Sophie Mirabella. Photo: Mal Fairclough
Accusations continue to fly in the wake of a report on bullying and harassment at peak science organisation CSIRO.
A victims group and a federal politician are accused by investigators of clamouring for an inquiry into CSIRO, then refusing to take part in the recent investigation.
Responding to the criticism contained in Dennis Pearce's report, opposition industry spokeswoman Sophie Mirabella said the review was ''bitterly disappointing'' while the Victims of CSIRO group accused Professor Pearce and his team of peddling ''fiction''.
The investigator's report said Ms Mirabella had attended one meeting and then ignored further attempts to get her to engage with the inquiry while the Victims of CSIRO group went further, attempting to organise a boycott of the inquiry.
The first phase of the investigation, led by former Commonwealth ombudsman Pearce, found there was no systemic problem or toxic workplace culture in the science organisation.
But it did make 34 recommendations for major reforms within the organisation and said it wanted to pursue 49 of 130 separate allegations of bullying or harassment going back as far as 1983.
Professor Pearce and his team devoted a section of their report to the conduct of Ms Mirabella and members of the Victims of CSIRO group both before and after the investigation was established.
Ms Mirabella has been outspoken about allegations at the CSIRO for several years, culminating in demands last December for a full inquiry.
But after the inquiry was announced a little more than a month later, Ms Mirabella called the independence of the review into question.
Professor Pearce and his team sought a meeting with the shadow minister and asked for detail of the ''more than 100'' past and present CSIRO staff who Ms Mirabella said had approached her with allegations of bullying, which was refused.
''We heard nothing further from the shadow minister in regard to the investigation,'' the investigators wrote in their report. ''Nor was any submission made or matters referred.''
But the MP hit back on Thursday, criticising the scope and conduct of the report.
''The Coalition remains concerned by what we regard as the confined scope of the investigation,'' Ms Mirabella said.
''It is particularly disappointing that the terms of reference specifically exclude consideration of the cases of people who have raised allegations of criminal conduct and/or instigated legal proceedings against CSIRO.''
Professor Pearce and his team also expressed the opinion that the activities of the publisher of the Victims of CSIRO website, Andrew Hooley, and his associate Gerry Swiegers were unhelpful, not in the interests of ''those they purport to represent'', and did not assist the fight against bullying at CSIRO.
''Mr Hooley and Dr Swiegers did not provide any evidence to us and Mr Hooley used the website to urge other former and current members of CSIRO to act likewise,'' the investigators wrote.
One former CSIRO staff member, internationally renowned oceanographer Trevor McDougall, wrote to Professor Pearce complaining that the group had falsely alleged Mr McDougall's redundancy was a result of bullying.
''I have never been subjected to bullying at CSIRO,'' Dr McDougall wrote.
Mr Hooley reacted angrily after reading the report. ''The statement of Professor Pearce insinuating that Victims of CSIRO actively prevented participation in the investigation process is pure fiction,'' he said.
''CSIRO have continued to repeat the same old mantra that there is not a problem with bullying in the CSIRO and the conclusions reached by the report, are particularly partisan and are not supportive of the data.''