EXPANDED HISTORY OF THE PERSECUTION OF THE WTM’S WORK OF BRINGING UNDERSTANDING TO THE HUMAN CONDITION
2011 PERSECUTION OF THE WTM FOR EXPOSING THE HUMAN CONDITION
This essay compiled by Jeremy Griffith and Tim Macartney-Snape provides the best overview and history of our stunning victory over persecution
2010 Court of Appeal vindicates biologist Jeremy Griffith’s treatise on the origins of the human condition
On 7 October 2010, the NSW Court of Appeal unanimously overturned an earlier Supreme Court finding concerning the defamatory 1995 ABC-TV Four Corners program about the WORLD TRANSFORMATION MOVEMENT. In a momentous judgment for our project, for science and for the future of the human race, the Court of Appeal recognised the unorthodox nature of Jeremy Griffith’s explanation of the origins and amelioration of the human condition, finding that the lower Court did ‘not adequately consider’ ‘the nature and scale of its subject matter’, in particular ‘that the work was a grand narrative explanation from a holistic approach, involving teleological elements’.
2009 Victory For A New World Of Understanding For Humanity — SMH Publishes Apology to the FHA/WTM
The following apology to the Foundation for Humanity’s Adulthood (FHA) — now known as the WORLD TRANSFORMATION MOVEMENT (WTM) — was published in the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper on 6 June 2009:
This apology was a great milestone in the FHA’s efforts to defy and defeat a 20-year campaign of persecution that has been waged against the critically important understanding of the human condition that the FHA was established to promote and defend.
The major events in our struggle to ‘clear our name’ in the 14 years since this campaign went public in 1995 are briefly summarised in an advertisement placed by the FHA in the Weekend Edition of The Australian newspaper, which appeared on page 4 of the Saturday 13 June 2009 edition as a prominent 11cm by 17cm advertisement.
2008 Four Corners discredited — ABC ordered to pay almost $700,000 plus costs
On 1 August 2008, the NSW Supreme Court handed down a comprehensive defamation judgment against the ABC and Reverend David Millikan for their production of the 1995 Four Corners program, The Prophet of Oz. As a result, Tim Macartney-Snape received a payout of more than $700,000 in damages and interest. With costs, the total payout was expected to exceed $1 million.
On 30 October 2008, an appeal was filed in the NSW Supreme Court’s Court of Appeal in relation to the one defamatory imputation that Justice Kirby did not award damages for. The hearing of that appeal took place in 2010.
2007National Broadcaster on Trial
In March 2007, a trial began in the Supreme Court of New South Wales to determine defences and damages following a jury’s 2003 finding that the ABC defamed Jeremy Griffith and Tim Macartney-Snape in the 1995 Four Corners program. An initial four and half weeks in Court in March and April was followed by a further two weeks in early July and one day of oral submissions in early December.
Expert Witnesses for Jeremy Griffith's work
During the trial, four international scientific experts took the stand in defence of the scientific and scholarly standard of Jeremy Griffith’s work.
2005 FHA Defamed by Fairfax
A NSW Supreme Court jury found that the FHA was defamed in the 1995 article in The Sydney Morning Herald, written by Reverend David Millikan.
Apology by Tony McClelland to the FHA
Tony McClelland apologised on 23 September 2005 to the FHA in settlement of the defamation action brought against him in relation to a 1995 newsletter he published.
2003‘ABC loses defamation case’
The jury found Jeremy Griffith and Tim Macartney-Snape were defamed by the Four Corners program.
Strikeout application against Fairfax Publications heard in the Supreme Court
The Land's Friday Magazine
‘Challenging Humanity...talking about the big stuff’
Published in June 2003, this full page article by Kate Wilkie profiles Jeremy Griffith and the FHA. It also documents the NSW Supreme Court ruling that Jeremy Griffith and Tim Macartney-Snape were defamed in an ABC-TV Four Corners program in 1995, and discusses Jeremy’s third book, A Species in Denial.
2001Defamation action commenced against ABC and Fairfax
In April 2001, after several years preparing for the litigation, two sets of proceedings were commenced in the Supreme Court of New South Wales seeking redress—one against the ABCand another against John Fairfax Publications, publisher of the Sydney Morning Herald.
The following is an unsolicited public apology to the FHA that was published nationally in The Australian newspaper in June 2001.
Defamation action case begins in the Supreme Court
The defamation action the FHA took against the ABC and John Fairfax Publications began in the Supreme Court on 5 Nov 2001.
1999Inside Sport June 1999
This six-page profile, written by James Elder, documents Tim Macartney-Snape’s legendary stature as one of the most talented and accomplished mountaineers in the world.
Mountaineering requires the highest levels of courage, perseverance and endurance and Tim’s defence of the FHA has demanded all the proven qualities of his character.
‘The FHA is the mountain of my mind. It’s bigger than anything I’ve ever attempted and the ABC is just a crevasse.’
1998 Ruling by ABA for breach of Code
After a two year investigation, and in the strongest ruling the ABA had ever made at that time against the national broadcaster, the ABA found Four Corners ‘inaccurate, unbalanced and partial’.
The ‘ABA concluded that the program was:
- not balanced in its presentation of the experience of parents of Foundation members;
- inaccurate in its representation of Mr Griffith; and
- inaccurate and lacked balance in its representation of Mr Tim Macartney-Snape.’
ABA ruling media coverage
The Australian 6 March 1998
‘ABC television’s flagship Four Corners program was inaccurate and unfair...’
- The Bulletin 21 April 1998
This two-page feature story, written by Lenore Nicklin and titled Higher Ground, profiles Jeremy Griffith and the FHA. The Bulletin, incorporating Newsweek, was a national weekly magazine in Australia. ‘The ABC hit us with a freight train...’
- Australian Magazine 9 May 1998
This seven-page feature article in the Weekend Australian Magazine supplement written by Jill Rowbotham, profiles Tim Macartney-Snape, his involvement with the FHA and the ABA’s ruling. ‘There are even higher mountains, deeper gorges, more frightening terrain inside our heads than in the physical world...’
The ABA: ‘Appropriate for ABC to apologise’
On 8 July 1998, the ABA took the unprecedented step of recommending to the ABC that it was ‘appropriate to apologise’ to the FHA, which was the strongest remedial action the ABA had taken to date with the ABC.
The ABC refused to apologise despite not exercising its right to challenge the ruling. As a result the FHA was left with no alternative other than to set about taking defamation action against the ABC and Fairfax.
Professor Charles Birch launches the FHA’s website
‘The FHA has had a positive and creative influence on many...’ (Professor Birch at the Australian Museum, 16 Oct. 1998).
Professor Charles Birch says the ABC should ‘apologise for its mistake’
Professor Charles Birch wrote to the ABA saying, ‘I have the greatest respect for the Foundation For Humanity’s Adulthood and its director Jeremy Griffith...I consider it would be the only right thing for the ABC to admit the bias of the Four Corners program and to apologise for its mistake...’ (Professor Birch in his 13 Nov. 1998 letter to ABA acting chairman Gareth Grainger).
1996Complaint to the Independent Complaints Review Panel
In May 1996, the FHA complained to the ABC’s Independent Complaints Review Panel. The ICRP accepted the complaint, but the FHA decided to withdraw it due to the ICRP’s condition that the FHA relinquish its legal rights to take subsequent action against the ABC.
Complaint to the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA)
In August 1996, the FHA submitted a 900-page complaint concerning the ABC-TVFour Corners program to the ABA—Australia’s then media watchdog.
Our fundamental complaint was that the freedom of new ideas to be debated fairly and tolerantly in our society had been seriously violated.
1995ABC-TV Four Corners approach the FHA
In what was said to be a journey of exploration of the Foundation for Humanity’s Adulthood’s (FHA) insights into the human condition, in 1995 the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) engaged the FHA in an ABC-TV Four Corners program.
In April 1995, ABC-TV broadcast the Four Corners program ‘Prophet of Oz’ concerning the FHA, Jeremy Griffith and Tim Macartney-Snape. The program was produced by Reverend Dr David Millikan of the Uniting Church, who also wrote a full page article about the FHA in the Sydney Morning Herald, titled ‘Prophet of the Posh’.
The FHA became aware of the nature of the program prior to it going to air and sent more than a dozen substantial letters of complaint and appeal to the ABC prior to the broadcast, including the following:
A half-page advertisement ‘open letter’ to ABC managing director, Mr Brian Johns is placed in The Australian newspaper.
A joint letter of complaint from many parents of university students who were interested in the FHA’s ideas is also sent to Brian Johns.
Following the program, the FHA made numerous complaints, appeals and protests to the ABC-TV — all to no avail. Having been dismissed by the ABC, the FHA distributed thousands of documents attempting to redress the portrayal of the FHA, and held open days and public lectures to try and overcome the negative effects of the media reports that were published in response to the program.