In recent developments, allegations of discrimination have emerged involving Tim Gumbleton, the Administrator of The Hon. David Harris MP and NSW Labor Government.
The case has raised concerns regarding fair treatment and equal opportunities within the affected community and Local Aboriginal Land Councils. As the details unfold, it becomes crucial to examine the circumstances, understand the implications, and strive for transparency and justice.
This article quickly touches on the alleged discrimination, shedding light on the key players and the ongoing case, aiming to foster awareness and promote a fair and inclusive society.
My concerns stem from a previous experience when I applied for the CEO position at the Red Chief Local Aboriginal Land Council, where I encountered discrimination that resulted in a financial settlement through the Fair Work Commission. I can’t go into detail about who and what since they wanted me to sign a confidentiality agreement but it was known publicly at the time.
And in recent times, there have been concerning incidents and instances of questionable treatment but with the arrival of a new government and a new NSW Aboriginal Affairs Minister, I felt there was hope for positive changes in the Indigenous space, especially considering the shortcomings of the previous Liberal/National government in addressing these issues.
And despite the initial promises of change and the expressed intention of the new NSW Aboriginal Affairs Minister, David Harris MP, to bring about a different approach, the NSW Labor government has ultimately maintained the status quo.
And similar to other states governed by Labor, the efforts to address and close the disparity gaps have fallen short and it now appears that NSW will also continue in this direction until there is a change in government and leadership.
But returning to the case of alleged discrimination concerning Tim Gumbleton and his treatment of an Aboriginal member within the Red Chief Local Aboriginal Land Council, let’s provide a brief summary of the situation.
Case of alleged discrimination
My mother, Gloria Foley who is a long-standing member of our community and the Red Chief Local Aboriginal Land Council for over 20 years was recently subjected to an unjust and disproportionately proposed lengthy ban of three years from your administrator at Red Chief LALC, Tim Gumbleton.
This harsh punishment stands in stark contrast to penalties previously imposed for alleged misbehaviour, which at their most severe, were limited to six months.
The arbitrary nature of this decision, especially given Gloria’s impeccable 20-year membership, raises serious questions about the fairness and transparency of this process.
Moreover, it is crucial to highlight an incident involving another member of the LALC, Ms. Jean Hands. During the same meeting, allegedly Ms. Hands blatantly interrupted Mr. Michael Long while he was speaking, yet she faced no reprimand or call to leave the LALC.
The differential treatment is conspicuous, and the lack of consistency in handling these matters is concerning.
These issues have prompted me to lodge a formal complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission (useless organisation) and Anti-Discrimination NSW (to be reviewed/progressed), alleging discriminatory treatment against my mother, seemingly instigated by the Administrator, Tim Gumbleton.
Furthermore, currently exploring other options and reaching out to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal, which can hear and decide cases. The Tribunal makes decisions as to whether discrimination, sexual harassment, vilification, or victimisation has occurred.
To exacerbate the situation and the ongoing case, Tim made the decision to publicly disclose my mother’s name and shame her regarding the ban.
Allegedly, he instructed the administrative staff at the Red Chief LALC to post the following statement on social media platforms, possibly including radio and Koori Mail.
Although the Facebook post was eventually removed and reposted without my mother’s name, the harm and humiliation had already been inflicted.
Email to The Hon. David Harris MP and NSW Labor Government
Dear Hon. David Harris MP,
I trust this message finds you in good health and high spirits.
I am writing to you as an applicant for the position of Chief Executive Officer at the Red Chief Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC). I am extremely interested in this role due to my deep commitment to Indigenous communities and my experience in non-profit leadership.
I understand that the process of recruitment is a crucial part of determining the right individual for this position, a role that holds significant influence and responsibilities towards our communities. To ensure the credibility of this process, I respectfully request your guarantee that the recruitment for this position will be conducted with the utmost fairness and integrity, and that the most qualified individual is selected for the role, regardless of any personal or historical factors.
I feel the need to bring to your attention some concerns regarding the fairness of this process, due to some past experiences. I have previously submitted complaints about Mr. Tim Gumbleton, and I am anxious about the potential impact of his involvement in the current recruitment process. My concerns stem from a previous experience when I applied for the CEO position at the Red Chief LALC, where I encountered discrimination that resulted in a settlement through the Fair Work Commission.
Further, a family member of mine has a discrimination case filed against you (supposed to be Tim, but he’s employed by David Harris / Labor government…), currently pending with the Australian Human Rights Commission and Anti-Discrimination NSW.
When Mr. Gumbleton was questioned on how he plans to address and manage potential bias in this context during the hiring process on June 15, 2023, he did not provide a satisfactory response.
While I firmly believe in the importance of this role and remain committed to my application, I am seeking assurance that the selection process will be free from bias and discrimination. It is critical for the future success of Red Chief LALC and the communities it serves, that the most suitable candidate is chosen based on their qualifications, skills, and experience.
I am confident that you share my commitment to fairness, equality, and the best interests of the Aboriginal communities we serve. I look forward to your response and assurance that this matter will be addressed with the seriousness it deserves.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Anti-Discrimination NSW complaint
Please provide summary of the complaint (max 2,000 characters)
I expressed dissatisfaction with Tim’s potentially discriminatory actions when he attempted to remove me from the meeting without prior warnings. Despite my request for a written explanation, Tim did not provide one.
Tim stated that my behaviour violated the code of conduct, citing disruptive conduct, failure to listen, disregard for his directions as Chairperson, lack of respect for differing viewpoints, and engaging in argumentative and inflammatory behaviour. During the meeting, another member questioned the absence of prior warnings and immediate removal. Tim explained that I had reentered the meeting after being asked to leave.
Comparing the treatment of other individuals, such as Jean Hands, who exhibited similar behaviour without facing removal or proposed suspension, raises concerns about discriminatory treatment.
Consistency in applying rules and consequences to all members, without favouritism or bias, is essential to uphold principles of fairness and equality. It is noteworthy that my son, Dean Foley, has lodged complaints against Tim with the NSW Aboriginal Affairs Department regarding potential discriminatory behaviour at the Red Chief LALC.
Dean’s actions may have influenced Tim’s judgment towards me.
What date did the discrimination start/finish?
How have you been affected?
The alleged discriminatory behaviour and the subsequently proposed ban could have had emotional and psychological effects on Gloria. This potential discrimination and unfair treatment do seem to have contributed to feelings of distress, frustration, and a sense of injustice.