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 10 December 2013


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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 is being assisted by an investigation team from HWL Ebsworth Lawyers led by Ms Melanie McKean.

CSIRO's intention is to ensure our duty of care has 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 delivered his General Findings Report from Phase 1 of his investigation to the Chief Executive of CSIRO on 31 July 2013. The report is available on the HWL Ebsworth website [external link].

In summary, 113 people made a submission – half of whom are current employees and half are former employees. From the submissions, 130 allegations were made of unreasonable behaviour, bullying, discrimination and/or harassment. Professor Pearce has recommended next steps for each of these. This will see either further investigation by Professor Pearce, investigation or further action by CSIRO, or no further recommended action.

CSIRO has responded to the findings and recommendations and this is available at CSIRO's response.

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