All Blog Posts (605)

How to achieve APS staff cuts without blowing the budget

I was thinking about how expensive it is for the Abbott government to pay for all those redundancies in order to achieve the staff cuts it wants to achieve.

I think I can help. So Senator Abetz and Public Service Commissioner Sedgwick, please think about the following proposal.

Form a specialist team and have them make a list of all the public service employees (at any level) who have been identified as bullies in grievances or complaints over a given period (depending…


Added by Leroy on December 18, 2013 at 3:37pm — 43 Comments

S36 compulsory psychiatric assessments may be repealed. SRC Act 1988

Peter Hanks QC reviewed the Safety Rehabilitation & Compensation Act (1988) in February 2013, and recommended repealing S36 appointments. DEEWR have not yet released the new revised version.

This repeal - if it goes through - will be one less way for psychopaths to bully, harass and shame staff.

Yet, S36 appointment may be used in the Fair Work Commission on 1 Jan 2014, as an instance of bullying used against staff.

I wonder if new reviewed version of the Act will be…


Added by Kalisvati Jule on December 13, 2013 at 9:47pm — 59 Comments

Public service performance management - A sick and costly failure



Typically, many public servants start taking leave for the festive season at the end of the second week of December. It must, therefore, really impress them to view a school masterly lecture on underperformance in the Canberra Times - …


Added by steve davies on December 9, 2013 at 9:30am — 3 Comments

The Australian Taxation Office slaps down staff

I was so looking forward to winding down in the lead up to the festive season. It doesn't look like this is going to happen.

The Canberra Times reports that the Australian Taxation Office needs major overhaul to avoid slipping backwards, review warns. True, but it makes…


Added by steve davies on December 5, 2013 at 8:01am — 3 Comments

Is the Australian Public Service Commission hiding monitoring and surveillance?

Last month I wrote an extensive  piece entitled Australia: One nation under surveillance. In this post I outlined the role of Australia Public Service agencies in monitoring and surveillance. Logical argument was put and evidence provided.

On 26 November 2013 I lodged a Freedom of information request with the Australian Public Service Commission. In that request I pointed…


Added by steve davies on December 2, 2013 at 8:30am — 6 Comments

CORRUPTION IN CANBERRA (Attn: Australian Public Sector Anti-Corruption Conference 2013)

[On November 27-28 the Australian Public Sector Anti-Corruption Conference 2013 runs at the Sydney Hilton. Too much corruption is hidden; stonewalled within internal complaint channels or buried by conflicted media. So instead let's use social media to tell the world: I e-mailed attendees directly, including Dr Peter Eigen of Transparency International (who gave the keynote speech) who needs to…

Added by Brendan Jones on November 27, 2013 at 10:00pm — No Comments

Feudal Australia


Once upon a time, not so long ago,each APS Agency administered its own particular legislation. Each Agency knew the principles which Parliament had espoused in making that legislation. Each knew the reasons why the legislation had been amended from time to time.


Each time the legislation was challenged in court, the particular Agency looked at the case in the broader context of what outcome would serve the ultimate purpose of the Parliament (ie the people), rather than…


Added by Leroy on November 27, 2013 at 7:51am — 10 Comments

About surveillance

Covert surveillance can uncover many things. Perhaps mistakes a person has made in their youth. Perhaps the unwholesome appetites of persons who appear to be pillars of our community. Perhaps activities that are perfectly legal but would be frowned on by one's family or friends. 

If surveillance uncovers such a thing, what power is given to the person or organisation that now has the secret in its possession?  If the person whose secret has been stolen is a religious leader, a judge,…


Added by Leroy on November 25, 2013 at 2:27pm — No Comments

Australia: One nation under surveillance

What we are seeing in Australia today is a veil of censorship, secrecy and the surveillance being drawn across government and Australian Public Service agencies. When it comes to monitoring by public service agencies there is a dangerous lack of transparency and accountability.


All of this is a threat our freedoms, our right to know, better government and better…


Added by steve davies on November 22, 2013 at 7:00am — 5 Comments

Trans-Pacific Partnership: Eroding freedom and innovation

Wikileaks has done the world an enormous favour by leaking intellectual property rights charter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.


Intellectual property rights might seem abstract for many of us. However, just consider for a moment that it is the free flow of information - of what we know, what we create, what we dream up - that makes us who we are. It is what shapes the sort of society we live in and, in a very practical…


Added by steve davies on November 18, 2013 at 10:30am — 2 Comments

All secrets great and small

Yesterdays publication of the draft text for the entire TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) Intellectual Property Rights Chapter by Wikileaks raises serious questions about the relationship between the Australian Government, the community and the Australian Public Service.



Added by steve davies on November 15, 2013 at 8:30am — 2 Comments

#APSfail 3 & 4 - Performance and Empowerment

I've been taking a close look at the Public Service Commissioner's speech Where to now? Thoughts on future public sector reform. This speech was given to the Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management (CAPAM) Regional Conference - Kuching, Malaysia 29 October…


Added by steve davies on November 11, 2013 at 9:30am — 9 Comments

#APSfail 1 & 2 - Change and inspiration

It must do the wonders for the moral of employees of Australian Public Service agencies to read newspaper headlines like,


The 'sleepy' decade is over. We must evolve.

Canberra Times



Added by steve davies on November 7, 2013 at 11:00am — 4 Comments

APS Disciplinary reviews: 'Contradictions' by the APSC Ethics Manager?

Friday's Canberra Times ran an article 'Jump in requests for disciplinary reviews', with Acting commissioner Karin Fisher telling us it's due to a "crackdown on bad public service."…


Added by Brendan Jones on November 4, 2013 at 11:33am — 3 Comments

The Australian Public Service thinks the barbarians are at the gate

The Australian Public Service Commission has issued a cyber-bullying guide for public service agencies. The introduction states,

Cyber-bullying is an emerging issue for APS employees, associated with increasing use of social media and other online networking tools. From time to time, clients and other members of the community criticise agencies online because they are dissatisfied with agency services or the administration of government policy. Sometimes, however,…


Added by steve davies on October 29, 2013 at 10:00am — 19 Comments

Your help needed : Research into cyber bullying in the Australian public sector



I was recently contacted by Felicity Lawrence of Queensland University of Technology concerning an international research project on workplace cyber bullying in the Australian public sector.


Two doctoral researchers, Felicity Lawrence from the Queensland University of Technology,…


Added by steve davies on October 29, 2013 at 7:56am — No Comments

Army started Blue Mountain Bushfire: No consequences for incompetence

Interesting letters in the SMH today about the revelations the Army started the bushfire in the Blue Mountains:

Emma McGirr point out that if an individual or a business did this, they…


Added by Brendan Jones on October 25, 2013 at 10:13am — 3 Comments

The pathological tendencies of the Australian Public Service

Yesterday a good colleague of mine raised the question of what the diagnosis would be if public service managers were psychoanalysed. They were talking about those managers who somehow think it is normal to destroy lives and careers.

During our conversation I raised the question of what it is about public service agencies that encourages destructive practices and behaviours. What is it that encourages otherwise good people to do bad things? What is it that encourages…


Added by steve davies on October 22, 2013 at 11:59am — 2 Comments

Hold Corrupt Public Servants *Personally Liable*

There is a quite wonderful tort called Misfeasance in Public Office which allows a corrupt public servant to be held personally liable.

Hit them where in hurts! In their own pocket!

The law was created in 1703 by Chief Justice Holt who allowed a man to sue a constable who refused to let him vote. When public servants close ranks to protect their corrupt brethren, this is the tort you should use:

"Misfeasance in…


Added by Brendan Jones on October 22, 2013 at 10:50am — 7 Comments

Individuals can be fined for workplace bullying

From Sydney Morning Herald 26 September

The Work Health and Safety Act provides for individuals to be fined for bullying in the workplace:

$100,000 for a "category one" offence and up to $600,000 for the most serious "category three" breach of the Work Health and Safety Act, which might cover the suicide of a bullied worker.


Fines are to be paid by the individual, not their employer.


There is no kind of insurance that will…


Added by Cathie Thorp on October 21, 2013 at 9:22pm — 5 Comments

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