CSIRO Independent Investigation

CSIRO is committed to providing a positive working environment for all its people; where all forms of unreasonable behaviour – including discrimination, bullying, harassment, intimidation, or threats in the workplace – are not tolerated.

  • 5 February 2013 | Updated 23 April 2014


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Since May 2012, there have been a series of allegations made in the media, on websites and to some Parliamentarians, by former employees of bullying and other misconduct matters whilst employed with CSIRO.

CSIRO is aware of some of these cases and they have previously been the subject of independent review. Some cases were not known. CSIRO therefore appointed Emeritus Professor Dennis Pearce, former Commonwealth Ombudsman, to examine submissions made by current and former CSIRO staff about these issues. Professor Pearce was assisted by an investigation team from HWL Ebsworth Lawyers led by Ms Melanie McKean.

CSIRO's intention from this investigation was to ensure our duty of care had been met to all current and former CSIRO staff members and affiliates, identify where further action is required, and identify lessons we can learn to build into our future strategies.

Professor Pearce has now completed his investigation and delivered his General Findings Report from Phase 2 to the Chief Executive of CSIRO on 15 April 2014. This report is available on the HWL Ebsworth website [external link].

Professor Pearce has now reaffirmed the conclusion that he came to in Phase 1 of his investigation, that workplace bullying is not widespread in CSIRO. However from his examination of some previous incidents, he has also confirmed his view that the management of conduct concerns has not been, in a number of cases, fully satisfactory. He has made some further recommendations for CSIRO, in this Report.

The Chief Executive has accepted the recommendations made by Professor Pearce in his second General Findings Report, which extend those from the first Report.

Receipt of the report to CSIRO brings the Independent Investigation by Professor Pearce to a close, however CSIRO will continue with the implementation of the recommendations and other follow-on actions.

One of the main take-outs for from Professor Pearce’s second report is the desire by all staff to see good behaviour modelled by senior and other managers, so that we all “walk the talk”. The Chief Executive has committed to ensuring this happens and all leaders and staff will receive the training they need to ensure they can do this.

Additionally, CSIRO will establish an integrity office to provide a place to raise concerns which are not addressed through regular channels. More details about the integrity office will be shared as it is set up.

CSIRO has responded to the findings and recommendations from Professor Pearce’s report from Phase 1 and this is available at CSIRO's response. A copy of the Phase 1 report is available on the HWL Ebsworth website [external link].

The Terms of Reference that guided the independent investigator are available from the HWL Ebsworth website [external link].