Emeritus Professor Dennis Pearce, a Special Counsel with HWL Ebsworth Lawyers, has been appointed the Independent Investigator to investigate submissions by current and former CSIRO staff members and affiliates about workplace bullying and other unreasonable behaviour.
Professor Pearce will be assisted by a team from HWL Ebsworth Lawyers led by partner, Ms Melanie McKean.
Professor Pearce and Ms McKean have extensive experience conducting reviews of allegations of misconduct in the public sector. Professor Pearce is a former Commonwealth Ombudsman. Both Professor Pearce and Ms McKean were co-leaders, with Dr Gary Rumble, of the Review of Allegations of Sexual and Other Abuse in Defence which reported to the Minister for Defence in 2011 and 2012.
The Terms of Reference for the investigator have been drafted by HWL Ebsworth in consultation with CSIRO.
Professor Pearce said that the Terms of Reference empower him to conduct an investigation independently of CSIRO.
“People can approach me confident that their circumstances will be fully and fairly examined. I am satisfied that I will be given access to all documents and information relevant to my investigation to facilitate arriving at the appropriate recommendations” Professor Pearce said.
Professor Pearce said that, in addition to providing a forum for individuals who claim to be affected by workplace bullying or other unreasonable behaviour, he expects that the general findings that the investigation is required to make under the Terms of Reference will be of value to CSIRO management of these issues in the future.
"I urge all former and present CSIRO staff members and affiliates who consider that they have been affected by, or who have witnessed, workplace bullying or other unreasonable behaviour to contact me through the investigation team" he said.
Professor Pearce will keep any submission confidential if he is asked to do so by the person making the submission.
The Submission Form (including Consent Form), privacy notices, a Frequently Asked Questions document, the Terms of Reference and contact details for the investigation can be obtained from the investigation website: www.hwlebsworth.com.au/csiro-investigation.html