Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Those bullied at CIT will never see justice outside of the law courts. Despite all of our hopes and dreams, Commissioner Kefford's investigation has not so far and will not, bring justice for the real victims of bullying. 

Instead, a political solution has been found. Kefford anticipated reactions like mine and others when he said in his 'final report' - that is apparently not quite so final, that "Not everyone will be happy with the outcome". Those not happy with the outcome are those who no longer work at CIT and lost their jobs because of unprofessional behaviour and/or bullying such as myself and others I know. The victims have become the 'fall guys'. We have become those who 'protesteth too much'. We have become thorns in the side of Kefford and CIT (well, we were thorns in the side of CIT the minute we raised our voices in complaint to them years before the investigation).

We didn't realise it at the start but we were NEVER going to see the kind of justice we hoped for such as;

1. Get our jobs back
2. Get an apology from the bully or an admission from CIT that we had been bullied and that the bully has been disciplined.
3. Be informed of what changes were taking place at CIT to protect current staff
4. Be informed of any progress at all
5. Have a right of reply when CIT denied our allegations
6. See a  transparent report released that gave details not just assurances of change AND/OR
7. Letters to the victims detailing the changes as proof that we did not waste our time.
8. Even a meeting between CIT and the victims where CIT could present the evidence of what has changed would suffice to cover 6. and 7.

When we write to CIT or to Kefford's office we are most often simply ignored. The acting CEO sent so-called apology letters during 2013 that were utterly bereft of detail and offered only broad assurances that 'things had changed' but no evidence as to how. Given the stone walling by CIT of us over the years, I think anyone would understand why we found our letters insulting and told the acting CEO so. Her response was to ignore us of course. 

I believe that the investigation has come up with a 'political solution'; that is, to minimise the results of the investigation at every turn. I was disgusted by Kefford's report in many respects. 

I am disgusted at the way the Kefford report claimed in contradiction to what Mark McCabe found, that bullying was not widespread at CIT. This handy gem from Kefford has allowed acting CEO Jenny Dodd and minister Burch to use it as a battering ram over and over in the senate that the bullying was confined and I quote, "To a couple of small areas".  These 'couple of small areas' are the very ones in power and the ones most likely to do the most damage to the good name of CIT itself and to its hapless victims - these areas are within the Office of the CEO itself.

It was the willful neglect and/or active hosing down of complaints from other areas when they were taken to the office of the CEO over the years that caused the widespread upset to the point that Commissioner McCabe stepped in. Upper management itself became bullies by their efforts to silence complainants. Listening to upper management at CIT you would think that there were some naughty staff members causing trouble and they have now been rooted out and policies put in their place to make sure that bullies can no longer flourish at CIT! Well, I hope that at least  is true, but this fiction casts a shadow over the rank and file at CIT - the hard working level one teachers and administration staff with no power. 

PLEASE NOTE that the bullying in all cases I know of were never colleague to colleague - which says a lot about the corrupt management system at CIT. The bullying was able to thrive under management and often management unqualified to be in management positions at all. This is the crux of the matter - give some people a little power they did not have yesterday, and they use it either very unwisely at best or corruptly at worst. THEN, have those bullied complaining to upper management who TOOK THE BULLIES PART AT EVERY TURN - because they were part of the 'management club' and you have the situation at CIT in a nutshell.

The only result of the Kefford report that  I am happy about - is the HOPE and it is still a hope as I have yet to see evidence of it - that in the future CIT will be forced to act properly towards bullied employees and be too afraid to bully staff themselves through their management style and system.

I  hope specifically that the Performance Management structure will be changed to offer protection to those casual contract and other permanent level 1 teachers by allowing those 'managed' to report on the fairness or otherwise of their own management. I have made many requests to be assured this will be the case but surprise surprise - have been ignored. 

I hope specifically that CIT will put in place proper processes where teachers who behave unprofessionally towards or bully students, are dealt with. Like staff many students have complained over the years and this too, went into the 'bottomless pit of CIT forgetfulness'. 

We former staff have asked for copies of polices, documents and such that would assure us of the supposed changes but Kefford's office and  CIT continue to ignore these requests. We have been given nothing but assurances without any proof in form 'apology' letters that are an insult to our intelligence and for some of us, yet more stabs to a psyche already severely traumatised by CIT. 

It is interesting to note that I know of several victims who have received their 'Dear John' letters. These letters basically say that CIT rejects the victims claims. These are the FIRST letters received after 3 years but I do not know of a single victim assured that their bully has been disciplined. I am also not aware of a single disciplined person - if there are such, where is the evidence - the 'transparency'  promised over and over in the media by CIT,  Kefford's office and personally to the victims?

I  have high hopes (and some feedback that affirms this) that many are beginning to stand up for themselves at work saving a lot of angst and an escalation of bullying situations.  I hope that in most cases it will only take a victim to say 'Um, I don't think you should be talking to me like that' to nip bullying in the bud at the workplace level thus saving MILLIONS of tax payer dollars.

Who is calling CIT to account for their abject failure to deal with bullying by actually being a part of it, resulting in but not confined to current cases at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) and matters in the court against Comcare costing yet more tax payer dollars?

Everything we hear in the senate or the media from Kefford's office or CIT is all about patting CIT on the head for a job well done while victims are ignored or insulted. So this is politics in the ACT - pity I was such an innocent gullible and trusting fool to think that victims would be treated with respect. CIT upper management speak as though they are not and never were a part of the problem! Who are the bullies then? Powerless casual staff or level 1 teachers I suppose?

 I believe in the end the 'investigation' has all been about harm minimisation  - harm minimisation for CIT and ACT Labor. I can't think why I ever actually believed it was about the victims. At this point I am ashamed to admit I have been a Labor voter all my voting life because this situation has been allowed to fester and stink on ACT Labor's watch.

I await with eager anticipation my letter that will tell me that all my matters have been looked at, not proven, and that that is the end of the matter. I have seen a few of these 'Dear John' letters where the victims are dumped already. Some of them not just 'dumped' but their own reputations smeared - what dirt has CIT been able to dredge up on me with the amazing length of time they have had to do so over the last 2 plus years? Victims are now resorting to FOI legislation to obtain what CIT has said about them in their denials of the victims bullying case!

Please prove me wrong Andrew Kefford and CIT and  I will gratefully eat humble pie if you do.

Lorese Vera

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