By Jo Hewitt, 3 Mar 2006
Val Kerrison – Her Story
From the Industrial Relations Commission case and documents, affidavits, accounts.
Val Kerrison taught business studies and computers at Kempsey TAFE for 10 years. Kempsey has a high percentage Aboriginal population and some racism problems.
Val went to Principal Elizabeth McGregor and explained that a senior teacher Rhonda Hayes had refused some Aboriginal newly-enrolled students entry into their legitimate class, and was trying to have letters sent to other Aboriginal students to sacked them out of their TAFE course. Val said she was shocked when Ms McGregor said that Kempsey TAFE did that “all the time” to the Aboriginal students.
A competent manager could have quickly and cheaply addressed the issues. Instead there has been the following expensive [criminal?] process.
When the Managing Director (M-D), Dr Ramsey got a copy of Val’s complaint he appointed ‘investigators’ but it was a sham as they did not contact key witnesses. Instead they investigated Val. Of course they did not find any fault in her, or her work, but that did not save her.
1994 TAFE M-D Dr Ramsey was informed that Ms Hayes had awarded herself professional qualifications (under Crimes Act alleged false entry to public registers and a sacking offence). Dr Ramsey signed many such qualifications. TAFE manager Elizabeth McGregor ordered Val to go to Port Macqurie motel. When she got there a TAFE manager she had never met, Maureen O'Sullivan, took her to a private room. When they had her there alone these 2 TAFE managers, O'Sullivan and McGregor threatened her with danger in relation to her making any further complaints/grievances. They said this came from the Managing -Director . Then, each time Val tried to get her complaint properly addressed, and Aboriginal students protected, instead of doing so McGregor repeated the threat to Val.
Val became frightened from the repeated threats to her and could not believe that TAFE M-D would tell his managers to threaten her for telling the truth. In a cry for help, Val wrote directly to Dr Ramsey. Val had no idea that, for decades (and still do so) , many Australian government departments preferred cover-up by getting rid of internal dissent than acknowledging the problem and fixing problems. Few knew at that time that Department heads could freely rutinely persecute/ruin their internal truth-sayers, and that the parliamentarians stood with the Ministers responsible and allowed it.
When Dr Ramsey got Val’s letter, without Val’s knowledge Dr Ramsey wrote to Dr Willmott the TAFE North Coast Institute Director. Dr Ramsay admitted to Dr Willmott that allegations Val had made were true, but amazingly urged Dr Willmott to ‘HealthQuest’ Val. Willmott called on manager Kerrie Walshaw to do it.
‘HealthQuesting’ is a process as explained by the AMA 1993: AMA described how some employers' respond to an employee’s "whistleblowing" by forcing the employee to submit to one or more psychiatrists as a common means of discrediting or getting rid of the employee, and that this is “in a manner reminiscent of the Soviet use of psychiatry in dealing with political dissidents”.
TAFE needed some sort of ‘reason’ to send Val to HealthQuest psychiatrists. So secretly they commenced writing all sorts of wild claims against her regarding guns, homicide, suicide, and more. They secretly filed them against Val, and secretly circulated them without her knowledge to places such as HealthQuest. HealthQuest took and kept the damaging allegations
TAFE allowed Val no way to protect herself.
The decisions to fabricate damaging allegations and send her to HealthQuest was without any procedural fairness or natural justice, and obviously is all null and void because of lack of due process. HealthQuest themselves knew they did not disclose anything their client TAFE had said or written about Val. Both at law, and in accordance with our common rights this and all actions based on these decisions are also null and void.
This is public knowledge.
It does not take a lawyer to recognize TAFE acted against Val’s basic right to procedural fairness.
It does not take a court to declare these decisions/actions null and void due to lack of procedural fairness – we, the public have this knowledge and right.
TAFE secretly made decisions to tell HealthQuest that Val was not working, when they knew perfectly well that she was in the classrooms teaching, and they were paying her to do so.
At the same time, TAFE secretly also made decisions to tell HealthQuest that she was a potential murderer and suicidalist, when she was not.
When it was ready TAFE ordered Val to go the HealthQuest, over-rode her protests and “mis-stated” or deliberately deceived her what it was for.
As per the approx $800 fee for its services, on 16 June 1995 HealthQuest wrote a document titled “Retirement Certificate” against Val. HealthQuest and TAFE know that HealthQuest have no power to retire or change in any way the employment status of TAFE staff, but HQ ‘certified that falsity in June 1995. This is a fraudulent and fake certificate, and should be treated as criminally as a fake Birth Certificate.
Val was teaching at the time, and continued to do so. About a week later, when Val got home from work, in her letter box was a letter from HealthQuest. She was shocked to read that Healthquest had written a retirement certificate against – and sent it to TAFE
She rang TAFE and McGregor said “you don’t come in any more”. Ms Walshaw/Dr Willmott stopped her pay, and tried to sever their employer superannuation obligations..
In July 1995 Val wrote to the Premier Mr Carr, the Ombudsman’s Office, the NSW Teachers Federation. All failed to act. Later she wrote to Mr Howard and around 30-odd more public departments and officials from the Governor-General and Governor down, all of whom take and keep public monies, and all with their own in-house lawyers and Crown Solicitor support. All have failed to act.
In September 1995 members of the public rang TAFE protesting. After a couple of phone calls Ms Walshaw told them to tell Val to go to TAFE and pick up a cheque for her wages to date. TAFE put Val back on pay, but did not allow her back to her teaching job.
When TAFE restored Val to its payroll Val realized that the HealthQuest retirement certificate was fake/fraud. A certificate, by definition, is a dated writing on paper certifying to the truth or status of something as at that date.
Val lodged FOI requests to TAFE and HealthQuest, therefore these department lawyers were now officially handling all the documents. All these lawyers have knowledge that Val is entitled to procedural fairness, as well as knowledge of the seriousness of fake certificates, and persecution of witnesses or potential witnesses of crime. They did not report or act on these legal responsibilities.
Department lawyers are public servants receiving public money to perform duties and legal advice to department officers including upholding the laws of the land.
In January 1996 TAFE officer Gail Robison wrote some more allegations against Val and said the they had ‘considered’ installing duress alarms. Val had not seen or spoken to Gail for more that 6 months. Gail faxed these documents to TAFE legal office.
The HealthQuest process had a twin to deal with any appeals. That was the Department of Health’s Medical Appeal Panel (MAP). No one was allowed to appear before MAP – in fact MAP was merely a Dr Harley who called himself a panel, and rubberstamped HealthQuest’s actions.
TAFE told Val she could only return to her work if MAP allowed her. Val had obtained a few of the secret documents from TAFE and HealthQuest and had protested her innocence, to no avail. Val was also told that MAP had never ever overturned HealthQuest process.
TAFE were secretly in contact with MAP and knew that Val refused to go to MAP’s psychiatrists. So in April 1996 TAFE suddenly, secretly reduced her legal salary to $0.00 and put through journal entries subtracting all of Val’s accumulated long service leave and sick pay entitlements. Overnight Val was without salary or entitlements to live on.
In December 1996 TAFE tried again to convince State Super that Val was ‘medically retired’. When State Super contacted Val and asked for more information, Val denied TAFE’s claim and stated: I have not retired or resigned, and no-one has even commenced a dismissal action against me.
Early 1997 TAFE produced to the Anti-Discrimination board more secret letters by their officer Mike Quinn. These letters bore the ‘date’ April 1995 but apparently did not exist at the FOI times including 1995 and 1996. These letters held worse accusations about “gun to solve. [her] problems” and “threats” to TAFE officers’ personal safety and deeply implicated Val by storing them in her file. TAFE knew that the ADB would send the letters to Val.
These letters differed to the letters Quinn wrote in 1995 (and disclosed to Val later under FOI) because he omitted Val’s name. He, instead, used much description to identify Val, yet not name her. Perhaps because he feared defamation. .
In July 1997 TAFE admitted to State Super that “there was no decision .
By late 1997, not only had the Anti-Discrimination board assisted Val lodge complaints against TAFE for discrimination and victimizing her for standing up for Aboriginal students; but a politician commenced asking questions of the NSW Attorney General Jeff Shaw in parliament. Attorney general and barrister Mr Shaw, and TAFE lawyer Peter Cribb probably knew and understood the implications fake/fraud certificates, intimidating potential witness to criminal action, aiding and abetting, accessory after the fact etc. And probably knew decisions made without procedural fairness were null and void anyway.
Around this time, late 1997, TAFE, probably following Peter Cribb’s legal advice, prepared a Voluntary Redundancy package for Val Kerrison. Obviously only TAFE employees are entitled to TAFE redundancy payments.
In 1998 State Super was still billing TAFE to pay Val’s superannuation. So TAFE tried to convince State Super that Val was ‘medically retired’ in late 1996. When this failed, TAFE wrote documents saying they were ‘retrospectively’ altering Val‚s employment status in April 1996 to Leave Without Pay, and ‘medically retired’ from Sept 1996. This failed when State Super wrote to Val, and Val replied that she had never applied for, or accepted any sort of retirement; and TAFE had never even commenced a dismissal process against her. State super evidently recognized her rights in that respect, but accommodated TAFE by applying “WITHDRAWN” to her superannuation file. When Val wrote and asked State Super for an explanation, evidently they could not think of one, but refused to go against TAFE and support her claim.
Val had been driven out of her home by all this, and with no other option, continued supplying evidence to the 30-odd responsible ministers and departments. None acted to address the issues so are deemed complicit. Val made complaints of criminal acts and fraud and repeatedly gave documents/evidence to the police and the Department of Public Prosecutions. Apparently, years ago the police just buried it in NSW corruption centre ICAC.
In 2000 barrister Mr Harry Bauer prevailed on NSW Federation and its lawyers and drafted a claim for Val under the Industrial Relations Act. He claimed that as Val, a legally appointed full-time permanent teacher had never been sacked or otherwise had her employment terminated; that she was still a TAFE teacher and entitled to all her back pay and entitlements. That HealthQuest held no power over her employment. Soon after that claim was filed in the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC), the union lawyers dropped Val’s case, and Mr Bauer was “not availablev”
Late 2000 The Crown Solicitor’s officer Raoul Salpeter wrote and signed an affidavit saying that the “retirement certificate” was a “recommendation”. It is understood that the IRC has not charged Mr Salpeter with either lying, or attempting to pervert the course of justice. People generally understand the difference between a certified fact, and a mere recommendation (which, of course, might not ever eventuate). Since at least that date the Crown Solicitors and their Team 7 have received an undisclosed amount of public money, and continues to today and beyond, to oppose Val.
With the help of the public and her family, Val carried on with the case. The claim was re-submitted with strong submissions added stating that all the machinations, claims and decisions by TAFE against Val were without procedural fairness were naturally null and void.
2001 TAFE commenced collecting affidavits from Quinn, Robison, McGregor, Willmott, Ramsey etc. They faxed them into Val’s bed-sitter at any time day or night. She was alone, had been frightened since the threats commenced 1994, and TAFE knew she had collapsed after uncovering some of TAFE and HealthQuest secret documents. TAFE even got a Sharon Scuglia to write an affidavit of allegations against Val.
Val had never met this person
Through the various court days Sharon and the rest of TAFE’s North Coast Institute ‘witnesses’ came and stayed in Sydney.
At public expense.
When TAFE admitted to Justice Schmidt in the IRC that they had compiled the Voluntary Redundancy, that admission was omitted from the transcripts. However the public watching had taken down notes of this.
In 2003 Justice Schmidt found in favour of Val’s claim that she was still a TAFE employee and entitled to her rights to job, income etc. TAFE and Val commenced working out the money owed to her and the sick leave and extended leave which all had to be given back to her. When TAFE did not immediately commence paying Val she had no official income because, as a TAFE employee she could only earn income outside TAFE with TAFE’s permission. TAFE refused.
In May 2003 after Val had been without income for weeks, Crown Solicitor/TAFE offered to settle provided that she tender her resignation effective from 22 May 2003, dropped the discrimination and victimisation complaints against TAFE, and the aiding and abetting discrimination claims against HealthQuest and MAP. She refused
After about 10 weeks Val sought assistance from IRC, and Schmidt J. said that as apparently TAFE agreed that they owed her a good deal of money, perhaps they could address this.
TAFE’s lawyer Peter Cribb arranged that TAFE commence paying her, but failed to provide her with any paperwork such as the record of PAYG they were subtracting. In July TAFE gave Val her group certificate or employee summary showing the PAYG tax etc that TAFE had subtracted.
About 9 months after the decision was handed down TAFE lodged an appeal. They denied that Val was their employee and stated the aim to “claw back“ the money they paid Val.
From 2003 Val and Don received emails and phone calls saying that TAFE officers communicated together proposing the cheaper option of "a bullet" against Val.
IRC appointed Justices Walton, Staunton, and Staff to hear the appeal. Val’s legal representatives claimed Val had never been terminated, and that under procedural fairness rights decisions were null and void anyway.
In March 2004 Val filed TAFE’s 2003 group certificate PAYG summary and asked the Commission to instruct TAFE to provide the obligatory fortnightly pay summary. The IRC agreed and so ordered TAFE. They did so, went before the IRC,
In September 2004 Justices Walton, Staunton, and Staff somehow deemed themselves authorised to “disallow” Val’s contentions of lack of procedural fairness. The public who came to court to try to help Val, expressed shock, said that was unjust and commented that the judges do not have that power.
In December 2004 Justices Walton, Staunton, and Staff pronounced that there was a valid forced ‘medical retirement’ against Val. Justices Walton, Staunton, and Staff should know that according to AntiDiscrimination law a forced retirement is not allowed, and they the IRC must observe discrimination law. Forced retirement on age or other discrimination grounds e.g. 'medical, marriage, etc is illegal.
They failed to explain what day this occurred that would fit the evidence they held, (other than the day they pronounced it).
They failed to explain how, under Industrial law and procedures Val’s employment status can be changed wuthout her knowledge and backdated to 1995, or 1996, or 1998, or any other year? The IRC and legal personnel would have known, or should have known that without any valid termination document from TAFE, Val could not seek another government job or even unemployment assistance. Val has existed on part-time casual jobs, and money from her family for almost a decade.
Seemingly, TAFE and the IRC judges have made a mockery of the TAFE Enterprise Agreement Dr Ramsey and IRC signed.
TAFE, Crown solicitors and the IRC have, with a purported forced retirement, negated the AntiDiscrimination Act. All are responsible for upholding this, and other legislation including the Crimes Act.
By failing to do so they have brought the court into disrepute.
Due to concern over the perceived 10 years of injustice, members of the public have, for years, petitioned the authorities but so far, to no avail.
The Aboriginal students probably still have no TAFE education.
In the public interest during 2005 July to October, the group WhistleBlowers’ Documents Exposed (WBDE) have been trying to assist Val, and the public. Their web URL is: http://www.wbde.org/ The documents referred to below are publicly posted on the site.
WBDE Procedural Fairness Panels put together a bundle of approximately 30 documents of decisions against Val, and compiled a questionnaire and sent it to all the 20+ key players including TAFE, HealthQuest, Politicians, crown solicitors and TAFE lawyers:
Ms Elaine Brus, Mr Bob Carr, Mr Peter Cribb, Dr Helia Gapper, Dr Jim Holmes, Dr Helen Jagger, Mr Chris Lockwood, Mr Menzies, Dr Eva Mandel, Ms Elizabeth McGregor, Mr Mike Quinn, Dr Gregor Ramsey, Ms Gail Robison, Mr Raoul Salpeter, Hon Jeff Shaw’ Ms Kerrie Walshaw’ Dr Gary Willmott’ Mr Robin Shreeve’ Dr Andrew Refshaughe, Hon Morris Iemma;
WBDE Panel asked if they had ever accorded Val procedural fairness in relation to the documents attached, and if so please supply it.
None claimed to have accorded Val any procedural fairness in relation to those many decisions, all of which flowed from the Dr Ramsey/Dr Willmott decision January 1995 to HealthQuest her.
Seemingly, none of these people had any evidence whatsoever, and should have, themselves, acted on this. They did not.
Therefore as there was no evidence of any procedural fairness WBDE Panels themselves convened and judged the offending decisions and actions null and void. The offensive documents were duly stamped “Null and Void...” and posted on the WBDE website.
The responsible ministers and departments still ignored their responsibilities to the public and to whistleblower Val Kerrison. So, in December WBDE Panel members convened and wrote detailed individual summations of each document in the bundle, and sent it to WBDE. WBDE Human Rights and Ethics Panels then compiled a formal application under the public’s right to ex debito justitiae (as a debt of justice; as a legal obligation).
In January 2006 WBDE sent all of this material to :
Justice Lance Wright - President Industrial Relations Commission
Justice Michael Walton - Vice-President NSW Industrial Relations Commission
Justice Staunton (IRC)
Justice Staff (IRC)
Knight I.V. Crown Solicitors’ Office
WBDE specifically alerted them that simply ignoring the problem was not acceptable; and wrote:
“In addition, by 22 January 2006, if Mrs Kerrison has not been contacted by the addressees and a different arrangement agreed to by the parties, it is taken that the addressee/s of this document, together with Mrs Kerrison and WBDE (if applicable) agree unreservedly and binding that all the documents identified as being null and void at http://www.wbde.org/documents/2005_Jul_18_WBDE_Procedural_Fairness_Panel_Documents.php are null and void; that all copies must be so stamped; and that the judgement of December 2004 is formally set aside as void by the IRC and TAFE’s application to Appeal is denied.
As at March 2006 WBDE have not received any reply or disagreement from any of the parties.
In this public interest application for justice, WBDE also pointed out that the AntiDiscrimination Act 1977 prohibits forced detriment on the grounds of age, gender, real or presumed disability; and that this applies to a forced medical retirement. It is again noted that Mrs Kerrison has, at all times performed all of her TAFE duties.
Some time ago the IRC scheduled a costs hearing for 24 March 2006 to determine the costs against Mrs Kerrison. She is at present undergoing treatment for recently diagnosed breast cancer.
Val’s husband Don sent to the IRC a doctor’s letter asking that Val do no legal matters for at least 4 more months. At present it appears that the judges and law professions are still ignoring the call for justice
The AntiDiscrimination Board has responsibilities to advise government on discrimination. Despite being informed of this case, we understand that it has ignored the discrimination inherent in the IRC applied/condoned forced “medical” retirement. However all forced detriments on the grounds contained in the A-D Act are prohibited. Therefore it is noted with concern that both the AntiDiscrimination Board and the IRC operate under the Attorney-General’s Department, and the various A-Gs have been involved in Mrs Kerrison’s case since 1997.
[See the original article and all comments at: http://sydney.indymedia.org.au/node/35858]
This is surely a criminal issue, criminal law, not civil law.
In Queensland Aborigines are treated very badly in Education too and nothing is done about it. Any white person who dares speak out loses his/her job, and all respect, because the logical thinking is that so many people in the public service (including teachers) do little work and do it so badly and openly that if a public servant is not working he/she must have been very inefficient indeed.
Any effort to achieve justice in this type of case is met by a need for finance, and if you have been earning nothing then you have no money. Government pockets are very deep when protecting the corrupt.
The general public believes in democratic rights, many believe in Unionism, believe in the shelter offered by a family. When the chips are down, many of these havens vanish. Democracy does not really exist. The Union offers no support that I have ever seen. Perhaps a showcase now and then for someone in some position of power.
I may add more later
Elizabeth Sharp, 4 Mar 2006
I am a close friend of Val and Don Kerrison and I know the impact this debacle has had on Val personnaly, her family life, her social life and her relationships. It makes one wonder just who can be trusted in this seemingly corrupt justice system and also wonder if anyone's job is really that secure after all. I support Val in her quest for justice and I am proud of her determination to try and have this matter resolved through the right channels. Most people would have given up by now and thrown in the towel. Keep on striving for justice Val, we are all behind you one hundred percent!
Margaret Potter, 4 Mar 2006
Where are the shows like Sixty Minutes, and Four Corners? This is something that they should be taking on board, investigating, and exposing. This is blatant bastardisation at its very best by the New South Wales Education Department, and Healthquest.
Too many times do we hear of bullying by people that are Whistleblowers, who spoke up about injustices. Vale Kerrison spoke up about Racism, and found herself the Victim. Not even the Aboriginals would stand up for her.
The Education department though is not the only ones that Bullying tactics for Whistleblowers: DOCS and the New South Wales Police do as well.
If I may draw your attention to the following URL: http://www.aph.gov.au/hansard/reps/commttee/R6214.pdf . This is a transcript of what a Sgt Larry Cook had to say about his treatment when he blew the whistle on corrupt activities at the Academy. This has to be read to be believed. All I can say is so much for taking the oath of exposing corrupt conduct by fellow police officers. it seems if you do, they will get you.
Anonymous, 5 Mar 2006