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A Cancerous Cancer Council Employee Epidemic?

Updated: Dec 2, 2021

December 2, 2021

by Pippa Starr

Most Australians by now would have heard of the Cancer Council and the great work they do. Many of us have helped them raise huge amounts of funding over a tea and a bikkie. Many have also bought daffodils near the cigarette counter at Woolies in the good Australian spirited way of helping out our mates who sadly might one day succumb to that awful C word.

Over the decades since 1961 the Cancer Council, formerly the Anti-cancer council and Australian cancer society in their humble beginnings, have helped many Australians.

As we slip slop slap into summer in Australia and return to our glorious beaches after the often-frustrating lock-downs we have endured over the last 2 years, it’s like Sid the seagull is still sitting on our shoulders squawking in our ears to Slip Slop Slap!

We are forever blessed with this wonderful slogan that was launched by the cancer council in 1981. The success of a great campaign is to have words and slogans embedded into the everyday Aussie vernacular, even better than that, no doubts that campaign alone has prevented many Australians from deadly melanomas.

The Cancer Council have done some tremendous work from educating and informing the community about reducing cancer risk to supporting cancer patients and their families during and after cancer treatment. In fact my significant other who sadly lost her father to cancer around 20 years ago is still grateful for the support that helped her get through that difficult time.

Over the years, Cancer Council Australia has now become a body that advises the Australian Government and other bodies on practice and policies to help prevent, detect and treat cancer.

They have grown into a mammoth charity that last year turned over $241 million across all states and territories and received over $62 mill from government tax revenue.

It’s not all good news though I’m afraid.

Don’t fear Sid hasn’t got a melanoma on his wise beak or been affected with a smoking related disease, because thankfully he is a good role model and doesn’t smoke.

It appears however, there are signs of a different non medically diagnosed type of cancer infecting this once great organisation.

I say once great because over the last few years there appears to be a cultural epidemic within the organisation that is extremely concerning and not quite as endearing as our good ol' friend Sid.

Since around 2017 it appears that there could be an internal culture growing at an epidemic proportion that is indeed very un-endearing. The epidemic seems to have spread throughout its entire nationwide operations.

It appears there is a significant number of disgruntled staff based on the massive amount of comments made by recent former staff members online.

One doesn’t have to look to far online to read such concerns as what you will see in the links below: (bottom of article)

It's damning, disturbing and would turn the beak of any CEO from any organisation,

yet this is only just a small sample of some of the concerning comments easily found online.

According to their website the Cancer Council state:

“Working at Cancer Council gives you access to a range of great benefits to help maximise your income, develop your skills and experience as well as create a positive work life balance. We aim to provide an environment for you to be happy, healthy and productive during your time at Cancer Council. “

Sadly their workplace description seems very far from the reality. Sure, large organisations go through growing pains, but the cancer council has a deep long history spanning over four decades to get that right.

What has changed?

I think that is the important question that must be answered to the Australian public as we don’t wish to see $62 million dollars or more of our hard-earned taxes plus our tea & bikkie money going up in smoke.

Speaking of smoking, the Cancer council runs Quitline.

That appears to be a major focus of their operations these days.

It's an important service that marginally assists some smokers to quit smoking.

Last year Cancer Council Vic/ Quitline Victoria director Sarah White personally blocked me on twitter under the “Quit Vic” account, after I questioned why LGBTI services were being highlighted. I simply made a comment that I thought that all public services in Australia now have to comply with anti-discrimination objectives in that regard, don’t they?

(or similar, now I can’t go back to original because I’m blocked)

In hindsight, it highlights to me that could be yet another example of the typical style of behavior within the Cancer Council culture exhibited to many employees that is now spilling into it's online presence.

Especially when one considers former employees appear to be saying things

along the lines of negative work environment where possibly managers blame their team for their own ineptitude.

For the sakes of all the great work that many do within the Cancer Council Australia,

I really hope they can get past this horrid culture,

but I think it’s past time our government conduct a full and through investigation as to why taxes are being dished out to an organisation that appears to be fast getting a very poor employee reputation and dare I say one that could also effect those marginalized in general public, as exhibited with my personal online experience with the Cancer council's Quit Victoria Director.

For the sakes of saving our much-loved Sid:

It’s time to slip on some sensibility

Slop on some transparency

& Slap on a hat that stands for an organisation that Australian’s can be proud of!

Wish to see more of the online comments?

Links here:


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