Page 2504 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Ms Fitzharris was on the radio dissing me this morning, I was having breakfast with two former staff members of ACT Health, who told me hair-raising stories about how bullying is enabled in ACT Health.

I will give some examples of the sorts of things that happen. This is a cultural problem; it is completely and utterly a problem of culture. What was described to me this morning was nothing short of grooming—that senior officials select, from amongst their subordinates, the people who are most vulnerable, and they will bully them. They will select, also from amongst their subordinates, people who are influenceable, and they will be brought into the inner sanctum in ways which are inappropriate.

For instance, it was said to me that, regularly, senior management in ACT Health, in various areas, invite into their homes their subordinates for social meals. It is not about bringing all the staff home for a barbecue at Christmas-time; it is about selectively bringing people into the inner sanctum and essentially grooming them to perpetuate the behaviour, so that when someone is moved on, the behaviour continues because the people behind them do it.

The people I spoke to this morning have both worked in health services interstate where that sort of behaviour—senior management taking staff home for private dinners—would be considered to be a breach of the code of conduct. They are showing favouritism to some staff over others, which is just inappropriate and unprofessional, but it would be considered a breach of the code of conduct. They said to me, “This would not happen in New South Wales or Queensland; the people doing this would be disciplined.”

What happens is that you choose favourites and you choose victims. The people who are victimised are performance managed out, they are bullied, they have their desks taken from them and are told to hot desk, or they are told, “If you want to use a computer, why don’t you go down to the public library?” These are not things that are yet to happen; they have happened, and they have happened in the very recent past.

To say, “Everything is fine and dandy, and it’s all rainbows and unicorns in ACT Health because in March we made a change, and now it’s all going to be fine,” is ludicrous. It is essentially what was said on the radio this morning, and it clearly says that something magical happened this year, and everything is going to be fine in the future.

I will refer to something that occurred as recently as last week. A concerned person who lives over the border—therefore is not a constituent—wrote to Minister Fitzharris and Minister Rattenbury to raise issues which have previously been raised, which were raised by me in the estimates hearing, about a particular area in ACT Health which I will not name here and did not name in estimates. I was told in estimates by the interim director-general that he was aware of the issues and he was dealing with it. This person wrote last week to Mr Rattenbury and Ms Fitzharris, saying he was writing in regard to ongoing and systematic bullying of a particular person who works in a particular area in ACT Health. He was writing in his capacity as a close friend

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video