Excerpt From The Federal Senate Committee re Psychiatry

The Federal Senate Committee
Report "In the Public Interest" 1994

Page 181

"9.69 A matter of concern to the Committee is the alleged use of psychiatry by employers and organisations to intimidate and punish whistleblowers. Requiring a person to unnecessarily undergo psychiatric examination and assessment is likely to have substantial deleterious effects upon that individuals wellbeing. The alleged practice of referring whistleblowers, simply because they are whistleblowers, for such assessment is deplored by the Committee.

9.70 Dr Jean Lennane, National President of Whistleblowers Australia, and herself a practicing psychiatrist who has published on this subject, was one who drew the Committee's attention to the abuse of psychiatry. Dr Lennane recommended that the practice of employers forcing whistleblowers to consult with a psychiatrist for the purpose of harassing and discrediting them should be addressed by whistleblower protection legislation. Such legislation should define the type of employment practices from which whistleblowers should be protected. Dr Lennane's suggestion is that the abuse of psychiatry to discredit whistleblowers should be a "prohibited personnel practice".

9.71 Dr Lennane provided the Committee with a copy of Referrals at the Instigation or Insistence of the Patient's Employer: guidelines for Psychiatrists (the Guidelines). The Guidelines were issued under the auspices of the New South Wales Branch of the Australian Medical Association (the 'AMA'). The Guidelines have been composed to assist practitioner in distinguishing between referrals which are for the purpose of genuinely benefiting an employee, and referrals at the behest of the employer calculated to intimidate an employee for the employers interest. Clearly professional ethics should preclude psychiatrists - and other medical practitioners from participating in the latter type of situation. The Committee considers that the formulation of such Guidelines should be a matter for the relevant professional bodies. The Committee agrees with the direction and intent of such guidelines, whilst it makes no judgement as to their soundness.