On 14 March 2001 Mr King, the Deputy Ombudsman, advised he had referred my concerns regarding Queensland Health to the QH Director-General, Dr R Stable, for a Queensland Health review.
Mr King's advice, given in order for him to consider the actions taken by the ADCQ and Mr Laikind, was that I write in the first instance the ADCQ Commissioner and the Queensland Law Society, respectively.
In response to the Queensland Law Society Mr Laikind wrote two letters, dated 8 May 2001 and 15 June 2001, which I forwarded to Mr King.
Mr Laikind's first letter informed:
“… The Conciliator… has the full reign as to how the Conciliation conference is to be conducted...Peter Weekes wished to limit discussion somewhat to the area of indirect discrimination accepted…
Ms Hollywood was not allowed to read all of her typed statement as this had only recently come into the possession of the ADCQ and the other side had not had the full opportunity to prepare a response...
I do not have a right to represent Ms Hollywood’s story without Ms Hollywood speaking.
There is actually no right for me to speak at all, it is up to the conciliator if I am entitled to say anything or even ask questions of Ms Hollywood...
I have been advised by Peter Weekes...that the complaint would be declined as lacking in substance if an agreement could not be reached during a conciliation Conference…Ms Hollywood would probably not be afforded an opportunity to refer the matter to the Queensland Anti- Discrimination tribunal...
a Conciliation agreement was drafted by Peter Weekes in consultation with myself and the respondents...Ms Hollywood disagreed...There was no authority to bring a complaint to the Queensland Anti- Discrimination Tribunal.”
In his second letter to the QLS Mr Laikind informed:
“..The conciliator has the ability...to exclude legal representatives from participation at any time...
Ms Hollywood provided me with a very lengthy set of questions she wished asked at the Conference.
I forwarded these questions to the conciliator, Peter Weekes.
It was the conciliator’s choice not to have Ms Hollywood read her entire set of questions as this was determined to involve too much time and would be unproductive.
Peter Weekes wished to hear from Ms Hollywood on the three matters that had been provisionally accepted as potentially discrimination...where a matter is provisionally accepted the Commission may determine even after a Conciliation conference is conducted that a matter is frivolous, vexatious or lacking in substance.
It may then not give the complainant the opportunity to refer the matter to the tribunal but dismiss the complaint.
The conciliator intimated this course at the Conference...All of the options were carefully explained...
Ms Hollywood states that she was refused a right to take her matter to the Queensland Anti- Discrimination Tribunal. There is no such automatic right...”
I also forwarded the response dated 6 May 2001 to the Ombudsman, made on behalf of the ADCQ Commissioner by the Principal conciliator, Mr P Davison:
“...It would be inappropriate for the Commission to comment on a...whether statements provided by the respondents were misleading or not.
This would have been for the Tribunal to determine had the matter proceeded that far.
I also cannot comment on whether Peter Weekes made certain comments to you during the Conciliation Conference as he is not currently with the Commission.
The Commission is of the opinion that it was your decision, in consultation with your legal representative, to withdraw your complaint...
It is not up to the Conciliator to tell you which decision to make but to inform you of the options that you have. However I am sure that Peter Weekes would not have attempted to coerce you to withdraw your complaint as there are many matters that do not settle by conciliation and go on to the Tribunal for hearing.
If you have any concerns regarding the behaviour of Mr Laikind during the conciliation then you will need to take these matters up with him personally.”
It took the Ombudsman three years to advise that he declined to review the integrity of the ADCQ handling of my discrimination complaint:
“A conciliation conference is not an ‘investigative forum’ whereby a complainant can cross examine the respondents...
You advised that you wished to proceed to the Tribunal, but Peter Weekes warned you against doing so...
ADCQ believed that Peter Weekes would not have attempted to coerce you to withdraw your complaint as many matters do not settle by conciliation and go to the Tribunal for hearing...
The ADCQ believed that it was your decision, in consultation with your solicitor, to withdraw your complaint...whilst you may have felt pressured by the conciliator to withdraw your complaint, you were advised of your right to pursue your complaint to the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal...In view of the above circumstances we regrettably considered that further investigation of your complaints was not necessary or justifiable.”
In his letter dated 14 March 2001 Mr King advised he had outlined my concerns with the QH Director-General, Dr R Stable, requesting the matters I had raised be closely examined.
Unbeknownst to me then, Mr King had provided Dr Stable with a document titled “EXTRACT OF COMPLAINT: MS P HOLLYWOOD” which contained 26 items of concern which completely excluded my concerns regarding the FOI searches for the documents retained by Ms Mason throughout the discrimination investigation.
I was unaware of this document until it was released through Freedom of Information in 2007.