Councillors, MP accused of harassing staff

Andrew Mathieson
THE State Ombudsman is investigating whether authorities adequately handled complaints of councillors and a state MP bullying staff at City of Greater Geelong.
Former return-to-work adviser Pam Clark said she had taken the complaints further after unsatisfactory outcomes with WorkCover, the Australian Industrial Relations Commission and an internal whistleblower procedure.
The Ombudsman was investigating whether WorkCover and City Hall ran adequate investigations of the bullying claims, she said.
The Independent revealed on June 23 that City Hall had terminated Ms Clark’s contract after she revealed a culture of bullying from “the top down”.
Ms Clark said she had since received a call from Ombudsman’s senior investigation officer Russell Bennett to confirm the probe would go ahead.
She was so angry about activities at City Hall she was willing to break a disclaimer to never discuss details from a mediation pay out with anybody outside her family.
“I’m so disgusted at the bullying that’s continuing that I’m breaching that disclaimer with the full knowledge of what I’m doing,” Ms Clark said.
She claimed three Geelong councillors and a local state MP bullied City staff but City managers had failed to act on the staff’s complaints.
The City’s response to a request for help was to have “two of the major bullies” investigate the complaints, Ms Clark said.
She alleged that WorkCover, which investigated her claims at the City, failed to do its job properly when it did not take down sworn evidence and interview employees away from their workplace.
“We believe WorkSafe doesn’t make safe work places for people in Geelong and it needs to be exposed,” Ms Clark said.
But she believed that political interference was hampering the investigation.
“I believe there is a deliberate act by the Govern-ment to keep a lid on this until after the election.”
Ms Clark met state Opposition leader Ted Baillieu and Liberal candidate for Geelong Scott Dixon to discuss the issue on Wednesday night.