All Blog Posts (640)

Legal Services Directions 2005

Well, well, well ... while we weren't looking, it seems that the former ALP Federal AG, Mark Dreyfus, made changes to the way alleged breaches to the Legal Services Directions 2005 (Directions), conferred under s 55ZF of the Judiciary Act 1903 (Cth) (Judiciary Act) are monitored and assessed. Of course, such changes were made to benefit the Commonwealth and not the ordinary, struggling litigant up against the might of…

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Added by Convict on October 18, 2014 at 9:31pm — 2 Comments

ACTKM14 Conference - Creating Value from Your Information and Knowledge

Are you passionate about how organisations learn, develop and are managed?

I am excited to be presenting at the IIM National Conference in Canberra on the 27-28 October. My experiential workshop is on empowering open government.

The proposition I will be putting forward is…

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Added by steve davies on October 15, 2014 at 9:48am — No Comments

How Defamation muzzles Government critics (and why your Power Bill is so high...)

An example of how defamation muzzles government critics, though this story has a happy ending thanks to Fairfax Buisiness Journalist Michael West.



It regards farmer Bruce Robertson who blew the whistle on corruption in the power industry. At that, the *government owned* power industry:



"Governments should not sue their citizens for exercising their right to an opinion and Grid Australia is a…

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Added by Brendan Jones on October 13, 2014 at 10:30am — No Comments

APS silence is not golden

On 6 October Michaela Banerji - the public servant unjustifiably hounded out of her job for posting anonymously as a private citizen - sent a submission to the Australian Public Service Commission to assist them with their work concerning the disclosure of the outcomes of misconduct complaints.

Michaela prefaced her submission with the following points:

  • The commission cited a recent case where the Immigration Department was found to have hidden behind…
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Added by steve davies on October 9, 2014 at 10:10am — No Comments

What hope for accountability?

Really concerned...

Seems like the terrorists have taken square aim at our democracy and appear to be winning.

I absolutely believe that new anti-terror laws have political ends and are not in our interests.  And I don't believe any benefits from them outweigh the risks from them.

Accountability is a cornerstone of democracy and removing accountability for spy agencies, which are supposed to serve the community as a whole, is not a reason why we elect any…

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Added by Prof Freud on October 7, 2014 at 12:55am — 6 Comments

Musing on the future

The unwillingness to let people speak derives from fear of what they might say. And limits the spread on information. Secrecy removes the need for accountability. Many public servants have found themselves in a moral double-bind upon receiving a direction to act in a way that is inconsistent with the law and/or the public interest. Some have been punished for speaking out.…

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Added by Cassandra March on October 5, 2014 at 2:27pm — 1 Comment

Christopher Pyne channels Barry Jones

Loved the scientists on last week's Q&A - great to hear intelligent factual discussion.  The young female scientist who won Young Australian of the Year is inspirational and is ahead of her years.

This week was pleasantly surprised that Christopher Pyne said something which I thought was very interesting:

I think  (Laura Tingle) made a lot of very good points about the press gallery and I think... there are very, very few…

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Added by Prof Freud on October 3, 2014 at 12:59am — 7 Comments

APS Misconduct - Putting the public first

18 September 2014 The Canberra Times says Australian Pubic Service bosses told to open up on complaints. In his piece Canberra Times reporter Noel Towell writes,

In a discussion paper about what information should be provided to complainants, Merit Protection Commissioner Karin Fisher says departments "err on…

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Added by steve davies on September 30, 2014 at 2:00pm — 4 Comments

The collapse of governance - Australia leads the way

As if right on cue todays Canberra Times published a piece written by Fairfax's Philip Dorling concerning the tapping of the major Australia-New Zealand undersea telecommunications cable. Philip says,

A major undersea telecommunications cable that connects Australia and New Zealand to North America has been tapped to allow the United States…

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Added by steve davies on September 16, 2014 at 12:30pm — 3 Comments

Open Letter: Debunking Dreyfus on Free Speech, Rights Abuses under the Labor Party

A month ago we had the Human Right Commission's Free Speech Mass Debate.

It was a farce; almost entirely lawyers (who have a lucrative industry suppressing free speech), and it steered well clear of issues like free speech for public servants, whistleblowers and ordinary people being screwed over by the government.

But what really disturbed me was the way ALP Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus had the audience - particularly a fawning media - wrapped around his…

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Added by Brendan Jones on September 11, 2014 at 3:13pm — No Comments

Does Tax Office culture encourage abuse?

Yet again we have anti-Semitic acts within the Tax Office being called out in the media. The headline in todays Herald Sun?

Australian Tax Office investigates Nazi graffiti at its Box Hill office

Full report from…

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Added by steve davies on September 3, 2014 at 1:46pm — 13 Comments

The politics of above politics

Yesterday Latika Bourke reported that Labor Senator Sue Lines accused the Prime Minister of using national security and the situation in Iraq to distract from its budget woes and improve his position in the polls. The response to Senator Lines was predictable with Government MP Alex…

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Added by steve davies on August 29, 2014 at 11:30am — No Comments

Australia's Bystander Democracy

On 7 August 2014 the Australian Human Rights Commission hosted the free speech 2014 symposium

The general focus of the event was,

Free speech is fundamental to a free and democratic society

But . . .  is…

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Added by steve davies on August 28, 2014 at 12:00pm — 2 Comments

Tax Office bullying and mobbing knows no bounds

Over the past couple of months it has been my privilege to assist Mr Stephen Strelecky, a former ATO employee, and Rebekah Cavanagh, Herald Sun crime reporter, in capturing the story of Stephen’s abuse and mobbing at the hands of the ATO.

Stephen’s story is now available online at the…

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Added by steve davies on August 7, 2014 at 12:00pm — 19 Comments

Australian Public Service autocracy undermines democracy #freespeech2014

Tomorrow the Australian Human Rights Commission will be hosting a one day symposium on free speech. This event will be live streamed. I have been informed that the live streaming details will be available soon. If you intend to participate online please check here for the live streaming details.

When tweeting please make sure you use the hashtag #freespeech2014

It's a bit of a worry…

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Added by steve davies on August 6, 2014 at 1:33pm — 8 Comments

A different approach

Recent experiences seem to me to support the conclusion that it is pointless to conduct litigation against the Commonwealth in an honorable manner.

I have been considering the Model Litigant Obligation, particularly where the Commonwealth, or one of its Agencies, has achieved their court win by failing to honour the Commonwealth's obligation to act fairly. Even though that obligation exists independently of the Legal Services Directions.

To rub salt into very raw wounds, the…

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Added by Cheryl Robyn Weeks on August 3, 2014 at 9:21am — 29 Comments

Decision avoidance in the ATO

Traditionally, responsibility for decision-making in the public service was distributed by delegation. For example, I was once employed in a role in a State government department. I held a formal delegation under the relevant Act (administered by the Department) which stated what powers I could exercise and the maximum amount of expenditure I could authorise.

It worked extremely well. I knew precisely what my…

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Added by Leroy on July 30, 2014 at 6:09pm — 3 Comments

Will new laws threaten our privacy?

This voluminous Guardian article is especially for Steve. I haven't read the whole thing, but I have been necessarily concerned about the infiltration of our online data by government for some time.

Take for example that from this financial year, anyone wanting to use the ATO's e-tax is forced to register for a "MyGov" account, which is the parent account to link other government accounts (Centrelink, Medicare, CSA, ATO). This is new for 2014. Why should anyone have to link to an ATO…

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Added by Convict on July 26, 2014 at 9:35pm — No Comments

ATO's rotten culture revealed - Canberra Times article

Thought this was worth posting.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/atos-rotten-culture-revealed-20140721-zvdti.html

My take on this:

  • 6,000 ATO employees don’t trust their employer.
  • The Australian Taxation Office's internal culture…
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Added by Prof Freud on July 23, 2014 at 12:57am — 5 Comments

Your ATO - Win at all costs. Reputation at all costs.

A very good piece in yesterdays Canberra Times by Noel Towell - Tax Office sued for $6m after allegedly ruining a man's life

"The Sydney man says he lost his business, his home, his marriage and his health trying to fight the legal might of the Tax Office after a botched tax bill based on ''incorrect methodologies''…

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Added by steve davies on July 18, 2014 at 10:30am — 4 Comments

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