The campaign has been pushed for by the parents of Brodie Panlock, Damien and Rae, and was whispered about at recent public hearings into workplace bullying. However, the media campaign gained a shaky start on the ABC from psychologist Evelyn Field. Her interview, which was videoed, appears almost off-topic and never gains the gravitas the subject of workplace bullying deserves. The ABC may be partly at fault here by choosing Evelyn Fields instead of the Attorney-General or Brodie’s parents.
The media release of the Attorney-General (not yet available online) states that the ‘Take a stand against bullying’ campaign
“… will see information about bullying and Brodie’s Law distributed to more than 8,000 schools, workplaces and police stations across Victoria.”
When one considers the number of schools, workplaces and police stations in Victoria, 8,000 is not a lot. Victoria Police has been very supportive of Brodie’s Law and the Panlock family and have produced a terrific Youtube video to explain the law. It is far more effective than other attempts to explain the law.
The Attorney-General Clark said:
“Everyone is entitled to be safe in our community and no one should be forced to suffer from bullying… Authorities rely on information from the community to stamp out bullying, so if you or someone you know is being bullied, report it. All bullying is unacceptable, and serious bullying is a serious crime.”
“Having Brodie’s Law in place is about sending a strong message that threatening, bullying behavior – in the workplace or elsewhere – will not be tolerated…”
It is important to report bullying but in the context of workplace bullying, which the actions against Brodie Panlock were found to be, reporting does not seem to be the problem as figures from both WorkSafe Victoria and WorkCover NSW have shown.
It must also be remembered that Brodie’s Law is not a workplace law but a law about an action that occurs in the workplace and elsewhere. Brodie’s Law exists under the Crimes Act but the prevention of workplace bullying is undertaken under OHS laws. There is a distinction in the administration of these laws but one that is often forgotten under the passion speaking about bullying.
The missing component in the new campaign at the moment is any mention of a role for WorkSafe Victoria, an organisation, like the Victoria Police, that is not immune from accusations of bullying itself.
Robert Clark and the Victorian Government have generated their own dilemma on workplace safety issues that flows on to the matter of workplace bullying. As the government has refused to pass the model Work Health and Safety Act, it will fail to benefit from many of the national guidelines and OHS Codes of Practice that are being gradually released. One of the major codes is for the management and prevention of workplace bullying. How can a government accept Codes and guidelines when it does not accept the legislative context in which they have been developed?
Brodie Panlock’s parents, Damien and Rae, deserve our support in their efforts to combat workplace bullying. There is no doubting their commitment and fortitude but it is important to be on the alert for carpetbaggers and opportunists. The last word in this article is from Damien and Rae who speak about their hopes and aims for the “Take a Stand Against Bullying” campaign:
“Having experienced the devastation that results from merciless bullying, we are passionate about stamping out bullying, whether it be in the workplace, the school yard or anywhere else…
“We don’t want any family to endure what we have been through which is why we are committed to all efforts to raise awareness about the very serious nature of bullying and its consequences.
“It is our hope that the thousands of posters and pamphlets that will be distributed through this campaign will inspire anyone who is a victim of bullying or has witnessed bullying behavior, to report it.”