Today's rag tells us that several firemen are facing court relating to indecent assaults on a colleague 20 years ago which was part of an 'initiation rite', so it it seems, that was common in N.S.W. fire stations.
How did employees of N.S.W. fire brigades in several locations get away with these crimes against new recruits? How did the cover-up happen?
The few who were brave enough to complain about the abuse were informed they must be 'mad' for 'imagining' such things. They were then stood down from their jobs, placed on forced sick leave when they were not sick and made to attend HealthQuest, the N.S.W. government medical office.
The perpetrators of these crimes (and I am not discussing the case above as it is sub-judice, I am discussing other related cases) would write false reports about the alleged 'strange behaviour' of the victims, stating that they were a danger to the fire service and must be 'medically retired' on 'psychiatric grounds'.
The various unions throughout N.S.W. would go along with this kind of thing: the FBEU, the NSW Teachers Federation, the Public Service Association. Not one of them did a thing to protect their members from serious human rights abuses at HealthQuest. Not one of these unions or other public service unions even warned their members they could be falsely 'certified insane' at HealthQuest or forcibly 'medically retired', with false and untrue 'certificates' issued. They need not bother lying and telling us now that they had no idea what HealthQuest was up to. Many of their members informed them of the horrible truth. A large group of protesters gathered outside the headquarters of the N.S.W. Teachers Federation at the 1997 Annual Conference with loudspeakers and informed all and sundry of what HealthQuest was about. This group of protesters included firemen. But neither the Teachers Federation, nor the FBEU or any other union did a thing about it.
And so the protesting firemen were sacked via faked 'medical retirement' at HealthQuest. The 'problem' they had 'created' by protesting was then dispensed with as well as they themselves. Having been 'certified insane' (falsely), these firemen were not only barred from their own workplace, but from holding any N.S.W. or Federal government job. Most of them were then unemployed for years, or even for the rest of their lives, as it is hard to explain an alleged 'mental illness' to prospective employers.
HealthQuest and the Fire Brigade Employees Union were accessories to these crimes after the fact. HealthQuest doctors did not report the crimes to police - they punished the victims. The union did not protect its members who were abused, instead it protected the perpetrators.
The only HealthQuest doctors or psychiatrists who have been brought to task were Hadi Stambouliah and Dr Peter Dodwell. Stambouliah was made to attend a secret, locked-doors tribunal held by the Psychiatrists Registration Board. The victim gave evidence but Stambouliah was not de-registered. Dodwell was found to have breached a person's privacy in 2008 and was sacked.
However Dodwell was not the chief perpetrator of crimes against public employees in N.S.W. It was the former government medical officer, Dr Helia Gapper and her offsider Dr Helen Jagger whose signatures appeared on hundreds of 'certificates of retirement' aimed at silencing dissenters of the N.S.W. Public Service and teaching service.
I have seen one of the fake, fraudulent certificates alleging permanent 'mental illness' preventing a fireman from ever returning to work: one of those firemen (not mentioned above as we are not discussing something that is sub-judice) who had been assaulted. The signatures to this atrocious Soviet-style human rights abuse belonged to Gapper and Jagger.
Dr Gapper has disappeared following her removal from HealthQuest. Trained in England, she may have returned there and changed her name. Whistleblowers have been searching for her whereabouts for years. Dr Helen Jagger was promoted and is now Director of Medical Services for Sydney South West Area Health Service.
PICTURE: HealthQuest 'retirement certificate', issued to many firemen who were not in any way sick and signed by Dr Helen Jagger and Dr Helia Gapper.