I worked for the Reserve Bank subsidiary Securency a joint venture between the RBA and Innovia. At the time I didn't realize the significance of what I was witnessing.It was only in hindsight I did. Age investigation had broken a story this morning regards bribery of foreign officials in the procurement of huge note printing contracts. I walked into an area that was normally vacated office space on a Saturday morning. Today there were many executives in track suits normally in tailored suits feeding documents into shredding machines. Some of which had been dragged out of archives. Looked rather dodgy. I just proceeded to get the signatures I required and went back to work.
During the course of the Age investigation there were AFP raids documents & computers seized.Many arrests. Some prosecutions. Much damage control! Deck chairs were shuffled. People were cut loose sacrificed for want of a better word. Most of what was reported was true. Some stories never saw the light of day. Anyone brave and honest enough to take the bastards on was quickly targeted discredited and marched out of the place. The hookers the money the bribes the blackmail was all seen as a necessary evil.Probably the driving force behind the joint venture in my opinion.
Much of my experience is at a much lower level. I became an OHS rep and a AMWU delegate on the back of some pretty ordinary treatment of a fellow worker who's since passed away. He died of a rare aggressive form of cancer that I believe to be occupational. He was blamed for a mistake that wasn't his fault. The matter was investigated internally. I went in to bat for him. Shot holes in the procedures involved. Explained how poor management choices had made it possible for this mistake to occur. Management put this guy a loyal employee through incredible stress,he was the fall guy . Some one to blame when dealing with the foreign officials from the Country concerned. This also was the catalyst for my future dealings with these people.
The Union welcomed me on board. I did my initial training read up on the OHS legislation and worked out how it could be utilized to make the work place safer. Only months into the experience at a social function I learnt of an existing issue that had been the subject of prior PIN notices with Work Safe. A chemical used and critical to the production of polymer bank notes had been the subject of handling and exposure prior to my becoming a HSR. The issue had been monitored but not properly managed. People involved at my part of the business were still manually disposing this dangerous product without the appropriate protections afforded to those in the specific area of the PIN. I went to my boss regards this and he didn't seem to comprehend its significance.I escalated it a few days later via an email to the Managing Director .I knew that this was a massive issue of great urgency. I also knew that I needed to shield myself moving forward as this issue would put me on their radar. I made sure I could document everything I did and said regards my OHS HSR dealings. I was also careful with my duties as an employee. Managing Director responded to my email quickly and seemingly sincerely.The matter was investigated internally. I later discovered that I was labelled internally as a whistle blower a fact that was never actually meant to be known to me. I only discovered it when I issued a PIN requesting information relating to the investigation be turned over to me as it was clearly an OHS issue.
Before I was marched out under the guise of redundancy. Ironically the same fate of 2 prior HSR's involved in this very issue. There were several poorly coordinated attempts by management to set me up with a view to ending my employment.
Post my redundancy I via my Union lodged a complaint with FWA . The Union lodged it out of time. They claim it was a mistake. It definitely was not in my interests and it helped my former employer. After researching my options I made a complaint to Work Safe claiming discrimination against a HSR. I spoon fed this investigation. Told them what to look at. What footage would be available. How the records held of waste disposal could categorically prove that my claims were legitimate. I told them what laws had been broken. Including non disclosure. Failure to provide a safe workplace. Both WorkSafe Investigations were flawed. They didn't prosecute my former employer. They didn't investigate the issues properly thoroughly and they took nearly 2 years to do so. Investigation by myself discovered that my employer and WorkSafe take advice from the same law firm. This is a massive conflict. The lead lawyer at WorkSafe said this was common place. My last port of call was to refer my case to the DPP. An option I did exercise,although I soon knew my hopes were forlorn as they can only review what they are presented by WorkSafe investigators. So whether the investigation was flawed, got at,or the system is rotten to the core matters little. The result is the same.
Was my former employer capable of bribing an official ? Yes Did they have a record of doing so? Yes. Did they exercise this option with WorkSafe? Not sure. Did they comply with the laws and regulations in the OHS legislation?No. Many of the laws broken are indictable offences. Do WorkSafe pick and choose who they pursue? Not sure. Is WorkSafe truly an independent authority or has this been eroded via political appointments?
I believe government owns this issue. Many involved escaped scrutiny or prosecution. Many people have been injured exposed to risk and remain totally oblivious to the fact as the issue for the most part has been covered up.
I hope our country gets a Federal ICAC that can investigate and expose corruption in Australia. How we find independent people to run it is a great concern to me. Otherwise we run the risk of having just another toothless authority that's compromised from within.
Dear Mr Andrews,
I have had to battle a system you now oversee for more than 2 years 5 if you count the experiences I had as a HSR and employee at Securency. WorkSafe advertise heavily with tax payers dollars. They had a massive campaign about speaking up at work.These adds encouraged this practice. They implied protection. The law also supports this. Yet the reality is the system is only as good as its enforcement. I will happily drag WorkSafe and the Government to VCAT to expose the gap between reality and what's sold to the public via media campaigns. This issue is no longer just about myself & my family.It's about all working class families that toil under this umbrella. This email has been attached to my blog. I look forward to a response from you.
regards Mark Dickenson
This was just sent to the Premier this morning 8/05/2015