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Whistleblowing Women

Australian women who blow the whistle on corruption in their workplaces.

Debbie Scattergood : a Whistleblowing Woman in the ACT Department of Territory and Municipal Services.

Debbie Scattergood, a former Department of Territory and Municipal Services (TAMS) bureaucrat, blew the whistle on waste and mismanagement in the running of a lawn-mowing contract worth $16 million.

The Department of Territory and Municipal Services has failed to produce documents -reports into the mistreatment of Ms Scattergood after she blew the whistle - as ordered by tribunal senior member Louise Donohoe, SC. 

The Department was threatened with contempt proceedings last week for not complying with the tribunal's orders. 

The four-year fight has left Ms Scattergood physically ill.

She faces mounting legal bills, which currently stand at more than $22,000, incurred in the struggle to clear her name.

First TAMS produced heavily redacted versions of two reports in ''purported compliance'' of Ms Donohoe's orders.

Louise Donohoe said the Government could be in contempt and again ordered the production of the papers, allowing only a minimal amount of redaction.

Now the latest versions of the two reports into the affair, produced by consultant Henry Price, have been supplied to Ms Scattergood's lawyers with vast swaths of text still blanked out.

In a covering letter, the ACT Government Solicitor seems to threaten Ms Scattergood with defamation action against her if she continues to supply documents to the media.

Ms Scattergood said she believed she was being threatened.

''This is intimidation,'' she said.

''Even in the face of contempt finding, they are still trying to hide this material.''

"Nobody should have to put up with what Debbie had to put up with," Australian Manufacturing Workers Union spokeswoman Jane Timbrell said.

Ms Timbrell said that, after she blew the whistle, Debbie was the victim of a mobbing campaign.

''Mobbing'' is described as a particular type of harassment that is different from the traditionally understood definition of bullying as the abuse of power.

According to Jane Timbrell, mobbing is recognised by experts as an emotional assault beginning when an individual becomes the target of disrespectful and harmful behaviour.

Then, through innuendo, rumours, and public discrediting, a hostile environment is created in which one individual gathers others to take part in malicious actions to force a person out of the workplace.

Ms Timbrell said mobbing is not covered by any protocols currently in place.

Whistleblower threatened, Noel Towell, Chief Assembly Reporter, Canberra Times, 2 September 2011 :

Bureaucrats told to dob-in bullies, Noel Towell, Chief Assembly Reporter, The Canberra Times, 1 September 2011 :

ACT Opposition Leader Zed Seselja calls for an end to the intimidation of whistleblower Debbie Scattergood.

Media Release



The ACT Government's reported threat to a sue a woman who exposed mismanagement of a $16 million contract is further evidence of its persecution of whistleblowers and hypocritical attitude, ACT Opposition Leader Zed Seselja said today.


"This completely contradicts Katy Gallagher's recent commitment to protect whistleblowers, and to run an open and accountable government," Mr Seselja said.


"For Ms Scattergood to receive these reported threats after already suffering physically and financially because of this government's mistreatment is the epitome of hypocrisy.


"The government continues to produce heavily censored versions of Ms Scattergood's case, and has threatened Ms Scattergood with defamation if she continues to supply these documents to the media. She described this herself as intimidation.


"I call on Katy Gallagher to ensure all documents relevant to Ms Scattergood's case are released in full, and that the intimidation of Ms Scattergood ends," Mr Seselja concluded.



2 September 2011