Something amazing is happening in Australia and I don’t mean the booming economy, although that’s great news. I mean that the Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and the Australian Employment Minister have appointed a committee to address workplace bullying.
Ms Gillard, joined by the parents of Brodie Panlock who tragically committed suicide due to bullying at work in 2006, explained that the committee would consider the personal experiences of victims and their families. The exercise could result in Brodie’s Law (currently Victoria jurisdiction) being taken up nationally.
The report is due by the end of November.
What is immediately apparent is that the personal cost of bullying to employees is as much a consideration as the financial cost to businesses. Workers are invited to share their stories with the House of Representatives committee. Families touched by tragedy, such as the Panlocks, are being approached and listened to.
Contrast this with the UK. Over a month ago, I sent my book, Bullied by the Boss, part memoir/part survival guide, to Vince Cable’s department. My attempt to shed light on a disgusting record of workplace bullying, is an eye opener. Sure, I didn’t expect much by way of response, but I expected an acknowledgement at least. You know what I mean, one of those standard letters with a photocopied signature or a one-line email explaining Mr Cable can’t respond to everyone who writes in, but thanks me for taking the time.
There’s been nothing.
I can’t remember who first said that no comment is a comment itself, but in light of the Australian commitment to listening to bullied employees, Vince Cable’s lack of basic acknowledgement speaks volumes.