“Never get between a lioness and her cubs…” – Darrell and DFAT And What Happened Next.

by Lori Dwyer on March 14, 2013 · 4 comments

I know a lot of you have been following the story of Darrell and his struggle with his employer, DFAT. The following was written by Aaimi, Darrell’s mum.

I just… don’t even know what to say.

What a massive pack of cowards.


As a result of Darrell’s continuing battle against bullying within DFAT ranks, Darrell’s parents (Darrell Snr and Aaimi) started their own campaign to make the interested parties aware of the unacceptable level of leadership and management within DFAT and other public sector institutions. Their campaign flag ship is the Anti-Bullying and Discrimination League of Australia (ABDLA). Under this banner and with the aid of social media, they began to spread the message of their son’s plight and the inadequacies of a range of senior level Australian public servants. In order to further their crusade, Darrell Snr and Aaimi obtained, through a family member, some pointed but reserved merchandise (T-Shirts, pens, pencils etc.,) advertising the following message, ‘Stop Bullying in DFAT’. This material was sent to a number of politicians from both sides of the House to inform and to engender a reaction. In addition, a number of individuals were sent an e-mail as follows:

“As part of our anti-bullying campaign we have produced numerous promotional items to raise awareness of bullying and discrimination issues in Australia. Particularly, as we understand, conducted by yourself and others in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

We are freely distributing this material widely (internationally), noting you as a person who contributes to bullying and harassment in Australia and potentially the international community.


The Anti-Bullying and Discrimination League of Australia”

Meant to be provocative, Darrell Snr and Aaimi to date have not received a single reply or rebuttal to these e-mails.

In addition to the above actions, a partition to stop the bullying in DFAT was also started via social media, which has received support from people both here in Australia and from overseas.

Without any reasonable preliminary investigation, Mr Peter Varghese, Secretary DFAT, through Mr Chris Moriatis, First Assistant Secretary, Corporate Management Division, has suspended Darrell Jnr pending an investigation into possible breaches of the Australian Public Service Code of Conduct.

Darrell Snr upon hearing what had happened to his son attempted to contact Mr Varghese in order to clarify that his son had nothing to do with the Anti-Bullying and Discrimination League of Australia activities. Darrell Snr was told that there was no one available in Mr Varghese’s office/area, but someone would return his call. Darrell Snr is still waiting for that call. The office of Senator Bob Carr (Minister for DFAT) was also contacted, but Darrell Snr was told the matter was an internal DFAT issue that should be referred to Mr Varghese. (Somewhat difficult when he won’t accept your call!).

Darrell Snr and Aaimi will continue to promote the fight against bullying and discrimination in the workplace and demand leadership from executive level APS throughout Australia. Further attempts will be made to reverse the suspension of their son and to seek assurances that bullying is investigated and offenders and their supporters are held accountable.

Who is responsible for bullying in the workplace? There at least three groups responsible for bullying in the workplace; the actual individual who initiates or continues the bullying; those that are aware of the bullying and do nothing; and senior management or in the case of DFAT, the Secretary, Deputy Secretaries and Executive level officers. In the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – Enterprise Agreement 2011-1014, the following statement is made:

Harassment, bullying and discrimination are unacceptable in DFAT and contrary to the APS Values and Code of Conduct. The department is committed to providing a fair, flexible, safe and rewarding workplace, where all employees are responsible for promoting a work environment free from harassment, bullying or discrimination. Managers and supervisors have particular responsibilities for implementing the department’s Workplace Diversity Program as set out in the HRM, being alert to diversity issues in the workplace and taking timely action in response to reported or observed harassment, bullying or discrimination. The department does not tolerate behaviour which undermines morale and productivity and which, if not dealt with, can harm the wellbeing and performance of individuals and work units.

The fact that the Secretary and his senior executive team cannot honour this laudable sentiment indicates that they have failed in their responsibilities as the appointed leaders of the Department.


My challenge to Aussie journos still stands… does anyone have the balls for this?

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessie AKA Thrifty Mama March 15, 2013 at 5:13 pm

I can believe it. My husband suffered pointless demotion (ie: you have to move jobs because we just noticed the job you have been doing for 5 years should be at a higher pay scale and you aren’t that pay scale so we are moving you) like this at the hands of middle level public servants in a Commonwealth department he had worked in for nearly 20 years. It was internally corrupt, there was rife bullying but no-one cared, the union was useless. We fought on and on and it got ugly. Then after the ugly he was made redundant and we used the money to start a new life and business so it all worked out in the end. Long story short. I can believe that this is happening and no-one cares. Government Departments are full of corruption.
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Sapphyre March 14, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Have you tried

The project (10)

Also 101.1 Mix FM (Melbourne) is having an antibullying week. It’s antibullying week, this is a great story!


Sapphyre March 14, 2013 at 5:10 pm

Also, The Global Mail. I can’t believe no one will take up the story.


Name March 14, 2013 at 12:21 pm



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