Statement by the AOC Executive on Mike Tancred
1 September 2017
AOC: Following the determination of the complaint made by Fiona de Jong against Mike Tancred, the AOC Executive resolved to delegate the determination of any other complaints against him to an Independent Committee.
The Independent Committee was constituted by former High Court Judge, The Honourable Ian Callinan AC and a former New South Wales Supreme Court Judge, the Honourable Greg James AM QC. The Independent Committee was delegated to determine any such complaints in the Committee’s sole and absolute discretion, on such material and in such manner as they saw fit, subject to affording the parties natural justice.
In view of its delegated powers, the Independent Committee appointed the AOC’s external solicitors, Kennedys, to act as its Secretariat to enable the Independent Committee to maintain objectivity and independence. The Independent Committee retained all authority in accordance with its terms of reference to determine the complaints.
The AOC wrote to staff, past and present, who had at some point in their employment objected to Mr Tancred’s conduct, whether by complaint or by expression of concern. They were asked if they wished for the Independent Committee to investigate the matter.
Three former staff responded requesting an investigation of their matters as complaints. In addition, there was a complaint made by a member of the public against Mr Tancred.
The AOC agreed to pay the legal costs of the former AOC employees and Mr Tancred in relation to this process, as they had done in relation to Fiona de Jong’s complaint, so that the parties could be adequately represented and not unfairly prejudiced or disadvantaged from a financial perspective.
Given the publicity concerning Mr Tancred’s alleged conduct, and matters of privacy and confidentiality relating to the complaints, the Independent Committee did not wish for the matters to be or appear to be determined by and in the media. It was therefore important at the outset to require undertakings of confidentiality with all complainants and Mr Tancred to ensure confidentiality of the process.
As part of the preparation of the determinations, the Independent Committee sought advice from a Senior Counsel with substantial employment law expertise, Ms Kylie Nomchong SC to ensure that the determinations were not inconsistent with current employment law.
The Independent Committee has now submitted its determinations to the AOC Executive and to the parties. The Independent Committee has found that none of the complaints has been made out on an objective basis.