Whistleblowing Women

Australian women who blow the whistle on corruption in their workplaces.

Gillian Sneddon : a Whistleblowing Woman in the New South Wales Labor Party.
Swansea is a once diehard Labor electorate north of Sydney.

The former Aboriginal affairs minister, Milton Orkopoulos, reigned supreme in Swansea until he was jailed in 2008 for child s_x and drug offences.

The Liberals' Garry Edwards is set to claim the seat, with a 14 per cent swing.

But in a moral victory, the woman who blew the whistle on Orkopoulos and lost her job as his electoral officer, Gillian Sneddon, a neophyte independent with no money or resources, managed to snare more than 16 per cent of the vote as a protest against the rotten heart of NSW Labor.

"I did not spend one penny on postage and had flyers made, three to a page on non-glossy paper, which were letter-boxed by volunteers."

Sneddon says she was victimised for a year by Orkopoulos after she raised concerns about a phone call she had received from one of his young male victims, who had been s_xually abused and plied with drugs by the MP since he was 15.

A single mother of three sons, Sneddon was locked out of the electorate office and finally sacked the day she testified against Orkopoulos.

She was abandoned by the Labor Party.

She has suffered health ill-effects of the stress and is still unemployed three years after her wretched boss was jailed.

She has had to resort to legal action in a worker's compensation case in the Supreme Court.

Sneddon wept as her barrister told the court that far from getting help, those responsible for her were siding with the enemy.

Orkopoulos had premier Morris Iemma on speed dial and future premier Nathan Rees as his chief of staff.

There were times when Sneddon feared for her life.

EVEN though Sneddon didn't win the seat, she says: "I still feel like a winner.

I am a participant in life again, rather than a spectator."

 3 August 2011 update:

Gillian Sneddon won't have to pay the state's legal costs after NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell stepped in to save the woman he calls a "hero".

The premier said Ms Sneddon, who believes the bill could be as much as $175,000, should not be financially punished for her "courageous" act.

"I don't see why she should have to suffer any more financial hardship as a result of acting in a decent and courageous way."

"She did not commit any crime, she did not do anything that was wrong, and nor should she have to be financially punished."

Ms Sneddon stood to lose more than a third of her damages payout from her case against Orkopoulos, who has been jailed, and her employer, the Speaker of the NSW Legislative Assembly.

In June she was awarded $438,613 after Justice Price accepted she suffered psychiatric injury because the former Labor politician had bullied and harassed her.

But the 54-year-old lost her bid against the state - also a defendant in the legal battle - which then pursued her for costs.

Ms Sneddon told the media she was facing the prospect of severe financial hardship because of the decision.

In 2008, Orkopoulos, the former Aboriginal affairs minister, was jailed for at least nine years for child s_x and drugs offences.

Justice Price accepted the MP made inappropriate and offensive comments to Ms Sneddon, spoke to her aggressively, mocked her and yelled at her in front of a constituent, and bypassed her by asking another staffer to perform tasks.

She was also unable to enter the office after the locks were changed at the request of Orkopoulos with the agreement of the Speaker's office.

Ms Sneddon said the behaviour continued for about a year after reporting an October 2005 phone call, in which a man said he had been s_xually abused by Orkopoulos since he was 15.

O'Farrell steps in for whistleblower, ninemsn, 3 Aug 2011 : http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/8280868/orkopoulos-whistleblower-faces-costs

Whistleblower scores a moral victory, Miranda Devine, Sunday Herald Sun, 3 April 2011 : http://www.heraldsun.com.au/opinion/whistleblower-scores-a-moral-victory/story-e6frfhqf-1226032599762

 

 

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