Mid-year forecast spares public service... for now

Phillip Thomson   MYEFO announcement leaves door open for more public service cuts.

Latest Public Service news

It's OK David, spending billions is hard


Phillip Thomson 10:48 AM   Does DFAT want to build the cone of silence? BMWs or Holdens? Public servants could tell the Defence Minister how tough tenders are.

Public service FOI runaround exposed

Transparency secrecy generic

Markus Mannheim 10:47 PM   Report finds the Department of Human Service's FOI staff became secretive and obsessed with process.

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ATO scratchies scheme hits snag in sickies fight

Generic Christmas tree

Noel Towell 11:30 PM   Scheme discriminates against public servants who don't show up, says union.

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Public sector redundancy bill sails past $1 billion

Senator Mathias Corman denies he made any promise other than to do some thinking.

Noel Towell   The redundancy bill for departing public servants and other government workers will be more than $1.1 billion in just three years, the latest government data shows.

Employment Department's wage offer 'trounced'


Noel Towell   The Abbott government's public service wage policy has been rejected in a landslide by bureaucrats working in Public Service Minister Eric Abetz's department.

Education Department signals 110 redundancies

School student

Phillip Thomson   When attrition doesn't work, the cuts hit home.

Surplus bombs leave $23m hole in Defence books

Australian defence force exercise Chong Ju at Puckapunyal.

Phillip Thomson   The Defence Department has destroyed 85 surplus missiles worth $23 million in the past 18 months.

Centrelink's slap on the wrist for shocking privacy breach

Generic files

Noel Towell   A Centrelink manager who left dozens of client files on public transport earlier this year has been let off with a small fine.

Comcare warns public servants about drugs and drink at Christmas parties

Comcare has advised public servants that being drunk or high on non-prescription drugs at a work function will void compensation claims unless they are for death or serious injury.

Noel Towell   Water pistols deemed too dangerous for public service Christmas parties.

King hit public servant's compo bid fails

Compo bid fails

Phillip Thomson   A public servant king hit while on a night out with colleagues has lost his bid for compensation.

David Kalisch new ABS boss

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has a new boss.

Phillip Thomson   Outsider brought in after a rough year, in more ways than one, for the bureau.

John Lloyd new Public Service Commissioner

New Public Service Commissioner John Lloyd.

Phillip Thomson   Stephen Sedgwick's replacement found. And he hates red tape and union militancy.

Bureaucracy must confront poor staff: Sedgwick

Outgoing Australian Public Service Commissioner Stephen Sedgwick.

Markus Mannheim   The federal bureaucracy sacked fewer employees in 2013-14 than at any other time in the past 15 years.

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Freedom of information law overseen by one man working from home

Information Commissioner Professor John McMillan has lost his staff but not his legal obligations.

Markus Mannheim   Agency head laughs off his 'slightly more awkward working environment', saying 'in an age of technology, it's possible'.

Tony Abbott's cleaners set for wage negotiations

Clean case: Cleaners who clean Parliament House, (front) Luzia Borges, (behind from left) Surin Harrison, Sengphet Luangraj, Joy Thaweechokamnuai, and Tatiana Stojkoska.

Phillip Thomson   Prime Minister Tony Abbott's cleaners will head into bargaining negotiations hoping for better pay and conditions on Monday.

Daniel Andrews can't save Canberra jobs

Job saviour: Daniel Andrews.

Phillip Thomson   The change of government in Victoria won't save 250 Australian Bureau of Statistics jobs in Canberra.

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Human Services' campaign is 'predictable' response to Tony Abbott's 'unfair' PS pay stance: Labor

Brendan O'Connor

The opposition has come out in support of the civil disobedience campaign of Department of Human Services' staff.

Sorry if you've been kept waiting ... it's the government's fault: DHS workers


Noel Towell   15,000 DHS public servants plan to make Thursday a tough day at the office for departmental bosses.

Grim economic forecast for Canberra shops

The ACT retail sector was Australia's weakest over the past year.

Markus Mannheim and David Winter   Canberrans' stagnating wages and reluctance to spend suggests the city's shops face a gloomy five years.

Defeat predicted for government in Employment Dept

Public service minister Eric Abetz.

Noel Towell   Employment Department tipped to reject govt's pay offer in a landslide.

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Why loyalty in the public service doesn't pay

Public service workers

Noel Towell   Loyalty to your Australian Public Service department will not make you happy, a Flinders University study shows.

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Public service's secret Christmas files

Will you overdo it at the office Christmas party?

Noel Towell   Public service departments are compiling confidential "risk profile" files on the likely activities of their workers at office Christmas parties.

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Duty calls John Fraser back to head Australia's treasury

Little choice: John Fraser says he's been lucky in life and is looking forward to giving back to Australia by running the treasury.

Peter Martin   John Fraser says he felt he had little choice when approached a few months ago in London about running Australia's treasury.

Canberra's latest phantom office block?

Finance Department's John Gorton Building.

Phillip Thomson   Taxpayers are spending millions of dollars on the John Gorton Building and not even the owner likes it.

'Isolated, insular, inflexible': ABS told it is too strict in public service review

'Some stakeholders have referred to the ABS as isolated, insular, inflexible and at times uncooperative.'

Noel Towell   The Australian Bureau of Statistics must "ease off on the independence" to safeguard its future.

John Fraser appointed Treasury Secretary

New Treasury Secretary: John Fraser.

Prime Minister says new secretary brings significant experience in the public and private sectors.

Long hours, bullying put fear in Health middle managers


Noel Towell   Capability Review reveals "command-and-control" culture at Health, with middle managers fearing promotion.

Public service clean, survey says, but corruption experts sceptical

Commonwealth officials have long said state, territory and local bureaucracies are far more corruption-prone.

Markus Mannheim   Just 2.6 per cent of public service staff witnessed a colleague engage in corrupt behaviour over the past year.

Veterans' Affairs' 'financially unsustainable, disjointed and slow'

Veterans' Affairs Department secretary Simon Lewis: DVA is "not keeping up with contemporary practice."

Noel Towell   Department needs "transformational change" as its problems impact on veterans, review finds.

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The delicate art of delaying decisions

There are benefits in seeking advice from outsiders but governments can't put off decisions forever.

'My bully boss is killing my career prospects'

We put your workplace conundrums to an executive coach.

Sex, spies and lies? The spurious case against ex-department head John Burton

It's time to withdraw public claims against one of Australia's most brilliant public servants.

The Informant Diary: November 2014

Courses, conferences and events for public servants.

'After years of firing staff, I've lost faith in my department'

We put your workplace conundrums to an executive coach.

Supervisors who hate their staff but don't know how to tell them

Judy and Carina: a common tale of how our lack of self-awareness hurts others and ourselves.

Risky business: home insulation, gung-ho policy and the endless fallout

Public servants should heed the Hippocratic dictum: first, do no harm. If that makes them seem unduly risk-averse, so be it.