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Offline Arsenal

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O.P. « 2017-Feb-27, 09:27 AM »
Queensland chief harness steward fired
AAP - 24 Feb 2017
Queensland's chief harness racing steward David Farquharson has been fired after being on suspension for two months.

Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett said Farquharson's employment was terminated as of Friday.

He said Farquharson was suspended in December pending an investigation into a matter reported by a racing industry participant.

"Our decision was made after a thorough and fully independent external investigation was completed," Mr Barnett said.

"I want to ensure the community that the QRIC is committed to upholding the integrity of the racing industry and all complaints are taken seriously and fully investigated."

Barnett said it was not QRIC policy to discuss the matter any further. Farquharson could not be contacted but is understood to be considering his legal position.

Mr Farquharson has been terminated no details as to the allegations against him...... but whatever it is that he is alleged to have done has resulted in him losing his career ... if he feels hard done by he has some options available should he choose to exercise them ...Ross Barnett does hisself no favours by his secretive non disclosure as to the reason for this decision...he could learn a lot from following the processes and the open communications of the NSW stewards.
On Press Room today radio star Davie Fowler fired up in support of the  proposition that both Farquharson and the public are entitled to a proper explanation for QRIC's decision ...it's nonsense for Mr Barnett to claim openness and transparency but to hide behind the policy of non disclosure in this case ...Barnett needs to wake up to reality. :o

Giddy Up :beer:


Offline Arsenal

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« 2017-Mar-02, 07:40 PM Reply #1 »
Mr Barnett lost no time in phoning Davie and this is the outcome as reported by Dave on his HRO blog.

"Harness racing's chief steward David Farquharson was sacked last Friday.

No reason was given by QRIC.

I was critical of this on my Monday morning radio program PRESS ROOM, claiming it was unfair to Farquharson and unfair to an industry that regularly has to combat unfounded rumours and innuendo.

QRIC's commissioner Ross Barnett contacted me on Monday to say that it was reserving comment as the former chief stipe explored various legal avenues.

Understood and accepted."

All I can say is Dave is easily pleased...there's no reason why the allegations which led to Mr Farquharson's termination can't be made public.

Giddy Down :thumbsd:


Offline dean

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« 2017-Mar-02, 08:04 PM Reply #2 »
You are absolutely spot on Arsenal. Mr Fowler has proved he is hardly a Woodward or Bernstein as a journalist. If you don't know who they were just use Mr Google. There is not one thing on this earth stopping Mr Barnett disclosing the reasons for his dismissal "while Mr Farquarson explored his legal avenues ". That is just rot. The only thing stopping him would be  a  Queensland coppers' mentality to keep everything to themselves. Gee I must ring the Courier Mail and find out why they  followed up the Baden Clay  story before he had checked out all his legal avenues. David, If you going to purport to be a journalist , ask questions. It really is that simple.

Offline Arsenal

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« 2017-Mar-03, 08:46 PM Reply #3 »
Quite so Dean it's hardly a secret ......the story behind the sacking appears to be  common knowledge amongst the harness racing fraternity .....QRIC  boss Ross Barnett would have done everyone a favour by coming clean on the public record ..........and Dave was out for a duck by  accepting Barnett's lame duck excuse .....  Mr Farquharson's  legal options are not restricted by QRIC disclosing the reason for the termination.

Giddy Up :beer:

Offline sobig

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« 2017-Mar-03, 09:49 PM Reply #4 »
Interesting that a similar situation happened in WA a few months ago.

The chief harness racing steward was dismissed and the only reason given was that it
was an "integrity issue" and the powers that be refused point blank to give any details.

Offline Gintara

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« 2017-Mar-04, 04:58 PM Reply #5 »
In most cases like this it is out of respect to the person being sacked not to make the reason known.

Offline JWesleyHarding

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« 2017-Mar-04, 05:19 PM Reply #6 »
Surely if it is an integrity issue the other stakeholders (us) deserve to know the reason. 

Offline Arsenal

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« 2017-Mar-05, 11:37 AM Reply #7 »
Sacking angers steward

DISMISSED harness racing chief steward David Farquharson has described his sacking as “a farce” and has sought advice as to whether he has grounds for a wrongful dismissal case against the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission.

Farquharson was stood down in December last year after a complaint was made to QRIC by a racing participant.

Integrity commissioner Ross Barnett then ordered an independent external investigation and after being handed the findings, dismissed Farquharson nine days ago.

Barnett said no further comment would be made, but Farquharson has spoken out about the decision.

“This is just a farce. I would do the same thing again tomorrow,” Farquharson said of the behaviour in question, which has not been disclosed.

“I’ve been a steward in different parts of this country for 30 years and I have no regrets in getting rid of drug cheats and prosecuting the people doing the wrong thing.

“A charge of misconduct from a person (Barnett) that’s only known me since July has ruined my career.

“I vehemently deny any allegations of serious misconduct and will be considering my legal options.”

Nathan Exelby's column  in the Sunday Mail

Giddy Up :beer:

Offline dean

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« 2017-Mar-05, 12:10 PM Reply #8 »
Yes fancy getting sacked for misconduct by a Queensland copper. The World has definitely gone mad.

Offline Arsenal

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« 2017-Jun-28, 07:35 PM Reply #9 »
Terry Butts is never short of an opinion and his latest effort reproduced in the www.letsgohorseracing.com website shines a light on the facts behind the standing down and subsequent resignation of a cadet steward in NQ over a simple clerical error in attesting she delivered the swab samples herself when she entrusted the delivery to another official a declaration which was foolish but if Terry Butts report is accurate her treatment IMO  brings no credit to the QRIC. >:(

RACING needs competent people in control and sadly that seems to be lacking in Queensland on many fronts, particularly administration and integrity. And a separation of the codes is also a must.
BY the way, did you witness the Alan Jones interview on SKY last week? His opinion on how bad racing in Queensland is administered – from the Premier down is, well, pretty spot on.
“It is a basket case,” Jones said. And few would argue.
The idea of placing the three codes under one umbrella was one of the ‘Bentley Blunders’ and should be changed. Racing should not have to piggy back trots and greyhounds.
They should be master of their own destiny and the futility of the present arrangement is clear when a young cadet steward claims she was told by the senior QRIC stipendiary Steward that she could not be promoted to a senior steward in Townsville because she had no harness racing experience.
Of course there isn’t a trots track in North Queensland any longer. In fact there are only three left in the State – Recliffe, Albion Park and Marburg (more a picnic venue).
That same cadet steward by the way is no longer.
She in fact resigned last month after being told she must show cause. QRIC chief Ross Barnett claims she entered false information on a chain of custody document for a swab take from a horse.

That sounds pretty serious but, in fairness, Jess Portch the steward concerned is entitled to her version.
“I was chairman of stewards at Gordonvale and as pre-arranged, I stayed overnight at Mission Beach and the swabs taken at the meeting were delivered back to the RQ office at Cluden by the starter Peter Warren.
“On Monday (my RDO) I called into the office to ensure everything was OK with the swabs and delivered my completed paper work.
“It was then I made the mistake of signing the form that said I had personally delivered both the swabs and paperwork.
 “I don’t know why – but I signed the paper. I shouldn’t have. It was just one of those things and I thought nothing about it.
“Two QRIC staff flew from Brisbane to interview me and I was told I couldn’t have any representation.
“I was on my own – nervous and worried sick. I just couldn’t believe the reaction.
“Then on the morning of the interview I was told I could have legal representation but it was then too late.
“I then asked for an adjournment but it was denied.
“My lawyer told me I would win an unfair dismissal case hands down – but he also said: Do you want to go back?
“I said I would resign”.
Overwhelmed and encouraged by the response from licensees all over NQ, Ms Portch says it may not be over yet.
Workplace and sexual harassment action is being considered.


I have no details as to her employment history but assuming she is not on probation she would have an action against QRIC for unfair dismissal it's called constructive dismissal where an employee is forced to resign ...... on the facts she has a solid case........industrial relations experience is that once the trust between an employer and employee is broken there's virtually no prospect of reinstatement ...and she doesn't want the job back anyway ......the remedy is compensation......if the employee convinces the Industrial tribunal she has been wronged she will get an award as compensation from the tribunal if not a negotiated settlement .This is my opinion only but I'll back it to be on the money.    :king:  

Giddy Up :beer:
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Offline Peter Mair

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« 2017-Jun-28, 09:36 PM Reply #10 »

............... this is racing in Queensland .................. and the same goes for the JBP state generally  ...... a culture of authoritarian corruption takes a lifetime to correct ......... and it was already bent to let JBP and his cronies in in the first place.

I would let QLD secede -- and compulsorily if they do not elect to go.

Offline Arsenal

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« 2018-Jan-08, 06:28 PM Reply #11 »
Surprise surprise the Industrial Relations Commission has reinstated David Farquharson retrospectively with continuity of employment intact as well as back pay...the surprise is that it is very unusual in cases of wrongful dismissal for the employee to be reinstated as in most cases it is considered that the break in trust has destroyed the employment relationship with the result that a successful application would usually results in a monetary award and the parties go their separate ways.
In this case Industrial Commissioner Adrian Bloomfield ( from the employers' side ) opined that Ross  Barnett would be capable of putting aside the action he took.
The reasons for decision will be posted once they appear on the Industrial Commissions' website in the meantime we have an AAP report to go on published by www.justracing.com........no mention of this decision yet on the QRIC website.

Well done to Matt Tutt obviously a talented advocate in the footsteps of his pater Wally. :no1:


Giddy Up :beer:

Giddy Up
« Last Edit: 2018-Jan-09, 08:23 PM by Arsenal »

Offline Arsenal

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« 2018-Jan-09, 06:27 PM Reply #12 »
It turns out  there has been a previous case where the former QHRB dismissed a Deputy Chief Steward Kevin Adams over his convening a hearing into an alleged breach of the rules by Brent Livingstone when the Chief steward Larry wilson was indisposed though illness Adams did so out of consideration for the driver's father John Livingstone who pressed for the inquiry to be resumed.......the QHRB was represented by Jim Murdoch but his efforts were in vain despite pleading the QRHB had lost confidence in Mr Adams over this single issue........ otherwise he had an unblemished record and in a measured decision Industrial Commissioner Don Brown ordered Adams be reinstated and paid his salary backdated to the date of his unfair dismissal in 2005.

Very lengthy decision this is an extract from the judgment of Commissioner Brown :-

    "Further, having already accepted that the actions of the Applicant in the enquiry were procedurally flawed and that the flaw related to an incorrect understanding of the rules, I accept that this would have some impact on the Board's confidence in the Applicant.
However, I do not accept that the error of the Applicant was so grave as to prevent the Board from regaining confidence in the Applicant's ability to perform in his former position.  I accept the submissions of Mr Horneman-Wren for the Applicant and the evidence of Mr Schimming that the Applicant would be most unlikely to re-offend.

Mr Murdoch referred the Commission to the decision of Hall P in Roma Town Council & Lattimore ((2001) QIC 30 (19 June 2001) 167 QGIG 176).  Mr Murdoch referred also to the decision of the President in Bandit and the Department of Corrective Services (2005) 180 QGIG 97.  He submitted that the broad principle established in these cases was that if there existed an honest belief by the employer on reasonable grounds after sufficient enquiry that the employee has been guilty of serious misconduct then grounds for termination exist.

For reasons outlined earlier, I do not accept that the conclusion reached by the Board that the Applicant provided an inaccurate account of the phone call was based on reasonable grounds nor was it the result of sufficient enquiry.  Further based on reasons already given, I disagree that the flawed actions of the Applicant amounted to serious misconduct as submitted by Mr Murdoch (T.p. 199 l. 50) and T.p. 201 l. 16).  Additionally, the Board did not consider the Applicant's most recent performance review when determining what penalty should apply contrary to the claim at Part (c) of the termination letter that the Board carefully considered his record of employment.

In my view any careful consideration should have taken account of the conclusions in this performance review.

For these reasons I have concluded that these authorities do not assist the Respondent.

Having considered all of the evidence, material and submissions, including the length of service of the Applicant, his employment history with the Respondent, especially the positive performance review for the period July 2004 to June 2005 which led to the confirmation of him in the position of Deputy Chairman of Stewards and his being awarded a pay increase, I am of the view that the penalty of dismissal in these circumstances is unfair in that it is excessive and therefore all of harsh, unjust and unreasonable.

Regarding remedy, Mr Murdoch submitted that in the event of an adverse finding, reinstatement was inappropriate.  He cited the size of the workforce and the inability of the Board to regain the necessary level of confidence in the Applicant as Deputy Chief Steward.  Mr Murdoch referred to the evidence of Mr Lenehan and Ms Moore regarding their expectations as Board members of leaders of the Stewards, the Deputy Chief and the Chief.

I have taken account of Mr Horneman-Wren's reference to Perkins and Grace Worldwide (Aust) Pty Ltd (1997) 72 IR 186 wherein Wilcox C.J., Marshall and North J.J. canvassed the term "impracticability" as it relates to reinstatement and also the question of loss of confidence by the employer in the employee.

I agree with the thrust of this decision and the authorities contained therein that the loss of trust and confidence must be soundly and rationally based.

Under the heading "Principles" the decision records:

   "Trust and confidence is a necessary ingredient in any employment relationship.  That is why the law imports into employment contracts an implied promise by the employer not to damage or destroy the relationship of trust and confidence between the parties, without reasonable cause:  see Buruzin v Blacktown City Guardian Pty Ltd (unreported, Industrial Relations Court of Australia, Full Court, No 606/96, 13 December 1996).  The implication is not confined to employers, it extends to employees:  see for example Blyth Chemicals Ltd v Bushnell (1933) 49 CLR 66 at 81-82 and North v Television Corporation Ltd (1976) 11 ALR 599 at 609.  So we accept that the question whether there has been a loss of trust and confidence is a relevant consideration in determining whether reinstatement is impracticable, provided that such loss of trust and confidence is soundly and rationally based.

   At the same time, it must be recognised that, where an employer, or a senior officer of an employer, accuses an employee of wrongdoing justifying the summary termination of the employee's employment, the accuser will often be reluctant to shift from the view that such wrongdoing has occurred, irrespective of the Court's finding on that question in the resolution of an application under Div 2 of Pt VIA of the Act.

   If the Court were to adopt a general attitude that such a reluctance destroyed the relationship of trust and confidence between employer and employee, and so made reinstatement impracticable, an employee who was terminated after an accusation of wrongdoing but later succeeded in an application under the Division would be denied access to the primary remedy provided by the legislation.  Compensation, which is subject to a statutory limit, would be the only available remedy.  Consequently, it is important that the Court carefully scrutinise any claim by an employer that reinstatement is impracticable because of a loss of confidence in the employee.";

and further:

   "In most cases, the employment relationship is capable of withstanding some friction and doubts.  Trust and confidence are concepts of degree.  It is rare for any human being to have total trust in another.  What is important in the employment relationship is that there be sufficient trust to make the relationship viable and productive.  Whether that standard is reached in any particular case must depend upon the circumstances of the particular case.  And in assessing that question, it is appropriate to consider the rationality of any attitude taken by a party.".

The Applicant has had a long and productive career in the racing industry (8 years with this employer) and with the exception of his association with a false start some 6 years ago has, apart from his error on this occasion, an unblemished record.  There have been no other instances of an error in applying the rules in the course of some thousands of enquiries involving the Applicant.

Given that the finding by the Board in (a)(ii) of the dismissal letter was not, in my view, the result of a reasonable consideration following a sufficient enquiry, it follows that I find that this matter is not a reasonable basis for loss of confidence in the Applicant .  I also believe that any impact on the confidence in the mind of the Board arising from the Applicant's error would, in time, be restored.

The continuation of the Applicant in employment during the course of the review of his action was fair and not considered in any way in relation to the finding of unfairness in the dismissal.

However on the questions of confidence and the practicability of reinstatement I regard the actions of the Board subsequent to the conclusion of the enquiry as important.  The enquiry concluded on 16 November 2005.

On 31 October 2005 the Applicant was asked to show cause why he should not be disciplined (BS 14 of Ex. 3).  He did so on 11 November 2005 (BS 15 of Ex. 3).

It was on 16 November 2005 the Board met and considered the Applicant's response.  The minutes recorded that the Board concluded that they had "Irretrievably lost confidence" in the Applicant's ability to discharge his role of Deputy Chairman of Stewards.

It was after this supposed complete loss of confidence the Board allowed the Applicant to continue in the position of acting Chairman of Stewards and on 19 November 2005 the Applicant performed as Chief Steward at the Albion Park race meeting.  All of this passed without incident. 

I note further that the Applicant's position had not been filled at the time of the hearing.

Having considered all of the submissions, evidence and material, I have decided that the Applicant is to be reinstated to his former position forthwith without loss of any entitlements that he would have received in the absence of the unfair dismissal.

I so order.

D.K. BROWN, Commissioner.

Hearing Details:
2006         20, 21, 22 March

Released:  11 May 2006      Appearances:
Mr A. Horneman-Wren (instructed by Milner Lawyers) on behalf of the Applicant.
Mr J. Murdoch (instructed by Thynne & Macartney) on behalf of the Respondent.

Government Printer, Queensland

The State of Queensland 2006."

Giddy Up :beer:

« Last Edit: 2018-Jan-09, 06:36 PM by Arsenal »

Offline gunbower

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« 2018-Jan-09, 07:42 PM Reply #13 »
I presume that this is the same K Adams who is now employed by QRIC in the greyhound stewards field. It is hard to understand how they picked up this employee after his "colourful " career as a Steward in NSW . Some of his reported utterances to a fellow female employee  (as detailed in tribunal reports )  are downright improper. What could possibly possess QRIC or Racing Queensland to hire this bloke after they had read an unfair dismissal report concerning his behavior while a Steward in NSW.

Offline Peter Mair

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« 2018-Jan-09, 08:44 PM Reply #14 »

............. we are talking about Queensland................stop looking for anything sensible in any policy arena.

Offline Arsenal

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« 2018-Jan-10, 05:28 PM Reply #15 »
Here's the QIRC decision to reinstate the Chief Steward lengthy 28 page decision so follow the link


[69] As further noted by the Full Court in Perkins, the employment relationship is capable
of withstanding some friction and doubts and that trust and confidence are concepts of
degree. While Mr Barnett asserts that he no longer has trust and confidence in
Mr Farquharson that is because he believed the latter was guilty of misconduct by being
deliberately untruthful to Mr Scott. In coming to that conclusion, however, he closed
his mind to any other possible reason for Mr Farquharson's behaviour. Now that his
decision has been reviewed and overturned by a Tribunal charged with the
responsibility to review decisions of the type that he made, I am confident that
Mr Barnett will step back and accept that he might have made a mistake and perhaps he
should have given Mr Farquharson the benefit of the doubt. In this respect
Mr Farquharson has made it plain that he wishes to return to his former position
notwithstanding his treatment.

[70] In stating that I am confident Mr Barnett will accept the overturning of his decision, I
note his long and distinguished service as a police officer, rising to the equal second
highest rank in that service, and the fact that he is well used to following decisions from
Courts and Tribunals - even those with which he might personally disagree. While my
decision might be inconvenient and disappointing to him, I consider he is capable of
re-establishing an appropriate and professional working relationship with
Mr Farquharson.

[71] In any event, this is not a case where Mr Farquharson actually engaged in misconduct,
He simply made a mistake and then failed to correct it. It was not serious misconduct
and it was not a dismissible offence. In considering the matter of reinstatement in a
common sense way, it seems to me that it would be a travesty of justice if
Mr Farquharson was not reinstated to his former position simply because the person
who, I have found, unfairly dismissed him objects to his return. Far stronger grounds
than that are required before reinstatement could become impracticable.

[72] For the foregoing reasons, I make the following Orders:
1. That Mr Farquharson be reinstated to his former position of Chief
Stipendiary Steward - Harness, with the Queensland Racing Integrity
Commission from 24 February 2017.
2. That Mr Farquharson's continuity of employment be maintained for all
purposes of his Contract of Employment - both written and legislatively
3. That Mr Farquharson be paid any remuneration lost since his dismissal after
taking into account any employment benefits or wages received by him since his dismissal.
4. That the parties discuss, with the intention of agreeing, how any statutory
entitlements paid to Mr Farquharson at the time of his original termination
are to be treated. In the event the parties are unable to agree, liberty to apply
is granted.

Commissioner Bloomfield found QRIC commissioner Ross Barnett over reacted to what  was described as a simple mistake or minor issue or possible negligence by Farquharson arising from an inquiry which he conducted into Neale Scott's horse returning a positive swab to cobalt ...at the harness racing meeting at Deagon .....the conversations on the standard of the swabbing room and inspections (questions from Scott answers by Farquharson )were found to have had no material effect on the swabbing process or result and that Scott was afforded a proper and respectful hearing which extended over three days...... Barnett admitted to having only read the transcript of the third day...in essence the commissioner found there was no serious misconduct to justify Barnett's action dismissing Farquharson  ........interestingly the QRIC website is silent on this decision...possibly Barnett is considering the prospects of appealling to the Industrial Court ....where the grounds for appeal are limited to "Erroneous in point of law or in excess of jurisdiction " unless they have been altered since my time in IR.....time to move on IMO
Giddy Up :beer:
« Last Edit: 2018-Jan-10, 09:48 PM by Arsenal »

Offline Peter Mair

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« 2018-Jan-10, 05:55 PM Reply #16 »

................as we well know -- in Queensland --not-guilty does not mean not-guilty with those that count!

Offline Arsenal

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« 2018-Jan-21, 10:02 AM Reply #17 »
No comment from Ross Barnett on the outcome of the QIRC decision reinstating Mr Farquharson and no sign of him officiating at any harness racing meeting since.....might make some inquiries from someone who might know what's going on.

Giddy Up :beer:

Offline Thebigdog

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« 2018-Jan-21, 06:49 PM Reply #18 »
I can help you Arsenal, I assume he's back on Monday, Speaking with Ian Brown last night and he advised its his last night.

That's a massive set back for the industry, Ian was doing a fantastic job and had the respect of the industry and fellow stewards, most believe this wont continue under DF as it wasn't happening for many years.

Even the other stewards don't want to work with him anymore, lets hope Mr Brown finds his way back to harness racing one day. 

Offline Thebigdog

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« 2018-Jan-25, 09:58 AM Reply #19 »
Chaired his first meeting at Redcliffe last night.