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whistleblowing

New circular issued by APSC on whistleblowing changes

The Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) has issued a new Circular to advise agencies about legislative changes to the APS whistleblowing scheme.

Circular 2013/8: APS whistleblowing scheme and public interest disclosures says the Public Interest Disclosure (PID) Act 2013 creates a public interest disclosure scheme that promotes internal reporting of suspected wrongdoing in public sector agencies by providing a framework and protections for public officials who make qualifying disclosures under the scheme.

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contempt-of-court

Any publication or comment which offends the dignity of the court is criminal contempt of the Court

We have noticed a that a few highly offensive comments have recently been posted on our site, which we believe we need to urgently bring to your  attention  in order to protect you (the offending commentators) and – most importantly- in order to safeguard aworkcovervictimsdiary’s serioulsy injured site owners from being prosecuted (!)- as these comments crossed way over the boundaries over what is legal to post (publish) and are well into the realm of criminal contempt of court.

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inquiry finds bullying within workcover NSW sacked-toll-worker

Injured Toll worker speaks out as her nightmare continues…

In July of this year the Sydney Morning Herald reported that injured workers were being spied on by transport giant Toll.  Former Toll employee, Rosa Diehm was featured in the article.

Rosa wrote to us recently, first to announce that she had recently won her unfair dismissal claim, however, her nightmare continues. Rosa’s story highlights the type of unfortunate mistreatment many injured workers face from hostile employers, insurers and toxic WorkCover systems in general.   Thanks Rosa for the update and for sharing your warning with others.  We wish the best for you and hope that you will soon get help, support and justice you need to start rebuilding your life.

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bill-shorten

Injured worker inspires Shorten’s fury over NSW WorkCover changes

Yesterday injured worker, Adam Grumley, bravely fronted a 400 strong audience and spoke candidly about his own daunting and degrading experience in the NSW workers compensation scheme which in turn triggered a passionate response from the Federal Minister for Industrial Relations Bill Shorten.  We ran a post recently in which Adam aired his concerns to the Member for Drummoyne, Liberal MP , John Sidoti. Surprise, surprise Adam is yet to recieve a satisfactory reply.

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whistleblowing

Whistleblowing laws. Everyone backs them.So why are we still waiting for them?

Whistleblower protection has been a long time coming for Australia’s federal public sector. But finally, possibly, 18 years after it was first recommended, it’s going to arrive.

The question is how it will be delivered. And, some may also wonder, why it has taken so long.

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whistleblowing

Former QLD whistleblowing cop wins court battle

A Queensland police officer, Dave Whyte, was forced to retire in 2007 due to bullying and a character assassination orchestrated by corrupted colleagues. Their deliberate attacks on his character and  honesty led to a decline in his health and the loss of his career. A long seven years has finally seen the beginnings of justice. More needs to be done in the defence of the honest in the battle against the corruption in our workplaces.

Dave Whyte won his court battle. Clearing his good name and placing QPS in a position to explain their failure to investigate appropriately.

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psychopaths

Workplace bullying and psychopaths – a story and an article

I liked this article writes an injured worker. Bullies hate whistleblowers. Oh so true. When I was the OHS representative and the union rep on our ward, a patient died due to our CSC refusal to provide adequate equipment to monitor patients who were classed as critical. Not one Blood pressure machine worked. ( this is the truth, appalling for a public hospital! An inquest is still continuing) The senior staffers blew the whistle….

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The myths of whistleblowing

We recently wrote an article focusing on the fact that blind obedience to bosses is major cause of workplace injuries. It highlighted the sad fact for many workers, up to 90%, will do anything their boss asks (or tells/ demands etc)  them to do, even at the obvious risk to their own health and safety.  Fear of repercussions for speaking out when safety concerns arise has been shown to be a major reason for this seemingly blind obedience, and with good reason – safety whistleblowers are not popular and yes, by blowing the whistle they often incur a wrath so severe their lives can be made a nightmare.

Norma, an accountant, noticed that funds in the company president’s special account were being diverted to an overseas account. She reported this to the company’s auditor.

Suddenly her access to accounts was removed, malicious rumours about her personal life and dishonesty were spread, co-workers avoided her and she was demoted. She got off easy!

Norma noticed that some sympathisers referred to her as a whistleblower. She hadn’t thought of herself that way before. Norma was entering the realm of myths about whistleblowing.

Or take the ACT construction industry, which is plagued by a culture of silence over dangerous safety breaches. If you dare to raise a complaint about very serious safety breaches, chances are that you may get bashed or be sent death threats!

“Adam Usher, formerly an electrical leading hand and safety officer for a sub-contracting firm, has told The Canberra Times he regularly received death threats and was repeatedly involved in brawls over reporting safety breaches on the site.”

The myths of whistleblowing

Myth 1: whistleblowing is dobbing

Dobbing, a derogatory term, usually means informing on a mate. Whistleblowing means speaking out in the public interest.

When Norma unwittingly stumbles across the boss’s corrupt operations, or when Adam Usher, the safet officer reported gross safety breaches is that dobbing? When residents participate in Neighbourhood Watch and inform police of break-ins, is that dobbing? When a witness reports a brutal assault, is that dobbing? When aworkcovervictimsdiary reports the malpractices of workers compensation insurers, is that dobbing?

Dobbing simply is the wrong way to describe most cases of whistleblowing.

Myth 2: whistleblowers always set out to be whistleblowers

Actually, a great number of them, like Norma and Adam and even John McPhilbin-who blew the whhistle on Chubb, were just doing their jobs. They were conscientious and productive workers. They believed in the goals of the organisation.

When they saw evidence of corruption or dangers to the public, they reported it fully expecting the problem to be dealt with. They are incredibly shocked when they are attacked as a result.

Many of them still don’t adopt the label of whistleblower, preferring to think of themselves as workers who were just doing their jobs.

Myth 3: whistleblowers are malingerers, attention-seekers, radicals or ratbags

Actually, most whistleblowers are serious and hard-working. Many are conservative, socially and politically.
The only attention they usually desire is on the problem they are concerned about, not themselves.

For their efforts, most of them come under sustained attack and suffer enormously, often spending large amounts of money defending themselves, experiencing serious health problems and break up of relationships.
Myth 4: the best way to protect whistleblowers is through whistleblower legislation

Actually, it doesn’t work. There are whistleblower laws on the books in several Australian states, yet there is not a single whistleblower known to have benefited from any of them.

South Australia’s 1993 whistleblower act looks excellent on paper, but has never helped any whistleblower. But, ironically, the threat of using the act was invoked to shut down a whistleblower web site exposing abuses by WorkCover.

The United States has had whistleblower laws for much longer, with the same experience. The Office of the Special Counsel (OSC) was set up in 1978 as a formal channel for whistleblower disclosures. Congress has repeatedly amended the laws because they have not been working, being undermined by OSC administrators.

Tom Devine of the Government Accountability Project and author of the authoritative The Whistleblower’s Survival Guide, concludes that “flaws in the system mean that an OSC whistleblowing disclosure is likely to be unproductive or even counterproductive.” In other words, the OSC on balance has been useless or harmful.

Some critics have argued that whistleblower laws are passed by governments to give the appearance of action without the substance. That’s certainly what seems to have happened.

Myth 5: official channels are available to deal with problems reported by whistleblowers

Official channels include internal grievance procedures, appeal bodies, ombudsmen, courts, human rights commissions, antidiscrimination bodies, anticorruption commissions and parliaments.

Whistleblower researcher Dr William De Maria surveyed hundreds of whistleblowers. He found that official channels helped in less than one out of ten cases. In many instances, official channels were actually harmful.

Whistleblowers Australia has contacted dozens of whistleblowers who have made complaints to the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption, and has found only one who was helped at all.

Dr Jean Lennane, president of Whistleblowers Australia, has concluded it would be better to abolish ICAC. She is not the only one to reach this surprising conclusion.

Dr Lennane also thinks that any anticorruption body should have a finite life of about three years, since it can’t be expected to be any use after that even if it was before.

Many workers in appeal bodies do their best. The problems arise due to serious overload, cumbersome bureaucratic procedures, limited mandate, government cut-backs (especially of agencies that seriously challenge corruption), and accommodation with the system.

 

If governments were serious about fostering public interest disclosures, they would get rid of laws gagging public servants, reform defamation law to reduce its role in chilling free speech, and provide arms-length funding to whistleblower support groups.

Many of those with lots of experience talking to whistleblowers have concluded that there are only two things that reliably help.

The first is talking to other whistleblowers. The other is publicity, especially media coverage.

It should not be a surprise, then, that most whistleblower legislation seeks to discourage people from going to the media.

Whistleblowers speak out in a way that challenges vested interests. Whistleblowing is threatening to both the vested interests and to many of those who are complicit or afraid of the consequences of speaking out.

Hence it isn’t surprising that myths about whistleblowing abound. It is just too threatening to recognise what is going on.

 

This article is based on Dr Brian Martin “Myths of Whilsteblowing” – he is an is associate professor in Science, Technology & Society at the University of Wollongong, International Director of Whistleblowers Australia and author of The Whistleblower’s Handbook (Sydney: Envirobook).

Kindly sourced and shared by our co-author Trinny

 

http://wp.me/p1MA9G-34M

 

 

Workcover QLD uses bullying and manipulative tactics in stress claims

In order for workcover to determine the acceptability of a claim for stress they rely heavily on the  employer to provide open disclosure to them about the facts and evidence in a matter regarding allegations made by a claimant. The former police officer who works for workcover Queensland reviewing “problem claimants” says – in a submission made to Internal Review of Police Disciplinary Matters– that he has never seen a case where this ever happened in the assessment period of the claim.

Workcover QLD uses bullying and manipulative tactics in stress claims

His experience, demonstrated by the cases he has seen, demonstrates a complete lack of support, and worse, sometimes even further bullying and manipulative tactics designed by all stakeholders involved which appears at least to be designed to completely destroy these people.

The workcover employee (former police office) submission:

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http://wp.me/p1MA9G-348