The Minister for Health contained the Queensland Health cover-up when allowing the Queensland Health Workplace Investigations Unit to
control another self-investigation.
control another self-investigation.
Following the recent exposure of an endemic culture of secrecy within the Queensland Health administration by the Bundaberg inquiry, Mr Peter Beattie, the Queensland Premier publicly assured that any Member of Parliament could be approached by anyone with concerns and, with his new Health Minister, Mr Stephen Robertson, pledged his Government would bring about transparency within Queensland Health.
The Queensland Premier The Deputy Premier
Peter Beattie Anna Bligh
The Minister for Health.
On 6 March 2006, when writing to the new Minister for Health, Mr Stephen Robertson about the long-standing Queensland Health cover-up of Ms Mason's deception in her letter dated 25 May 1998, I was unaware of both the Ombudsman’s “Extract
of Complaint”, raising 26 items of concern which had been ignored by the Queensland Health Director- General, and of the fact Queensland Health had
not signed my personnel file out to Ms Mason for the nine months it was in her possession, as claimed by the Manager of
Employee Relations at the Department of Human Resources:
“…as the public notice of bullying has raised concern, I wish to report to you personally how management within the organization not only bullied and deliberately discriminated against me…it also succeeded during subsequent investigations, to cover-up the irrefutable truth of the events which had taken place, by removing very relevant documentation from my personnel file...withheld from the investigators…there has been no attempt to address the fact that my file had been tampered with or to question why, when the missing documents were finally retrieved by the departments of Human Resource Services and Freedom of Information, the officers from those departments failed to disclose the information contained in those documents during their subsequent representation of QH at the conciliation conference, held at the Commission of the ADCQ…the problem of bullying within QH is being swept under the carpet, there does not appear to be an integral authority within the organization to independently and transparently address this issue…The QH investigation failed to question why, as DoN Mason sat on various WPHS Committees…she fraudulently claimed in her letter to me dated 25 May 1998 that, after having made inquiries with the Department of WPHS regarding my footwear requirements due to my disability, I was required to make alternative footwear arrangements…she admitted to the ADCQ that she did not raise the issue about my specific footwear requirements with WPHS…before…my resignation…The investigation did not question why she did not follow correct procedure and receive advice from the department…DoN Mason did not revoke the unauthorized directive…as an alternative to processing my resignation. The investigators knew I withheld my resignation until the 23 June, in the hope of reaching a compromise with the department if a waiver, disclaiming injuries to my feet, was agreed to in return for allowing my footwear in the workplace. Don Mason’s suggestion of the waiver, which incidentally contravened the WPHS Act, has never been addressed…I could not comply with the WPHS directive which rendered me incapacitated. The investigators failed to address the WPHS report which arrived two weeks following my resignation, or the fact that the report confirms the waiver…They ignored…the author of the report…(Acting Manager WPHS), who confirmed to me that DoN Mason had not received the advice she passed onto me regarding my footwear requirements due to my disability…The QH investigation failed to...acknowledge my reason given for resigning…which clearly stated how, because of my disability I could not comply with the directive WPHS had issued to DoN Mason…QH signed my personnel file out from the Herston archives to DoN Mason at Keperra, and that documents later found to be missing had to be searched for by Freedom of Information…the fact that the missing documents were retrieved from DoN Mason, and that those documents confirmed that she had provided conflicting and false information to the ADCQ, was also never questioned. The officers who retrieved those documents...who subsequently represented QH at the ADCQ conciliation hearing, were never questioned about their reason for failing to disclose their knowledge of the information contained in those documents which confirmed that DoN Mason’s information was misleading and conflicting…A subsequent inquiry by the QLD Ombudsman into the conflicting information provided by QH…Dr J G Youngman stated…‘The matters raised in this letter have been examined by the District Manager....No one was appointed to carry out a formal investigation...The District Manager further advises that he...considers the matter as finalised.’…a conflict of interest existed…Mr M Schafer stated “…the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) provided Audit with a written complaint...the basis for your allegation that Ms Mason had provided false or misleading information to the Commission…was Ms Mason’s statement in a letter to you, dated 25 May 1998, that she had contacted the ‘Department of WH&S’ prior to your resignation, and that it had indicated to her that you were required to wear ‘suitable protective footwear’…Audit has reviewed all of the documents you provided, including Ms Mason’s submission. Ms Mason does not claim in her submission to the Commission that she contacted the Department of WH&S…There is therefore no evidence to prove Ms Mason provided false or misleading information to the Commission…Mr Schaefer confirmed that Ms Mason had not in fact made the inquiries…in her letter dated 25 May 1998…My resignation was clearly based on my belief of Ms Mason’s deception…she was offered impunity by Audit for her fraudulent claim in her signed letter to me, dated 25 May 1998 and for choosing not to withdraw the claim which, as the sole author she could…QH has not shown any concern at all for bullying and discrimination or any desire to stamp it out…I sincerely hope that as the new Health Minister you would wish to be informed of the questionable ethics…the power and control belongs to the bully...”
On 24 March 2006 Mr Robertson responded:
On 30 March 2006 I accepted the Minister's invitation to write to the Workplace Investigations Unit's Senior Advisor. The attached letter, itemized by the unit, had been released through Freedom of Information:
Ms Virine' consideration of the items marked on the letter:
I advised the Minister of my concerns regarding the WIU review:
The Minister responded:
The Minister sent a further letter:
I wrote back to the Minister:
The Minister again advised:
FOI later released Ms Virine's File Note:
Two months passed when, oblivious to the fact the WIU had drafted the letter received from the Minister in March, I wrote again:
My letters were being ignored so I wrote again:
I also followed up my unanswered letter to Ms Virine in March:
The Minister responded:
I informed the Deputy Premier of the Queensland Health cover-up:
On 13 July 2006 Ms Virine unexpectedly responded with a telephone call, suggesting I attend a meeting with Queensland Health to explain the Workplace Investigations Unit’s decision.
I asked that, before arranging the meeting, she provide the report previously provided by the WIU to the Minister for Health, in March, and agree to discuss the content of the correspondence between Ms Mason, my doctor and I during the course of the discrimination, which had been suppressed during the discrimination investigation.
She agreed to put the proposal of a meeting into writing but not the include the subject matter I wished to discuss, or provide me with the WIU report.
Having previously experienced the distress of having the content of that correspondence suppressed during the ADCQ investigation and conciliation conference, I had great concerns about the transparency of this newly proposed meeting with Queensland Health.
I tried to clarify the meeting with Ms Virine:
Extremely concerned about the secrecy surrounding the WIU report, I requested Ms Bligh's assistance:
Ms Virine had ignored my letter when the Deputy Premier responded:
I felt certain if I wrote to the CMC that the CMC would again refer the matter to Queensland Health for a self-investigation and again, I asked again the Premier to assist in obtaining the elusive WIU report:
Behind the scene within Queensland Health, Ms McMahon from Audit was assisting WIU:
Ms McMahon, who had received and dismissed FOI documents related to my missing personnel file in 2004, during the Queensland Health Audit investigation for the CMC, had drafted the letter for the Minister's signature:
In 2004 Audit had not acknowledged or addressed Mr Bill Evans and Mr Shane Donovan's letters confirming the FOI searches and retrieval, from Ms Mason, of my missing personnel file and pertinent correspondence relating to my discrimination claim.
Had Audit and the WIU investigated the file tampering they would surely have found my missing personnel file had came to be in Ms Mason's possession for nine months without having been signed for, as required by the Queensland Health Policy, during which time Ms Mason was in the fundamental position to remove the documents later searched for, and retrieved from her possession.
I received a response to the letter sent to the Deputy Premier on 2 August 2006:
Unaware Ms McMahon had written drafted the Minister's response to me, I replied:
I also replied to the Deputy Premier:
The Deputy Premier's response was extremely disappointing:
I replied to the Deputy Premier:
The Minister responded:
Mark Brady reported:
Ms Mason did state to me in her letter dated 25 May 1998 that she had made inquiries with the Department of WPHS about my specific footwear requirements due to my disabilities, before my resignation on 22 June:
Ms Mason had, as confirmed by the Queensland Health Audit investigator in 2004, to the CMC, erased that information from her statement to the ADCQ.
By completely denying the irrefutable claims made to me, by Ms Mason in her letter dated 25 May 1998, the WIU maintained the incorporated concealment of her false claim to have made specific inquiries with WPHS, regarding my footwear requirements due to my disabilities, which had been the very the basis upon which the ADCQ accepted Ms Mason had, unlawfully, discriminated against me.
I responded to Mr Brady on 2 October 2006:
“Ms Mason withheld the very existence of the letter from my doctor which triggered the discrimination…On 25 May 1998 Ms Mason informed me in her letter ‘...I have made enquiries into your need of protective footwear whilst on duty due to your disabilities...You stated to me 'Ms Mason did not state to you that she had communicated to the Department of Workplace Health and Safety about your issues'...In her letter, dated 25 May 1998, Ms Mason had indisputably conveyed an official directive to me from the Department of Workplace Health and Safety which, at that time, I believed...Ms Mason issued an unauthorized, erroneous, directive...The fact remains it is established...Ms L Clench had instigated the restriction placed by Ms Mason on my required footwear, without the authority of the Department of Workplace Health and Safety…you disregarded the very same evidence as that of the investigations previously conducted by Queensland Health, the integrity of which you were specifically commissioned, by the Health Minister, to investigate...Enc. Copy of doctor’s letter dated 28 September. ”
Mr Brady did not respond.
I wrote again to the Deputy Premier:
Ms Bligh did not respond.