Tag Archives: ArtsACT

PhotoAccess a discriminatory Association

bgexDiscrimination lies and deceit, and inequitable governance, welcome to PhotoAccess. In one breath Dr Tony Stewart, Chair of PhotoAccess’s board, states” As a core objective, we provide access to everyone, including the young, the aged, Indigenous groups and disadvantaged groups and individuals.” Yet at the same time, the board has declined my application for membership. Lies and deceit from the Chair of the board (at the time) of PhotoAccess, Dr Tony Stewart.

The Associations rules state Board members will work for the good of PhotoAccess, act honestly and with integrity and encourage high ethical and governance standards. Yet here we have Dr Denise Ferris an Australian National University academic, instructed David Chalker to deny members the opportunity to celebrate NAIDOC Week in a board-sanctioned forum. When questioned why, the excuse given, that we don’t have the resources, proclaimed by Ed Whalen and supported by Dr Denise Ferris, and David Chalker in a Board meeting. Yet Government funds are specifically allocated to the association for this very purpose. Is this acting honestly with integrity? Is this in good faith, disadvantaging Aboriginal culture by denying NAIDOC Week celebrations by members? Is this acting in the interest of the organisation that management oversees? It’s a clear breach of the rule of the association, that management will respect decisions taken by the Board. Dr Bob Burns you witnessed this behaviour as a board member, and yet you do nothing to stop it, why are you aiding this unethical and potential corrupt Governance at PhotoAccess when rules state, ‘encourage high ethical and governance standards’? The fact that you Dr Bob Burns and Dr Tim Brook, another Australian National University academic are supporting Dr Denise Ferris who is working against the rules and business plans of the association, shows you are negligent in your duties as board members. What does this say about Australian National University academics?      

After being denied access to celebrate NADOC Week, I did e-mail all board members asking why Members could not celebrate NAIDOC Week, and I only got one reply, out of all the board members, and that board member had a conflict of interest, as she was a paid employer at the time, although not on the board now, but is still a paid employer of the association. I can only assume that is why she was planted on the board in the first place, to build numbers on the board, who are prepared to support and give cover on the board, for the unethical and potentially corrupt members of board, and management team. This person in her reply to my question of why members were not allowed to celebrate NADOC Week, said that, “PhotoAccess did host an exhibition by two Aboriginal artists and a limited numbers of events were sanctioned by the Board providing personnel were available without unduly stretching the resources of the organisation and provided an interest existed within the membership for these events to occur. Obviously responsibility for organisational and administrative matters as we as the practicalities of running an evening must be shared by those wishing to stage such events. This includes a reasonable lead up time for notification of members.” These reasons are totally against the objectives of the association that are, to serve the ACT Community by providing inspiration and the means for people to develop and create their own cultural statements through the photo based arts as a medium for community and individual expression. The only resources needed, was access to one room, just the key, as I was a member of the Board at the time. So David Chalker’s refusal to allow the association’s members to celebrate NADOC Week, in a Board sanctioned forum, is disadvantaging Aboriginal Culture, working against the objectives and rules of the association and it’s own business plan. Discriminating Indigenous Culture at PhotoAccess that continues to this day.

On addressing this issues of Share Images NAIDOC Week celebrations 2006 being denied access, Julia Mulligan and Dr Tony Stewart (fellow Board members at the time) were instructed to counsel me, Tony telling me to shut up, keep quite, and Julia trying to humiliate me about my position of abstaining from the vote to change the PhotoAccess constitution. This I feel in light of seeing the associations business plan after the fact, is actually bullied me rather than counselling me. As at no time, did either person raise the association’s business plan or objective of the association, that support my actions of attempting to convene Share Images NAIDOC Week celebrations. Their inabilities to govern in accordance with the business plan and object of the Association is aiding discrimination, and potential unlawful and corrupt governance. It also shows the Arts community in the ACT as ugly and discriminating, and as Julia Mulligan is chair of Belconnen Arts Centre, it reflects why the Cultural Inclusion officers are being told that this discrimination is not part of the Officers’ duties or responsibilities to pursue, discrimination at PhotoAccess, not being part of the Cultural Inclusion officers responsibilities. This is corrupt influence of Julia Mulligan, as Chair of Belconnen Arts Centre.     

So now why would management work against the object of the Association? As a member of the gallery committee that met once in the two years when I was on it, I realise the conflict of interest Dr Denise Ferris has, and the reason it did not meet for those eighteen months, as she was allocating eight hundred and fifty dollars for ANU Student’s exhibitions, while non students members of the association were paying hundreds of dollars to exhibit at the association’s Hue Davies Gallery. This is clearly giving students an unfair financial advantage over members of the association, when the gallery committee was not given the opportunity to meet and vet this distribution of the Associations funds is potential corrupt governance at PhotoAccess. This situation left association bleeding money to the tune of approximately one thousand dollars per month to Consultants & Contractors in 2004, 2005 that I suspect is money from this policy, and if it continues to this day, it could be as high as $140,00 thousand dollars distributed inappropriately and potential corrupt going by the numbers in 2004 and 2005. All this money yet Indigenous participants are denied access to the association premises to celebrate NAIDOC week in a Board sanctioned forum because they don’t have the resources proclaimed by Ed Whalen and supported by Dr Denise Ferris and David Chalker in a Board meeting.

One artist showing at the Hue Davies Gallery, the Association’s Gallery, was charged three hundred dollars for photocopying, that I can only assume was for his catalogue at the exhibition. While student from the ANU School of Art are being allocated eight hundred and fifty dollars from the associations budget to cater for their exhibition requirements. This is clearly inequitable distribution of the association’s financial resources. This person who was charged three hundred dollars for photocopying, that he refused to pay, wisely, on top of other charges that included gallery rent and catering at the opening, that were paid for, was singled out for this inequitable treatment that ostracised him from the association. So I can only presume that Dr Denise Ferris’s influence on David Chalker was the reasons the gallery committee did not meet to facilitate unethical and potentially corrupt management that was assisting her students. So here is the Chair of the Board (Dr Denise Ferris at the time) who has a clear conflict of interest being a lecturer at ANU School of Art denying the gallery committee the opportunity to do its duty, by bulling the director. Rules state, participate openly and transparently in decision-making, and the gallery committee were not given that opportunity. This behaviour is well organised, and shows what happens, when people of unethical character are in charge of distributing government funding, as I should know as I am being discriminated by the association, by being expelled and having my application for membership denied yearly.

Now why would you have a director who has not got a photographic background directing PhotoAccesss? So the Association can inappropriately distribute Arts funds and discriminate members by working against it’s own business plan and object.

So lets look at the board papers that record this decision making regarding Visual Arts and craft funding. The director states it would be appropriate for artists in residence program committee to decide which two artists receive $1800 assistance each year.

Yet the committee did not meet, to make this decision. The next paragraph states in bold text.

I recommend that the board authorise the committee to decide the two artists to receive assistance, and that one artist each year should be an EASS artist in residence selected from the Photomedia Workshop at ANU School of Art.

As said, the committee did not meet to make this decision, yet the director states it would be appropriate for the committee to decide, yet the next paragraph he recommends half should go to artist in residence selected from the Photomedia Workshop at ANU School of Art. This contradict previous statement that it would be appropriate for artists in residence Program committee to decide. So has Dr Denise Ferris supplied this paragraph to account for this inappropriate, and potentially corrupt distribution of arts funding? Is this manipulation of Board papers, to account for the Artists in Residence Program Committee not making this decision?

It is coming on ten years that I was expelled from the association for exposing Chair of the board at the time Dr Denise Ferris, instructing the director, to govern against the business plan, rules and object of the Association. During this meeting to expel me I asked the director David Chalker to be honest and truthful, as states in the rules of the association. I then asked. ‘Did Denise (Ferris, Chair of Photo Access Board) tell you to stop Joe Lafferty?’ In the context of Shared Image being denied access to convene NAIDOC week celebrations 2006. He could not answer the question, and stayed silent, as I showed the palms of my hands to the entire group of Board members assembled at that meeting. David’s inability to answer that question, confirmed to me that Dr Denise Ferris, Chair of the Board, had instructed the director to stop the evening going ahead, in doing so, she is working against the business plan, rules and object of the Association, therefore interests of the Association. This is discrimination of Indigenous culture. This is PhotoAccess.

In seeking justice, Mr A, Anforth, Senior Member of ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal is happy to perpetuate discrimination, by ruling PhotoAccess a voluntary body, therefore making them exempt from the legislation, when he was clearly shown $3,500 dollars annually, and Mr W. G Stefaniak AM- Appeal President was shown $12,012 and $11,355 dollars respectively in 2004, 2005 along with the $3,500 provides finance annually to it’s members, yet up held the ruling that association is a voluntary body. Yet the legislation states Voluntary body does not include an association that provides finance to its members, of which PhotoAccess clearly does do.

This is the state of affairs here in Canberra, and is typical of why Canberra has a stigma of shonky town. These are the people that make Canberra, what it is.

Julia Mulligan chair of Belconnen arts centre has a conflict of interest here, where the Cultural Inclusion Officers based at Belconnen arts centre are instructed by their superiors not to investigate discrimination. They are specifically employed as cultural inclusion officers yet are denied the ability achieve their objectives of their employment. Potentially Corrupt Governance at Belconnen Arts Centre.

DISCRIMINATION ACT 1991 – SECT 20 Goods, services and facilities It is unlawful for a person (the provider ) who (whether for payment or not) provides goods or services, or makes facilities available, to discriminate against another person— (a) by refusing to provide those goods or services or make those facilities available to the other person; or (b) in the terms or conditions on which the provider provides those goods or services or makes those facilities available to the other person; or (c) in the way in which the provider provides those goods or services or makes those facilities available to the other person.

The ACT Labor/Green government are providing a million dollars of Tax payers money, and counting, through ArtsACT to PhotoAccess that is a discriminatory association, governing potentially unlawfully. With Yvette Berry, Shane Rattenbury and Caroline Le Couteur turning a blind eye to discrimination and potential corrupt and unlawful governance. These are the people who make Canberra what it is today. Now I have bought this to the attention of Chris Cole, Manager, Corporate Governance, Chief Minister and Treasury Directorate who is reluctant to follow Government protocol on complaint handling in responding to my complaint. Is this potential corruption out of his jurisdiction, or is this evidence the system is corrupt or broken, confirming Canberra as shonky town?

Unconstitutional Letter from Board

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