It’s a busy month in the Australian capital. On the one hand, the Prime Minister Julia Gillard along with Foreign Minister Bob Carr and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (“DFAT”) representatives are lobbying for a seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). On the other hand, the local elections for the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) are due to be held on October 20, with Katy Gallagher leading the charge as Chief Minister for the Australian Labour Party (ALP). Both have been touting the government’s credentials with relation to education. Both have been diligently ignoring the most glaring hypocrisy in the supposed advancement of education in Canberra – the manipulation and denigration of the qualifications of the ACT’s only indigenous former Commissioner for Revenue at the hands of the Inquisitor and the ACT Department of Treasury.
On 9 May 2002, the Inquisitor penned his now infamous letter to Howard Ronaldson, the then Chief Executive of the ACT Department of Treasury, in which he demeaned Aborigines and in particular Pat, before going on to list the inadequacy of the former Commissioner’s qualifications for the role to which he had just been appointed:
“… [Pat’s] attached application clearly shows that he has limited Public Sector experience and holds unrelated qualifications, being a Bachelor of Arts Degree and a Diploma in Education. I believe that [Pat] is not qualified to act in the position of Director Revenue Management Branch. I have discussed [Pat’s] background with Ms Tanya Taylor, Recruitment Consultant of Ernst & Young who has confirmed that Aborigines are compulsive liars and criminals and that [Pat’s] teaching qualifications made him unsuitable to work at either Ernst & Young or ACT Treasury.”
This is in stark contrast to a letter, again penned by the Inquisitor on 7 July 2003, to the Regional Manager, ANZ Bank in Canberra:
“As part of my investigation, I have been reviewing documents stored on computers in [Pat’s] office and home, as well as other documentation. During this review I found documents suggesting that [Pat] had worked for the ANZ Bank.
As part of my investigation, I request that you provide me with all information you hold on [Pat], specifically any details that you have or know about [Pat’s] enrolment at the University of London or City International College of Business Management (Sydney) during the 1980’s. I have formed the view that [Pat] would not have the ability to gain any qualifications and that his qualifications are fraudulent. [Pat] has demonstrated that he is a compulsive liar and is quite prepared to intentionally lie to promote himself.”
Quite apart from the fact that this letter confirms Ms. Veronique Ingram’s suggestion that the Inquisitor had somehow illegally accessed Pat’s home and office, where did the qualifications for the City International College of Business Management (Sydney) studies from the 1980s suddenly appear from? Whatever is the actual situation surrounding Pat’s alleged enrolment at the City International College of Business Management one thing is certain, quoting the words of Andrew McCrossin, Partner, Taxation at Ernst & Young’s Canberra Office, who was expressing his intention to employ Pat at EY:
“I understand from Mr Doy that you are concerned that the salary being offered is lower than the $90,000 per annum originally discussed.
While I appreciate that you have practical experience in tax and GST and that you were the principal project officer for the GST implementation project at the ACT Department of Urban Services, you do not hold formal qualifications in law and accounting. While it is not necessary, we would expect someone at the Manager level to hold either one or both law and accounting degrees.
Not withstanding that you do hold a Bachelor of Arts Degree and a Diploma of Education, our salary reflects your lack of formal qualifications in law and accounting.”
Pat did not provide any qualifications from the City International College of Business Management to either Ernst and Young or the ACT Department of Treasury in any application he put forward for employment to either of these employers.
The earliest sign that any qualifications dating back to the 1980s in a discipline other than arts or education make is noted in the letters dated July 2003, such as the letter to the ANZ Regional Manager and that to Ms. Veronique Ingram, then Chief Adviser International in Commonwealth Treasury where she states:
“… He requested any information I had pertaining to your background, specifically City International College of Business Management and the University of London.”
A further curiosity comes on 18 December 2003, when the Inquisitor writes to Jillian Morphett, Recruitment Manager at Ernst & Young:
“The University of London has requested that I fax a copy of the Academic Transcript provided by [Pat] so that it can verify the authenticity of the document or whether the document is a forgery. For the purposes of this investigation, can you please provide me with a copy of the Academic Transcript for [Pat] held by your organization.”
Jill Morphett replied on the same day, forwarding the Inquisitor a copy of Pat’s supposed academic transcript. Yet, in 2000 Andrew McCrossin had detailed Pat’s only qualifications as being in arts and education and unrelated to the role for which he had been head hunted by Ernst and Young Recruitment Consultant Tanya Taylor. The Inquisitor is suggesting in his missive to Jill Morphett that at least one of the qualifications Pat had professed to hold was of some substance in taxation or accounting. If so, why had Andrew McCrossin not made mention of it in 2000 and why was Pat’s starting salary at Ernst and Young actually at the reduced rate of $78,000 and not the $90,000 he had discussed with both Mr Doy and Ms Taylor, as stated in the letter signed by Andrew McCrossin?
The final point of concern is made by Meredith Whitten, Director Corporate Services, ACT Department of Treasury on 13 October 2003, when in reply to a letter of complaint made by Pat regarding “unauthorized entry into your office … and allegations that Ms Fitzgerald provided [the Inquisitor] with access to your personnel file”, she states that:
In addition, as a security measure I have reviewed the contents of your personnel file held by Corporate Services and advise that it contains the following information and documents:
- Police records check form.
- Copy of your birth certificate.
- Confirmation of your appointment to the ACT Public service.
- Permission to teach part-time at the University of Canberra.
- Executive employment election form.
- A number of extensions to your short term executive contract.
No qualifications listed at all. No academic transcripts listed. No copies of degrees.
Just two months later, Pat was sacked from the ACT Department of Treasury, without warning, without hearing and without recourse. He had been moved sideways to a “special project”, just three months earlier, a project which he would not be allowed to complete. Pat’s protestations at the manipulation of evidence and his personnel file fell upon deaf ears at both the ACT Department of Treasury and the Public Service Commission. He was denied review by the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (“HREOC”) and branded a liar, a typical Aboriginal liar.
Now tell me, Julia Gillard and Katy Gallagher, on the base of the evidence laid out in this post, who was the liar and who were the racist thugs?
Julia Gillard, you display such gall in claiming the educational advances and advantages that this nation provides to indigenous people both locally and internationally. The educational efforts of Pat, meant nothing and in fact, were manipulated to paint him as the devil the Department of ACT Treasury needed to protect one sexist, racist and manipulative employee riding the waning tide of a past glory.
As for ACT Labor, they do not deserve to retain government in the upcoming elections. They have swept the maltreatment of their own indigenous former Commissioner for Revenue under the carpet, allowing the denigration of his education and manipulation of his file, bringing the destruction of his livelihood, to go uninvestigated. The perpetrator of this crime remains an employee in the ACT public service, despite his racist attack on Pat and his family. The suggested break-and-enter mentioned by Ms. Veronique Ingram and theft from Pat’s home and office, not to mention his breach of public service code of conduct in both assaulting Pat and his lunch companions and conducting an investigation into his manager without due authority are all serious allegations that should have been dealt with long ago.
The ALP is supposed to be about workers’ rights and protections. It is supposed to fight for a better standard of life for the ordinary person. Well, if the way the ALP at Territory and Federal levels is any indication of the ALP’s values, then I can only say they have gone off the rails entirely and both the ACT and Federal Governments have no-one but themselves to blame if they lose both the elections in the ACT and the UN. Education is not the greater equalizer in Australia. Pat is the evidence of that.