Wednesday, January 6, 2010

What South Australia's Attorney-General thinks of Whistleblowers & Interstate Commissions Against Corruption!

As the move for an ICAC in the state of South Australia gathers moss, with the bottom of the hill significantly within sight, the Attorney-General, Michael Atkinson persists with his same-old same-old boring argument against an ICAC. That this state has a plethora of investigative bodies citizens can turn to.

Monday 4 January 2010, The Advertiser published my letter:

The Attorney-General ('System Working', The Advertiser, 1/1/2010) inadvertently puts up a magnificent case FOR an ICAC. I was a whistleblower for 9 years in the South Australian Public Service, and I climbed the ladder of greasy rungs. My only vindication, after struggling through years of engaging with Michael’s plethora of investigative bodies, was a determination by the Equal Opportunity Tribunal in 2004, and the 2009 Parliamentary Inquiry into the Office of the Public Trustee. I can state quite categorically that ALL agencies I took my complaints to, including the parliamentary offices of the Premier and the Attorney-General, failed me. Let’s face it, had ANY of them been effective between 2000 and 2009, would my struggle have brought about a Parliamentary Inquiry? I think not. The system is not working Mr Atkinson. And the costs associated with the running of these agencies must be horrendous. An ICAC to replace this long slippery ladder would save the taxpayer a small fortune, and more than likely help preserve the mental health and wellbeing of the victims.

Same morning, on radio station 5AA, Mike Smithson interviewed me, along with another ex-public servant and the Attorney-General. I recalled some of my experiences as a whistleblower (March 2000 to September 2008) whilst employed as a senior I.T. officer within the Justice Portfolio of the South Australian Public Service.

Some of Michael Atkinson’s comments:

…. understand where all the media stands on this because they want an Independent Commission Against Corruption so allegations can be published under privilege and people can be smeared…

…to deal with your two callers, the trouble with Mr McKibbin is that his allegations haven’t been sustained. They’ve been fully investigated and they haven’t been sustained, it hasn’t turned out the way he wants them to. Some of the things he raised with you, like sexual harassment and workplace bullying just don’t have any connection with corruption. When he doesn’t get his way his next move is to say … well there’s corruption here because I’m not getting my way...

…obviously if there were an Independent Commission Against Corruption and if the Government had a spare $30 million ever year of taxpayers money to spend on setting up such a body, when they didn’t find in favour of these complainants they would say, as people do interstate where we have ICACs, oh, the ICAC is corrupt. It’s a procession almost in grievances that when people are unhappy with a Government body that’s investigated them … when they get an adverse finding from one of those bodies, they claim the Ombudsman or the Legal Practitioners Conduct Board is corrupt...

…nothing will ever make them happy unless there is a finding in their favour, and if there’s not a finding in their favour then there’s something wrong with the body that did the investigation...

…and they receive massive media coverage, both of them…

…Well we have independent corruption bodies plural, already. Twice the cost to taxpayers, double the cost every year of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions … what the journos don’t tell the public is … about the anti-corruption bodies that already exist … we have the anti-corruption branch of the police … if there’s a breach of the law, and that’s what we mean by corruption, a breach of the law, then they investigate. We have an Ombudsman with the powers of a Royal Commissioner, the standing powers of a Royal Commissioner, so what the Ombudsman can do is that he can call public servants and others in, Local Government to Councillors, officials, anyone in South Australia and compel them … to answer questions on oath … if they refuse to answer they’re committing an criminal offence. If they don’t answer they’re committing a criminal offence…

…We have whistleblower legislation, we have a free unfettered press, we have an independent judiciary, we have an Upper House, which has never been controlled by the Government of the day, (Strange comment considering the official ALP Policy is to rid the state of the Upper House!) we have many measures that keep South Australia clean. Now I’m not saying South Australia’s perfectly clean, of course there’s corruption and crime in South Australia…

Yet to be published, I reacted with this Letter to the Editor:

On Radio 5AA Monday morning, in response to comments made by me both on 5AA and in this newspaper (‘System Not Working’, The Advertiser, 4/01/2010’), the Attorney-General, in part stated; ‘…the trouble with Mr McKibbin is that his allegations haven’t been sustained. They’ve been fully investigated and they haven’t been sustained, it hasn’t turned out the way he wants them to…’ I can only refer the Attorney-General to Judge Rice’s Determination in the District Court (Equal Opportunity Tribunal) 25 June 2004 regarding vicarious liability, the findings from the 18-month Government Investigation Unit (GIU) investigation into my allegations and the allegations of others, the findings from the yearlong Disciplinary Hearing conducted by retired-judge Mr Alan Moss 2007/2008, and the recently tabled findings of the 2009 Parliamentary Inquiry in to the troubled Office of the Public Trustee. I, as an altruistic whistleblower have been vindicated at the highest level. It is a shame that South Australia’s figurehead of Justice remains in denial and seemingly perpetuates the myth that whistleblowers are nothing more than serial pests.

My problem with the AG is a simple problem. Let’s blow away all the fluff and diversionary comments from this little schoolyard tiff.

Michael Atkinson is well & truly aware (or should be) that I was not the only person to present evidence to the various Investigations and Inquiries over the past few years. And if he took time out from polishing his bicycle trouser clips, he would discover that a significant number of witnesses corroborated one another.


Though, I was (along with one other) the only ‘idiot’ to hop on the horse and take it to the public via Today Tonight, and that was only after 8 long years of dealing with an employer that was more interested in its self-preservation than the pursuit of the ugly truth.

I shudder each time I realise that Mr Atkinson continues to confirm, with his on-going comments, that my instincts were 100% correct all along……..his priority was never the welfare of his staff, well, certainly not this staff member.

You cannot engage with these elected people. They just screw the interactions with diversions, truth-bending, and blunt denials.

Mr Atkinson, Attorney-General of this state, the Grand Poobah of Justice… my allegations have been proven, you just don’t want to fess up and admit you failed not only me but many others who suffered and complained for years! Hang your head in shame and after the March election you should have plenty of time to devote to publishing your own Blog. I got plenty of time. I’m unemployed. After all, isn’t this the fate of all ostricised and ridiculed Whistleblowers?

Oh, and for the record...I wasn't fired. I quit. After years of being worn down, I felt there was no other option. In one respect, the system won, and I am quite sure it is proud of itself!


Anonymous said...

WE know it's the truth Rob. Can't wait for the March election. I am hapy to pay the fee for you to stand as an independent, preferably in Big Michael's seat! Please get more airtime so the real truth gets out there. Is there any reasom why Judge Rice's finding can't be published on your Blog IN FULL?

adelcomp said...

I could do that, though there is a link to the Determination in a previous Post. I am still thinking about the Independent run, against Mike's mate Jenny Rankine. Sometimes...people just get voted out! Putting together next Post with details from the Determination and other public docs. Why do they so obviously bend the truth?

Anonymous said...

Rob McKibbin was NOT the ONLY ONE bullied and continues to not be the only one being (yes present tense) bullied in the SA public service. And I know the place where he used to work and I know of at least three people there who are still being bullied. One more than the rest. It seems the managers think if the person does not take a complaint to higher up that then they can keep bullying the person until they say something to management. But then the people who do not speak up tell me they have seen what has happened to people who have spoken to management and they do not want that to happen to them - retaliation from the middle managers. So lose lose lose all the way. And none of those people would have dared go to the inquiry because they saw what senior management did to Rob. Once again it is lose lose lose at every step. They should have allowed people to give evidence without revealing to management the names of those people. So the Inquiry has not been thorough enough in my view. Where I work in the SA public service many good people have chosen to leave to protect their health after being bullied. And a few bullies have chosen to leave when they have run out of puff to keep bullying in that arena. And sadly some bullies have come back because where I work in the SA public service bullying is allowable and even sanctioned (by inaction by management). Team Leaders are the most prevalent form of bullying followed by middle managers.
Bullies are cunning inadequate and pathetic. But the greatest joy for a bully is to destroy people. They also like to subject the person being bullied to far more scrutiny than the next person. And exclude them every step of the way. Wake up Mr Atkinson and Mr Rann the inner core of your ship is septic.If you took better action for the victims and against the bullies it would be harder for bullies to get away with it.

philstil said...

Hi Rob

The SA Government has been nailed with the case at

They are in hiding because this is one case that proves that there are absolutely NO indepedent investigate bodies within the SA government. Everyone one of them works with other to protect each other from criticism by Australian citizens.

Philip Stilianos

Anonymous said...

I don't know about South Australia, but I've seen corruption of the like in Queensland, up to an including tampering with court transcripts.

The Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commission is hopelessly corrupt. So is the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission.

And while I had better luck with HREOC and the federal courts, I was literally sickened to learn that the individual most responsible for the corruption, harassment and victimisation in my case was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia for their "services to tertiary education and industrial relations".

Multiple, valid complaints of corruption laid against them, a notorious bully in academia, guilty of victimization, gross incompetence and unlawful negligence - and our country's official stance on such behaviour is that it should be honoured with one of our highest awards.

How is one supposed to feel proud to be Australian?

Peter Gauci.

Anonymous said...

Awesome information, many thanks to the article writer. It’s understandable to me now, the effectiveness and importance is mind-boggling. Thank you once again and good luck!

Anonymous said...

I work for WHS QLD Justice and Atorney Generals Department and I have been bullied for 7 years and blatantly been Discriminated against by the bosses and to top it off i have had our own legal department interfear with an investigation where by a person died from work a accident and they tried to cover it up by getting me to dispose of evidence after the person died.
I have been off work for 8mths and it hasn't changed a bit, bosses discriminate aginst lower paid workers and lie, I hope to have my day in court as this death i believe shows there is severe neglection of duty by the employer under their own Act sect29 (failing to provide a safe place of work)and to the other party.
They also so broke the privacy Act
and this was done by an RM (Regional Manager) Discriminaction against mysel and others by the ROM reginal office manager) and the RM. The department has lost integrity and lost all faith, due to their deplorable actions and constant lies by those who think that they are beyond the Act and the Law.

Anonymous said...

thankyou for the person who said they had more help from the HREOC. That will be my next step. I am an identified whistleblower and the victim of reprisal due to the corruption within the Queensland Government. I have lost my career, my financial security and at times my mind.

whistleblower said...

thankyou for the person who said they had more help from the HREOC. That will be my next step. I am an identified whistleblower and the victim of reprisal due to the corruption within the Queensland Government. I have lost my career, my financial security and at times my mind.

adelcomp said...

Drop me a line.