How Centrelink cost Australians 143 years

Noel Towell   Australians spent a combined total of 143 years on hold to Centrelink in 2013-2014, before simply giving up, auditor finds.


Latest Public Service news

Company cleaning public service buildings slams wage cuts

Cleaning with bleach has been linked with incidences of the flu and tonsillitis.

Phillip Thomson 2:15 PM   First the cleaners complained after losing $6000 a year. Now the cleaning companies have gripes.

Another APS wage deal crushed in vote

CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood  claimed the vote as a significant win for her union.

Noel Towell 10:58 AM   Public servants at the Department of Industry have rejected a new wage deal in three-to-one workplace ballot drubbing.

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Estimates targets 'misleading' public service union

Public Service Commisioner John Lloyd

Phillip Thomson 10:43 AM   Public servants are missing out on pay rises up to 7 times better than one cost of living index, senator says.

Border Force faces pay mutiny

CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood says the anger was palpable among frontline Customs officers in particular.

Noel Towell 9:55 AM   ┬áPublic servants transferring from Customs are 'going ballistic' over a move they say will leave them thousands of dollars out of pocket.

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'Dipshit': senior public servant lets loose

Senator Bill Heffernan during a Senate Estimates Hearing at Parliament House Canberra on Monday 26 May 2014. Photo: Andrew Meares

Phillip Thomson 9:14 AM   Angry bureaucrat kept waiting at Senate estimates hearing uses the time to pen letter.

First rats, then bog rolls

Toilet paper.

Noel Towell 11:30 PM   Department replaces controversial rats icon ... with toilet paper.

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Single FoI costs taxpayers $80,000

Doug Cameron says a review into freedom of information requests is a waste of money.

Phillip Thomson   It's an average Australian's yearly salary, but one request for information sent this amount of money into the pockets of consultants.

$6000 a year pay cut for DFAT cleaners

Cleaning with bleach has been linked with incidences of the flu and tonsillitis.

Phillip Thomson   Tony Abbott made a 'crystal clear' promise to cleaners last year. Now they've taken at a 15% pay cut.

We won't go: public servants won't relocate to rural towns

Barnaby Joyce wants to move public servants from the Grains Research Development Corporation's Barton office to Wagga.

Phillip Thomson   $400/sqm in Canberra versus $200/sqm in Wagga, but the bureaucrats want nothing to do with it.

Furry fury as public servants depicted as rats

Is being depicted as a mouse less offensive than a rat?

Noel Towell   Departmental bosses say it was a mouse, not a rat.

Public servants' family lives under attack

Former federal department secretary Stephen Duckett.

Phillip Thomson   Senate estimates hearings are a "disgraceful experience" which need reforming, according to former federal department secretary Stephen Duckett.

Immigration chief opens up jobs

Immigration Department head Michael Pezzullo

Phillip Thomson   The Department of Immigration and Border Protection, under the leadership of secretary Mike Pezzullo, has become a revolving door of jobs, with 15 senior executives having left so far this year and many new opportunities for mid-level executives.

Five-minute calls to Centrelink come with a catch

Centrelink employees face a range of issues when answering speaking on the phone with customers.

Noel Towell   Centrelink phone lines have their best day in years - while the heat is on.

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My life in a Centrelink call centre

After doing a post-graduate degree, men find jobs more easily than women.

I answer the phones for Centrelink. I see abuse, tears and anguish. And new measures mean it's not getting better.

Anzac Day parking snub proves costly

A pay parking fine given on an ACT Government Anzac Day 'holiday' on Monday April 27, 2015.

Phillip Thomson   'Pay up or we'll see you in court': Thousands had day off work but NCA says it was no public holiday.

Public servants' pay 'safety net' leaves a long way to fall

What a difference a fortnight makes. Social Services Minister Scott Morrison was the savior of the government when he announced proposed changes to the pension regime before the budget.

Markus Mannheim   New minimum wages are far below what all government staff now receive.

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Finance Dept's 780 losers: grad program cull


Phillip Thomson   800 applicants for agency's 20 jobs while new ad touts breast-feeding and choir to show it's not heartless.

Days of drudgery, abuse and threats on Centrelink's phones

Centrelink employees face a range of issues when answering speaking on the phone with customers.

Noel Towell   Centrelink call centre worker tells of her days filled with threats, abuse, unpaid overtime and desperate attempts to help clients in trouble.

Centrelink drops everything to answer phones

Centrelink employees face a range of issues when answering speaking on the phone with customers.

Noel Towell   Today is the best day in years to ring Centrelink as all hands are ordered to the phones.

ABC takes public servants off the air

ABC radio stations slapped a broadcast ban on Bureau of Meteorology forecasters.

Noel Towell   Public service bosses accused of "leaning on" national broadcaster.

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DFAT's high flyers reap promotion bonanza

More than 600 bureaucrats from DFAT, pictured, and the abolished overseas aid agency AusAID had inquired about a voluntary redundancy.

Noel Towell   Promotions bonanza breaks out at elite department.

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Hold on: The best and worst music while you wait


Allison Worrall   Does the Australian Tax Office have the best hold music in the country?

PS agency offered 0.3 percentage point rise

ComSuper provides superannuation administration services to scheme members in the public service.

Phillip Thomson   Fears for a rushed through offer and two-tiered system at small agency.

Canberra women undeserving of Abbott attacks

Katy Gallagher dinkus

Katy Gallagher   The Prime Minister's 'double-dipping' attack has been framed squarely at Canberra families.

Liberals lambast Barnaby Joyce's plans to move public service office

Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce.

Phillip Thomson   Oops! Someone wants to vacate Canberra office after signing a 10-year lease. Joyce's tough week continues.

APS bosses in pre-ballot marketing blitz


Noel Towell   Even the toilets at the Department of Industry are part of the battle zone as public servants prepare to vote.

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One-in-three odds of a work car park

Car parking.

Phillip Thomson   Finance staff do the numbers on securing a car park.

DFAT's top secret backlog

The DFAT building in Barton, Canberra.

Phillip Thomson   Eighteen months after DFAT-AusAID merger, many of the new faces await final piece of paper while question on notice reveals costs.

Fair Work Commission battles its own public servants

Where a fund starts paying a pension part way through a financial year, an actuarial certificate will still be required to work out how much income tax is due.

Noel Towell   The Fair Work Commission challenged legally by its own public servants.

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Intergenerational Report

The Treasury has weakened the entire public service's integrity.

SBS sacking is contestable

An industrial tribunal will care little for the broadcaster's political woes.

Discounting future lives

We can't afford to miscalculate the costs of runaway climate change.

A mockery of due process

Cormann needs to think more deeply about independence.

Are bureaucrats overpaid?

Time for a systemic review of the value of public servants' labour.

ACT's asbestos secrecy

The bizarre approach to telling people which houses may be toxic.

Ludicrous APS pay policy

Linking salaries to productivity at the agency level is bad economics.

Pied Piper of the boomers

Appraisals of Whitlam have been marred by narrow selectivity.

The art of delay

Governments can't put off policy decisions forever.

'Bully boss is killing me'

We put your workplace woes to an executive coach.

'Spy' who didn't shag me

Time to withdraw spurious claims against a brilliant public servant.

'Lost faith in my dept'

We put your workplace woes to an executive coach.

Bosses who hate their staff

How our lack of self-awareness hurts others and ourselves.

Risky, gung-ho policy

Bureaucrats should pay heed to Hippocrates: first, do no harm.