inevitably result in a SLAPP suit against me and that ‘we could lose our home’ as a result.

Fortunately my boss also mentioned Les Baker’s name to my wife at which point that information entered the public domain, but that defence was completely disregarded in the kangaroo court that was convened by CSIRO to try and limit any further embarrassment to the Organisation.

My boss’ boss even accused me (in writing) of putting the interests of the Tamar Valley community before my duties as a CSIRO officer, as if being an ethical community-minded scientist was considered some sort of crime in CSIRO.

That ‘official warning’ letter was ‘the last straw’ as far as I was concerned.

CSIRO had changed from the organisation that I joined in 2000 – one that placed equal emphasis on providing good science for industry, society and the environment, to one that was almost solely focussed on the holey dollar from industry, no matter how ethically, or unethically obtained.

I resigned from CSIRO in March 2009 and in my letter of resignation that I circulated to many senior staff annd colleagues at the time, I said:

• “A steady stream of Insight Surveys over the last 5 years has highlighted an everwidening gap between … scientists and … [the] extraordinarily large number of CSIRO administrators who seem to me … to be a very long way from … the finest in the land”

• “any organisation that loses the ability to retain its best and brightest is in serious trouble”

• “CSIRO has become so bureaucratic … so dysfunctional, that I no longer see my employment as … an effective solution to the problems of Australia”

Unfortunately, my treatment at the hands of senior CSIRO people was relatively mild compared to that of other senior scientists who exercised their democratic right to speak out with the aim of informing public debate about the environment, or the impacts of technology on society. People who take the time to visit the victimsofcsiro.com website in coming weeks will see another 13 cases of even worse mistreatment of some of Australia’s most talented and brilliant minds.

It is such a shame that so much tax payer money is wasted by the most senior people at CSIRO who seem to have little or no idea of good management and administrative practices. In my experience, the scientists within CSIRO, almost to a man and a woman, are committed experts who could do so much more to solve the environmental problems that Australia faces if only the 25 – 30% of CSIRO’s annual budget that is wasted on fat-cat administrators within CSIRO were devoted to reducing and streamlining administrative procedures and improving staff morale.’

Yesterday on Tasmanian Times: Victims of Bullying, Harassment, and Victimisation in the CSIRO

First published: 2012-06-15 04:46 AM

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]
31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. Warwick

    July 24, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    From today’s Australian newspaper to save you having to get a free 28-day subscription:

    CSIRO management caned over handling of bullying claims
    • BY:NICOLA BERKOVIC
    • From:The Australian
    • July 24, 2012 11:35AM
    THE CSIRO has been accused of misleading Senate estimates in relation to its handling of a bullying claim by an award-winning scientist.
    The federal workplace safety watchdog, Comcare, has censured senior CSIRO management for quoting selectively from a confidential draft report into bullying allegations – wrongly suggesting it had exonerated management when in fact it found breaches of its health and safety duties.
    The revelations emerged as former CSIRO scientists submitted a dossier of 54 cases of alleged bullying of current and former staff to a parliamentary inquiry into workplace bullying.
    The submission said bullying, harassment and victimisation of staff was widespread at the CSIRO but was routinely denied by senior management.
    CSIRO spokesman Huw Morgan said the health and safety of its staff was paramount to the CSIRO. He said the CSIRO did not accept that its evidence to Senate estimates was misleading.
    Comcare admonished CSIRO deputy chief executive Craig Roy for misleading Senate estimates when he testified that a draft report into bullying claims found no evidence of systemic deficiencies or a culture that promoted bullying.
    The bullying claims were made by leading entomologist Sylwester Chyb, who was headhunted from Britain, but later alleged he was harassed, bullied and unlawfully terminated by the CSIRO.
    In a letter to the CSIRO obtained by scientists under freedom of information laws, Comcare deputy chief executive Steve Kibble said: “(The) content quoted by CSIRO was not presented in context and failed to highlight to the Committee that (Comcare investigator Nigel) Docker’s draft report also contains preliminary findings that the CSIRO breached its occupational health and safety duties with respect to its handling of some of the allegations of bullying made by and against Dr Chyb.”
    Mr Kibble demanded the CSIRO correct the Hansard record as soon as possible.
    Former CSIRO project manager Andrew Hooley, who was made involuntarily redundant last year after nine years at the organisation, told The Australian bullying at the CSIRO was widespread.
    Mr Hooley said this was contributing to a brain drain of scientists from the CSIRO.
    “It’s basically considered an employer of last resort amongst the more gifted researchers,” he said. “A lot of them end up avoiding Australia and going overseas.”
    Mr Hooley said he was effectively sidelined and subjected to public humiliation after raising concerns about possible procurement fraud.
    He said as a health and safety representative at the CSIRO he had dealt with employees on suicide watch because of their treatment within in the organisation. Since leaving the CSIRO and helping to set up a website for victims of CSIRO bullying, he said he had become aware of up to 80 cases involving bullying of current and former CSIRO staff. “There’s a tendency to cover up the complaints and silence the complainants,” he said.
    The submission by former scientists to the parliamentary inquiry into workplace bullying called for changes to crack down on the problem, including tougher national laws, an independent body to investigate workplace bullying claims and stronger whistleblower protections.
    Ten ex-CSIRO employees have hired lawyers and written to Comcare demanding a formal investigation of CSIRO’s workplace practices and management culture.

  2. Warwick

    July 18, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    cont …

    Numerous other former employees are said to have publically raised complaints of bullying within the organisation over the past decade or more. A listing of some of those complaints has been published on the website of an advocacy group at http://victimsofcsiro.com.
    The CSIRO Staff Association has raised the issue of bullying in its statement of claims during each of the past 3 Enterprise Bargaining periods.
    According to another scientist who wished to remain anonymous, an initiative of Clark’s shortly after commencing her appointment as CEO of the CSIRO was the formation of a Psychological Health and Wellbeing Committee. Whilst numerous submissions about bullying were relayed to the committee little has been done and the initiative has stalled.
    Clark’s response to the questions in the Senate is, frankly, disingenuous in the extreme and an absolute disgrace. For her to claim no knowledge of the many, many bullying complaints is, at best, pure fantasy and, at worst, a deliberate attempt by the CSIRO Executive to mislead the Parliament and people of Australia

  3. Warwick

    July 18, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    Commonwealth Regulator: CSIRO Executives Deliberately Misled Parliament
    Posted on July 13, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized |
    Response to Bullying Allegations an “Absolute Disgrace”
    Comcare, the government regulator, has accused CSIRO CEO Megan Clark and Deputy CEO Craig Roy of falsely quoting from a confidential report to deliberately mislead the Australian Senate.
    On 28 May 2012, under questioning in Senate Estimates, the Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Dr Megan Clark denied knowledge of numerous bullying complaints within the organisation she leads. Her Deputy, Craig Roy, quoted from a confidential report issued by Commonwealth Regulator, Comcare, to suggest that its ‘headline’ finding was that CSIRO did not have a problem with systemic workplace bullying and harassment. Clark also stated that she was unaware of a bullying complaint against CSIRO issued to the Commonwealth Regulator, Comcare by 7 former employees.
    However, a freedom of information request has now unearthed a scathing letter sent a few days later to CSIRO by Comcare. In the letter, Steve Kibble, the Deputy CEO of Comcare, chastises CSIRO for the breach of confidentiality and repudiates Roy’s quote to the Senate as being “out of context”. He goes on to state that the Comcare report had, in fact, found the very opposite of Roy’s assertions – CSIRO had engaged in multiple breaches of its legal obligations towards a bullied employee. Kibble goes on to demand that CSIRO issue a correction to Parliament “as soon as is practicable”.
    The former CSIRO employee whose case was the subject of the Comcare report is Dr Sylwester Chyb, an internationally renowned entomologist recruited by CSIRO from Imperial College in London. Chyb launched legal action against CSIRO in early 2011, claiming that CSIRO management systematically bullied and intimidated him. He says that a bullying complaint he emailed directly to the CSIRO CEO, Megan Clark, was formally responded to within 24 hours by the very person he had complained about. Their response was to inform Chyb that his indefinite position at CSIRO was henceforth redundant and he would be immediately retrenched.
    In response to the Comcare letter, Chyb said: “If the most senior executives of CSIRO display so little respect for the Commonwealth regulator and the Parliament and people of Australia, how much respect would they show to staff, like myself, at CSIRO? That is what scientists like me are up against.”
    Other scientists who have complained of bullying agreed. “There is a deeply entrenched and systemic problem with management bullying across every division of CSIRO with which I have had contact”, said Dr Warwick Raverty, who retired from CSIRO in 2009. “Numerous former colleagues tell me that they have spoken with Megan Clark directly about the matter, but I am told nothing has been done or is being done”.
    In 2009, Dr Clive Spash says he complained to Clark about attempts to censor a peer reviewed paper he had authored and that had been accepted for publication by a respected international journal. Spash alleges that Clark thereafter became complicit in and an active participant in some of the intimidatory behaviour that he then experienced. He resigned from CSIRO citing “extreme stress” and management bullying.
    Another former employee, Mr Andrew Hooley says that he submitted a formal complaint to Comcare near the end of 2009 alleging numerous instances of bullying and many deficiencies in health and safety management at CSIRO. When approached by Comcare, CSIRO strenuously denied his allegations at the time. “It is difficult to believe that Dr Clark would not have been aware of this complaint”, says Hooley. He expects that the complaint will now become the subject of a Comcare review.
    Hooley directly contacted Dr Clark on the 16th of March 2012 to communicate his experiences of bullying and victimisation. She referred the matter to Craig Roy who after a short discussion refused to communicate any further in relation to the matter.
    On 31 January 2012, another former employee, Dr Gerry Swiegers met with Dr Clark, in the presence of an investigator from the Federal Department of Finance. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss CSIRO’s failure to investigate Swiegers’ internal complaints and allegations of commercial and criminal fraud which he claims was directed at investors in a CSIRO technology. Swiegers’ position at CSIRO was made redundant by the respondents to his complaint within months of his lodging the complaint.

    cont…

  4. Michelle Adams

    July 4, 2012 at 4:50 am

    It seems that the freedom to speak the truth in academia is no better now than it was in the dark ages. What is happening at the CSIRO is also happening at the University of Newcastle (http://stop-b-uon.blogspot.com.au/). Those of us who are whistleblowers are systematically removed through management approved bullying techniques.

  5. Andrew

    June 24, 2012 at 6:01 am

    #18 “Cooper has an impeccable reputation”?
    Well I guess some think Gay has an impeccable reputation too….!

  6. TGC

    June 20, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    #26 Must admire the subjectivity!

  7. Russell

    June 20, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Re #9
    “Having the courage of one’s convictions is a rare thing these days.”

    There is a chasm of difference between “courage of one’s conviction” and “stupidity.”

  8. Karl Stevens

    June 18, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Warwick Raverty 23. Our Common Ground arranged the
    ‘Tasmanian Economic Forum’ in April 2011. They had the 3 leaders of the political parties on the panel as well as some others involved in the forestry IGA-round table.

    It seems obvious to me that OCG will be seen as the
    precursor to the forestry-IGA agreement. Maybe your ideas no longer fitted the agenda?

  9. Frank Strie

    June 18, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Re: #21 Karl Stevens
    thanks for the reminder and link

    Quote:

    ■Protect Tasmania’s ancient forests, rainforests and other special forests.
    â– Shift native forest industrial timber production into existing plantations.
    â– Build a prosperous timber industry to provide secure jobs.
    â– Establish sustainable and socially acceptable plantation management.
    â– Create new jobs from our protected forests.
    â– Restore trust in our democracy.

    If you agree with these goals, we invite you to join our community today.

    ——————————————
    RE: “Establish sustainable and socially acceptable plantation management.”
    And should it also be economically viable?

    The time, money and energy wasted since that process got going behind closed doors without the “how to” addressed, is proof of the sad reality.
    They have no idea!
    Where are these forest managers or let’s call them “acceptable plantation managers” ?
    What will it look like Dr. Phill, Judy, Graham,…?

    RE: “Restore trust in our democracy.”

    Yea right!

    To be very constructive, here a statement that actually works for me:

    “Close-to-nature forest management, which was developed more than a century ago in endangered and degraded European regions,
    is considered as very likely to help solving environmental problems on a global scale and creating sustainable global society.”
    Prof. Dr. Jurij Diaci

    Is the ‘OCG community’ or the IGA supporters in contact with the international Organising & Scientific Advisory Committees yet?

    8th IUFRO International Conference
    Uneven-aged silviculture: Optimising timber production, ecosystem services and resilience to climate change.

    http://www.lincoln.ac.nz/Services-facilities-and-support/Conference-facilities-and-event-management/Conference-and-Event-Management/IUFRO-International-Conference-2012

    To be very constructive, here a statement that actually works for me: “Close-to-nature forest management, which was developed more than a century ago in endangered and degraded European regions,
    is considered as very likely to help solving environmental problems on a global scale and creating sustainable global society.”
    Prof. Dr. Jurij Diaci

    The proof is in the catchment:
    Close to Nature, Permanent Commercial Forestry by Dr Jurij Diaci
    … linking ecological, economical and social values , …

    http://www.slideshare.net/prosilvaireland/close-to-nature-permanent-commercial-forestry-by-dr-jurij-diaci

    Show and tell us the truth and help to build trust on our Island
    Time will be the judge.

  10. (Dr) Warwick Raverty

    June 18, 2012 at 3:48 am

    Hi Karl,
    I have had no communication from OCG since early 2010, which seems to be a few months before the establishment of the ‘Roundtable’ on Tasmanian forestry. As you are doubtless aware, there doesn’t seem to have been any activity on the website since May 2010, but I don’t know whether the organisation has officially been wound up. I suggest you try sending them a message on their contact page and see whether you receive any reply.

  11. john hayward

    June 17, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Having tried to raise black-and-white conflict-of-interest arguments in Tasmanian courts and tribunals on a number of occasions, I can assure readers that Rafferty provides the definitive authority.

    The Forest Practices Tribunal Tribunal normally consists of two retired loggers and the house lawyer. A SC judge didn’t regard a $66,000 holding in Gunns shares as any problem in a case involving them. Nobody in authority even blushes.

    John Hayward

  12. Karl Stevens

    June 17, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    Warwick Raverty 20. I notice you are still listed as a supporter of Our Common Ground?
    http://ourcommonground.drupalgardens.com/about
    Do you know if OCG is still functional or has it lapsed? There are some interesting people on that page.

  13. (Dr) Warwick Raverty

    June 17, 2012 at 4:42 am

    Thanks Rick (and Wishie),

    If George Orwell had put this sort of series of events into his novel ‘1984’, it would have been dismissed by most people at the time he wrote as too far fetched. Only in Tasmania? Unfortunately not – we also have Zimbabwe and a hundred other countries where peoples’ parliaments enact laws for a small minority rather than the common weal. The diggers from Tasmania who fought and died to preserve democracy in Australia must be turning in their graves.

    And I did make an error in recollecting how much of CSIRO’s budget is spent on administration. Apparently it’s not 25 – 30% but a whopping 46.5% according the Commonwealth Department of Education Science and Technology. That’s your taxes at work for you!

  14. Rick Pilkington

    June 16, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    cont …

    This is what Pete Whish Wilson wrote on Tas Times a little while ago re his trip to the Supreme Court over the PMAA ……………”Yes, I know about this too well. Our little band of “boat rockers” who dared question the Government about their decisions on the Pulp Mill Project-including the addition of Privaty Clause Section 11-were warned about “contempt” -but not of court in this case-rather parliament! We asked the respective government departments-in the supreme court- to provide reasons for some of their decisions made in the Pulp Mill permits (i.e. relating to the insertion of section 11 complicating legal recourse to damages, odour, noise guidelines etc.) and we were told that given parliament ultimately acted as the planning body for these permits-not the government- we needed to ask them instead. Our legal team duly did this (in a letter), and we were immediately told (by someone like the parliamentary clerk or bailiff) if we didn’t withdraw our request to parliament for reasons/decisions within 48 hours we would be found in contempt of “parliament” (under some old Westminster Act from the 18th century-I think).
    They then said (in writing) we would be immediately jailed (probably under parliament house) or fined $40,000 each or both. So there you go hey, no better example of what the little person is up against in Tassie (yes the press reported this-middle page, small column somewhere or another..)Most people I tell this to don’t believe me, but it’s something I’ll tell my grandchildren anyway (so they know democracies -and the right to hold your government to account-aren’t all they seem)”.

    What would be truly revealing is to hear from former Tas IC chief Barbara Etter on her experience of the IC.

  15. Rick Pilkington

    June 16, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    #15 G’day Warwick.

    One of the most notable features of the IC’s report into its dismissal of Pulp Mill complaints was its rejection of key aspects of Simon Coopers testimony to the Leg co committee on Public Sector appointments (instigated because of the ‘Shredder gate’ scandal)

    So determined were the Tasmanian Integrity Commission NOT to get involved in an investigation into the Tasmanian Pulp Mill assessment that their report effectively dismisses very specific evidence given to a Legislative Council Committee by perhaps its most highly credible & credentialed witness – RPDC Commissioner Simon Cooper.

    This is certainly the way I read the report however I would be interested in other peoples interpretation.

    Read final paragraph on page 15 of IC report and continue to 3rd last paragraph of page 16 which starts………..”Notwithstanding, while there…..

    Whilst the IC report acknowledges Cooper’s allegation (given in camera ) that – Mr Lennon specifically told Simon Cooper on March 12, 2007 that Gunns WOULD withdraw from the RPDC on March 14, the IC found that….. “There was no reasonable basis to suspect that the Premier (Lennon) knew as a certainty Gunns had determined to withdraw from the assessment process”.

    “No reasonable basis to suspect that the Premier Lennon knew as a certainty’ Gunns had determined to withdraw from the assessment process” – despite Cooper alleging in camera that Lennon had specified the very date on which Gunns ultimately DID withdraw from the planning process. Assuming Cooper wasn’t lying (and why the hell would he?) Lennon’s statements give the appearance of someone who was very certain about what was about to happen.

    Think about that one.

    All things considered, it’s an extraordinary leap for the IC to make with them effectively favouring Paul Lennon’s version of his March 12 phone call to Cooper – over Simon Cooper’s version.

    Keep in mind Cooper’s professional stature and impeccable reputation.

    Simon Cooper made it known that he had a practice of maintaining extensive & contemporaneous notes. Cooper also told the Leg. Co committee that in regards to the conduct of the government in relation to the RPDC …………”Well, I had already been to see the DPP because I was pretty concerned about what was going on in a general sense. I had been to see Tim Ellis, an old friend; I did not go and see him in any official capacity but I rang him and went down and saw him on the 14th, as it happens. I was concerned generally about what was going on and I think by then there must have been something that had been said by the Premier that triggered that. I cannot remember what it was but there was some inconsistency that was attributed to him either in Parliament or outside Parliament. I do not remember what it was, but in relation to the content of the discussion between Chris Wright, Mr Lennon, Ms Hornsey and myself, the sense of unease that I had had about all of this crystallised and I went and saw Tim. I rang Tim, „Can I come and see you?‟, and told him what I was concerned about in a general sense and sought his advice as somebody whom obviously I respect greatly and whose judgment and legal acumen I respect greatly. I had these various concerns in relation to this whole process that I just thought was disgraceful. I went and spoke to Tim about it and he advised me that I was under no obligation to go into bat, as it were, go out in public and correct any, what I considered to be, misrepresentation or misstatement of what had occurred but plainly – and I suppose he did not need to tell me this – were I asked in a situation like this then I would have an obligation to tell the truth. It was a reassurance and I just felt that I needed to put a mark down that I was troubled about this and that I had gone and sought advice or counsel at about the highest level you could go. Beyond Tim there was only at that stage Bill Bale. I was not going to see Bill Bale, or a judge, and obviously it would have been wrong to seek to involve a judge. Obviously there was a retired judge involved in all this, Chris Wright, and we had very similar views about, I suppose, the probity of what was going on and the appropriateness. That is the best way of putting it”.

    The other aspect of the IC report that concerned me was the IC’s advice that complaints about the PMAA’s validity should be directed to the Supreme Court.

    cont …

  16. Karl Stevens

    June 16, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Warwick Raverty 15. The Tasmanian Integrity Commission report into the pulp mill assessment makes for some hilarious reading. They say the Integrity Commission was created due to concerns about the pulp mill process but then found that process raised no grounds for complaint.
    They don’t think they need to exist at all apparently.
    They found that although ex-premier Lennon issued the RPDC with a timeline and told Chairman Wright he intended to table ‘amending legislation’ introducing an end date for the RPDC’s final report and to also cut-out public hearings, that did not constitute ‘improper influence’. It’s highly recommended reading for historical reasons at least. I don’t the TIC report has even been properly analysed yet.

  17. Joker for Change

    June 16, 2012 at 3:57 am

    Looking for employment at Gunns Ltd?
    Please send us a covering letter stating the type of role you are interested in, with a copy of your resume to recruitment@gunns.com.au.

    Looking for employment at Gunns’ Pulp Mill?
    Please click here to register your interest during the construction phase of the mill.

    Registration for employment for the operation of the pulp mill will commence closer to mill start up.
    Careers
    Gunns employ approximately 880 staff in a variety of roles:
    foresters, agricultural scientists, environmental scientists, engineers
    and accountants, to name but a few.
    Believe it?
    http://www.gunns.com.au/about-us/careers/

  18. (Dr) Warwick Raverty

    June 16, 2012 at 2:44 am

    Karl (#14) – why does Tasmanian Integrity Commission sound like something that George Orwell might have invented? And does being ‘cleared’ by such an Orwellian body constitute Innocence, or guilt? It would be interesting to have a poll among readers of TT in the question: ‘Do you have confidence in the integrity of rulings handed down by the Tasmanian Integrity Commission?’ How about it Linz?

  19. Karl Stevens

    June 15, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Mark Hanna, Warwick Raverty. If only the law were applied so vigorously in every instance of ‘perceived bias’?
    Fortunately the Tasmanian Integrity Commission has cleared past administrations of any misconduct concerning the pulp mill assessment. That leaves us with the surreal situation where a ‘fast track assessment’ was needed to achieve a complete dead end.

  20. Anne

    June 15, 2012 at 8:35 am

    As others have said, Tasmanians generally, and Tamar Valley residents in particular, have a great deal to thank Dr Warwick Raverty for in his moral, and ethical decision to condemn Gunns’ proposed pulp mill as being potentially disastrous for all who live within 60 km radius of its Long Reach location. That he has continued to speak out on behalf of the community from the point of view of sound scientiific knowledge and experience has earned my, and many others, undying gratitude. He is a true friend of Tamar Valley residents.

  21. (Dr) Warwick Raverty

    June 15, 2012 at 4:58 am

    I think that Karl Steven’s comment #8 needs some qualification. Although the statement that the Greens forced me (and Julian Green) off the RPDC panel is correct, they were in their application only asking for the ‘law of the land’ to be applied. I bear absolutely no ill will towards Peg Putt, Christine Milne, or Bob Brown and told them so personally following my resignation from the RPDC panel. The real culprits who created the situation that forced Julian’s and my resignation were that great mastermind of GBE strategy, Bob Gordon (or one of his minions) and some idiot in CSIRO who signed a secret contract, without reference to either the RPDC or myself, that resulted in CSIRO preparing information for the Pulp Mill Task Force that was subsequently published on the PMTF website that created sufficient apprehension (in Law) that I might have been biased in favour of approving Gunns’ proposal that my position and that of Julian Green bcame legally untenable in the view of the Solictor-General of the day, Mr Bill Bayle. The third person with major responsibility for the fiasco was Premier Paul Lennon to whom Julian Green issued a formal warning on 6th Feb 2005 about the consequences of people in the PMTF even speaking to people in CSIRO about matters related to the pulp mill assessment. Lennon either failed to to pass the instruction on to Gordon,, or Gordon decided to ignore the instruction. So what the Greens did was simply to ask for the alaw to be applied.

    As for Garry’s comment (#2), his paraphrasing is entirely correct and in my change of position, you can see the scientific method based on evidence in action. Shortly after resigning from the RPDC, I knew that Gunns had been quite haphazard in providing the information the RPDC requested, but I had no knowledge of the unethical and intimidatory way that Gunns conducted its operations. That evidence only came to me following my resignation when I had the chance to speek to hundreds of local residents who had witnessed Gunns’ behaviour first-hand. Fresh evidence forced my change of position.

  22. Garry Stannus

    June 15, 2012 at 2:13 am

    Excerpt from Warwick Raverty’s http://oldtt.pixelkey.biz/index.php?/article/in-the-land-of-the-blind-the-one-eyed-man-is-king/:

    “Meanwhile other events prevented the initial Assessment Panel continuing its work and making a recommendation to Government. It became apparent that a senior flunky in the Government’s Pulp Mill Task Force who shall remain nameless, but let’s just call him Bobster (the name sounds quite mellifluous when combined with Jester and Lester) had signed a covert deal with CSIRO to provide advice concerning the relative toxicity of treated effluent from the bleaching of eucalypt chips (as envisioned by the Tasmanian Guidelines) and treated effluent from the bleaching of pine wood chips (that was added to the POSS by Gunns in early 2005 and which was NOT envisioned by the Tasmanian Guidelines). No member of the Assessment Panel was aware of this secret contract until November 2006 and it only came to light following investigations by Solicitor General, Bill Bale attendant upon claims by the barrister for the Tasmanian Greens that CSIRO had published an opinion on its website that might lead an ordinary person to conclude that I was biased towards approving the POSS.

    This situation in legal terms is called ‘apprehended bias’, something that all judges, magistrates and quasi-judical officers, such as members of RPDC Assessment Panels, must avoid – whether the apprehended bias is of their own making, or in my case and that of Julian Green, not of our own making. Julian Green had specifically warned Premier Lennon by letter in February 2005 that any communication between public servants outside the RPDC and the CSIRO would create apprehended bias and severely compromise the legality of the RPDC’s decision. Premier Lennon either failed to communicate this vital piece of information to Bobster, or Bobster chose to ignore it and signed the fateful secret contract with CSIRO months later. When Bobster’s actions came to light, Julian and I were advised by Bill Bale to resign forthwith, or risk a lengthy legal challenge of bias by the Tasmanian Greens in the Supreme Court of Tasmania. As this legal challenge could have delayed the RPDC decision for many months, Julian and I duly resigned in order to avoid further delay to the RPDC Assessment. For his lack of professionalism, as is often the case in Tasmania, Bobster was rewarded with a senior position in Forestry Tasmania where I am told he has managed to do for FT single handedly, what it took Jester, Lester and four non-executive directors to do to Gunns Limited.”

  23. TGC

    June 15, 2012 at 1:43 am

    It is important to say “Thank you” to those Tasmanians who have spoken out in support of the Gunns Ltd. pulp mill proposal. Having the courage of one’s convictions is a rare thing these days.

  24. Karl Stevens

    June 14, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    Tamar Devil 6. I know this is politically incorrect but the truth is, (if it gets past the censor) the Greens forced Warwick Raverty off the RPDC panel. Isn’t that amazing? Apparently they made a mistake but of course never admitted it.

  25. Prue Barratt

    June 14, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    I just needed to say thank you Mr Rafferty for bravely speaking out and having the courage of your convictions a rare thing these days 🙂

  26. Tamar Devil

    June 14, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Warwick Raverty is one of those rare and unusual characters, an ‘expert’ whose vast hands-on experience and commonsense have him standing head and shoulders above most other commentators on the subject of pulp mills. That was why he was chosen as an expert on the RPDC panel to assess the merits & suitability of Gunns proposed Tamar Valley Pulp Mill.

    When the RPDC found Gunns proposal to be critically non-compliant, those with vested financial or political interests have relentlessly attempted to tear down the reputations of Dr Raverty and other members of the RPDC.

    Having heard his public speaking on the subject of Gunns proposed Tamar Valley Pulp Mill, I have been extremely impressed by the breadth and depth of his knowledge of the subject along with the great sense of humour he uses to get his point across.

    Warwick’s concern for the health and well-being of residents of the Tamar Valley has obviously come at huge personal costs at the hands of CSIRO sycophants and toadies trying to please their Government masters and industrial financial benefactors.

    I thank you Warwick for your determined and continuing fight against the corrupt and unethical behaviour of some in both Government and the tunnel-vision corrupt industry that has blighted our lives for far too long.

  27. Anne Cadwallader

    June 14, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Warwick Raverty has the undying gratitude of the people of the Tamar Valley. Knowing that our cause was based in hard science was enormously encouraging and strengthening, and Warwick’s willingness to be a decent and brave human being and use his skills for the common good was a rare moment of brightness in all of this.
    We learned from an absolute insider of the dangers and deception around Gunns proposed chemical processes and the intrinsic dangers and failings of pulp mill technology.

  28. Barry

    June 14, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Unfortunately Mr Rafferty’s comments also sound just like several public service organisations. Whils they have a stated focus ,aims and corporate plan the major effort of management and executives is to make the minister happy and look good. Many initiatives are examined to sse what effect it will hve on govt or the minister,not necessarily how much benefit it will be to Tasmania. Ooh I forgot,The ministers’s view is that keeping the Minister is for the benfit of the Tasmania!!!!!

  29. john hayward

    June 14, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    The bullying propensities, and the senior appointments, are probably emanating from the thuggish elements of ministries in both the major parties.

    On the news last night Bob Brown responded to questions about the Gillard dirt files with a mention of the voluminous file on himself kept by Eric Abetz.

    Australia’s eclectic “third way” in politics has its feet on the bottom.

    John Hayward

  30. Garry Stannus

    June 14, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Thank you Warwick. Your personal journey saw you move from a ‘Right mill, wrong place’ position, to a ‘Would not support any pulp mill proposal from Gunns’. I hope my paraphrasing is appropriate. I also hope that the Victims of CSIRO initiative is successful. As a Tamar valley resident, I thank you.

  31. Stephan

    June 14, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Ah me.

    All I can say is that lowly staff have been “suffering” intimidation not unlike this since the late eighties.

    The corporation rules. Never mind humanity. I suspect this will get worse until people do something about the two entities that have turned many of us in to slaves.

    Financial institutions and Global Corporations are sucking us dry to grow, grow, grow. The death throws would/will be awesome.

Leave a Reply

To Top