ACS Observer – Worrying developments at ACS

Hi everybody

This is the first of an informal and irregular newsletter about the Australian Computer Society that I’m circulating to my mailing list. If you don’t want to receive further editions, just reply with UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject field. Thanks.

Graeme Philipson

I’m really worried about the future of the Australian Computer Society. Recently there have been a number of very serious developments: Things are coming to a head very quickly. The next month or so will be very important.

Worrying development number one:

The ACS Management Committee is attempting to suppress reporting on its activities. First me, now InnovationAus. Bullying lawyers letters to both of us. Read about them here and here.

Worrying development number two:

Andrew Johnson is attempting to stay on as CEO by bringing the ridiculous charge of bullying against President Ian Oppermann. This is going to blow up in their faces in the next week or so. I have many details from various ACS staff, but they are in confidence and I cannot share them.

Worrying development number three:

Serious questions have emerged about the money being paid to the CEO and other senior executives. Expect to hear a lot more about this. Financial reporting is also very opaque. Follow the money!

Worrying development number four:

An analysis of membership rules indicate ACS is in serious breach of its obligations as a non-profit organisation. Expect challenges. There are serious doubts about the validity of:

  • Granting employees Associate Member status, then stacking meetings with them.
  • Counting temporary non-voting members as full members, thus vastly inflating the numbers in an attempt to hide the precipitous decline in professional membership over the last decade or so.

The astonishing thing is that these are all on top of the serious concerns raised by many critics and which are summarised clearly in my open letter to the Management Committee on 24 August. Read it here. ACS has attempted to suppress this document.

This is all very serious. In fact, it stinks to high heaven. There is now open warfare within the ACS management team and the organisation is tearing itself apart because of the hubris and arrogance of a self-perpetuating clique within the Management Committee.

This group seems hellbent on destroying ACS as a member based organisation. The clique’s behaviour in suppressing comment, stifling dissent, and ignoring the concerns of many senior members is astonishing. It is hard to explain or to understand. But that is the modern world.

This behaviour, and the results of it, lead the dispassionate observer to an inescapable conclusion.

ACS is fucked. Totally and utterly fucked, at least while it is controlled by the current Management Committee. The clique’s arrogance is leading the organisation to destruction. It has become so deaf to criticism, and so sure of the rectitude of its indefensible actions, that it is no longer capable of rational thought. There is no other way to explain its recent attack on fair reportage or its support for Johnson’s ridiculous charges against Oppermann.

The psychologists have a name for this. It’s called cognitive dissonance. The Management Committee has become so convinced that its cowardly and selfish strategy is the right way to go and that it has conceived a type of doublethink and constructed an alternative universe, divorced from facts or ethics. We see it with Donald Trump. There is no other way to explain such selfish, childish and vindictive behaviour.

The Australian Computer Society is a wonderful institution that has been an important part of the Australian computer industry for many years. What is going on there now is a tragedy. It needs to be resolved. If the clique has its way, the ACS as we know it is gone.

So sad. But it is not too late!

We all need to express our outrage at what is going on in the strongest possible terms.

Posted in: ACS