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Why public servants should be impartial

Stephen Sedgwick The Public Service Commission, and the Public Service Board before that, has for many years issued guidance to public servants about making public comment on matters connected to their employment.

Public servants face longer working hours to boost productivity

Senator Eric Abetz.

NOEL TOWELL Australia's 160,000 federal public servants are facing an assault on their traditional 7-1/2 hour working day.

Impartial public servants deserve their freedom of tweets


MARKUS MANNHEIM Opinion The commonsense solution is, of course, to judge government employees by how they perform at work, not by what they say and do in their private lives.

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DHS under fire as Centrelink worker wins compensation appeal

The Department of Human Services has been savaged by a federal tribunal over its handling of bullying accusations at a Sydney Centrelink office.

NOEL TOWELL The Department of Human Services has been savaged by a federal tribunal over its handling of bullying accusations at a Sydney Centrelink office.

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ATO staff displaced by boss's lofty office plans

ATO Commissioner Chris Jordan will be moving into the ATO office in the Sydney CBD while the employees who work there are being moved to Parramatta.

NOEL TOWELL Australia's top taxman, Chris Jordan, is building himself a plush office suite at the top of the ATO's central Sydney office tower.

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Public Service Commissioner insists bureaucrats are not being gagged

Australian Public Service Commissioner, Steve Sedgwick.

NOEL TOWELL One of the nation's top bureaucrats has defended the right of government departments - including Prime Minister and Cabinet - to write their own social media policies and insists that Australia's bureaucrats are not being gagged or censored.

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Defence staff up in arms at charge for unsealed Russell car park

Public servants are crying foul, paying $11 a day for unsealed and pot-holed car parks.

NOEL TOWELL Public servants at Canberra's Defence hub are crying foul at being slugged $11 a day to park their vehicles in unsealed, eroded and potholed car parks.

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Push on for savings via shared services

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NOEL TOWELL Calls are growing for a public service super department to put all the Commonwealth's back room functions under one massive roof.

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Residents prepare for public servant influx when paid parking is introduced

Reservations: Barton and Kingston residents group members Rebecca Scouller, Ian Morison and Janet Hughes are concerned about the impact of paid parking in the parliamentary triangle on surrounding suburbs.

EMMA KELLY Inner south residents living on the fringe of the parliamentary triangle are bracing for an influx of public servants in their streets when paid parking is introduced midyear.

Public service jobs scrapped but staff still on the payroll


NOEL TOWELL More than 400 federal public servants are languishing in employment limbo after they lost their jobs but were kept on the government payroll.

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More public servants buy motorbikes to avoid Parliamentary Triangle parking fees

31 year old public servant, Nathan O'Brien of Nicholls.

BEN WESTCOTT Money-conscious public servants are heading to motorcycle stores in larger numbers in an attempt to dodge the ACT’s new pay-parking fees.

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Moral panic plagues the bureaucracy


The Canberra Times Public servants' rights to freedom of speech is not the simple matter it may seem at first glance.

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ACT prison officers' union says enterprise agreement negotiations lagging

Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC)

PHILLIP THOMSON Negotiations on the enterprise agreement covering the territory's prison officers are lagging, according to the union at the bargaining table.

Free speech gives government a licence to eavesdrop

technology snooping surveillance privacy private social media tech

NOEL TOWELL In an office in the Immigration Department's Canberra headquarters in early 2011, a public servant was hunched in front of a computer monitor experimenting with something called Radian6.

Immigration department accused, but other departments track more social media

Scott Morrison minister for Immigration and Border Protection.

NOEL TOWELL The Immigration Department has been left behind by other government departments in monitoring Australia's social media chatter.

Customs to axe another 100 jobs before July: union


PHILLIP THOMSON Another 100 jobs are set to be cut from Customs and Border Protection before the end of the financial year, according Australia’s biggest union looking after public servants.

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NFSA sheds 28 staff, cuts Canberra film screenings

National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra.

SALLY PRYOR Twenty-eight staff positions will be cut at the NFSA and the regular screenings at ARC Cinema will be a thing of the past, following a major restructure announced on Friday.

Education Department spends $50,000 on second spin doctor contract


NOEL TOWELL The federal Education Department’s spending this year on private sector image-making advice is now up to $145,000.

Government cyber snoops scouring social media

Social media.

Noel Towell and Amy McNeilage Federal government departments are using increasingly powerful cyber-snooping equipment to monitor the social media lives of millions of Australians.

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National Film and Sound Archive faces job cuts from efficiency dividend

National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra.

SALLY PRYOR National Film and Sound Archive staff are due to meet with management on Friday amid fears of job cuts at the institution.

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Defence staff worried over back pay as award negotiations delayed

Community and Public Sector Union national secretary Nadine Flood.

PHILLIP THOMSON Defence staff have been told bargaining for their new work agreement will not start for another three months.

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Lashing of public service spending has a long history

Public service

NOEL TOWELL An Abbott government mauling of the public service would be in keeping with a 140-year-old of Australian political tradition.

Public servants to lose tax-free pay when working overseas

The Foreign Affairs department boss says former AusAID staff are to lose the tax-free exemptions when on overseas postings.

NOEL TOWELL Hundreds of Australian public servants working overseas on aid programs will lose their tax-free wages.

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Tax office deputy commissioner Stephanie Martin quits, mining tax collection in doubt

Former Resource Rent Tax Australian Tax Office deputy commissioner Stephanie Martin.

GARETH HUTCHENS The head of the tax department responsible for collecting the federal government’s minerals resource rent tax has just quit her position.

Public service a 'disappearing art', says former mandarin Gary Sturgess

Public service observer Gary Sturgess.

PHILLIP THOMSON Former mandarin Gary Sturgess has voiced concerns about the ability of bureaucrats to speak truth to power.

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Union takes issue with public service social media 'dob in' policy


Noel Towell, Sarah Whyte and Markus Mannheim The federal government does not own the bodies, souls or speech of its public servants, Human Rights Commission head says.

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Antarctic Division may look to sponsors for funds as Environment Department budget is slashed

The Australian Antarctic Division might be forced to fund itself with charitable donations.

NOEL TOWELL One of Australia's flagship research agencies might be forced to fund itself with charitable donations and commercial sponsorships.

Dream job comes up in Kakadu as Department of Environment axe falls elsewhere

The Department of Environment is advertising a job in Kakadu.

PHILLIP THOMSON A job opportunity to oversee a world heritage-listed national park the size of a small European country comes with a catch.

Public service's leaked guide to dobbing on colleagues is now 'secret'

(FILES) A view of and Apple iPhone displaying the Facebook app's splash screen in front of the login page May 10, 2012 in Washington, DC. More than half of US Facebook members have taken breaks from the leading social network, with the top reason being they are just too busy, according to a study released February 5, 2013. About 61 percent of US users said they had taken time off from Facebook at some point, with 27 percent planning to spend less time on it in the coming year, the Pew Research Center said. The largest group -- 21 percent -- said they had taken a break because they were too busy. Other reasons included being

MARKUS MANNHEIM Prime Minister Tony Abbott's department has taken the bizarre step of declaring that its advice on how staff should use Facebook and Twitter is a secret, even though it has been reported across the country.

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Social Media Policy of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet's secret Social Media Policy is now available via Fairfax Media.

Environment Department: Parks to pay their way, says review

The money-making potential of Australia's national parks, including Uluru and Kakadu could soon be tapped by a federal government department facing a budget crisis.

NOEL TOWELL The money-making potential of Australia's national parks, including Uluru and Kakadu, could soon be tapped by a federal government department facing a desperate budget crisis.

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Environment Department cuts staff in a bid to slash budget

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NOEL TOWELL More than 250 public servants from federal Department of Environment will be out of a job by Christmas as the department tries to cut its budget by more than 20 per cent.

APS Gazette employment pages in doubt

Stephen Sedgwick.

NOEL TOWELL The federal public service looks set to abandon more than a century of tradition and end the publication of employment movements in the venerable APS Gazette.

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DMO chief Warren King jumps to his staff's defence

Warren King

PHILLIP THOMSON Defence Materiel Organisation chief Warren King has blasted criticisms of his $9.5 billion-a-year agency.

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Comcare: ACT government gets $80m insurance bill

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PHILLIP THOMSON The ACT government has the fourth-highest insurance premium of 120 government organisations covered by Comcare.

New-look Senate just the job for a person who likes a challenge

Usher of the Black Rod Bronwyn Notzon.

PHILLIP THOMSON Parliament is looking for someone armed with a big stick to keep the new-look Senate under control.

Ms Fix-it


Jane Cadzow As chief of staff to Tony Abbott, Peta Credlin is regarded as the organisational brain behind the prime minister - and by some as having way too much power.

Fraud-buster squad to go after unpaid tax millions

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NOEL TOWELL The ATO has formed a 2200-strong fraud-busting unit to intimidate fraudsters evading millions in tax dollars.

Call to arms for public servants scared for jobs: 'Let’s have this fight'


PHILLIP THOMSON The head of the nation’s biggest public service union has delivered a rousing call to arms to tens of thousands of government workers by questioning Tony Abbott’s mandate to cut the bureaucracy.

Paid parking in Parliamentary Triangle: Workers chase big pay rises to cover fees

Public servants will need pay rises of nearly $400 this year just to cover the cost of parking in the Parliamentary Triangle.

NOEL TOWELL Rank-and-file Canberra public servants will need pay rises of nearly $4000 this year just to cover the cost of parking.

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Jobs pain at new high, public sector freeze to stay

Public service bosses have been warned they cannot

NOEL TOWELL Public service bosses have been warned they cannot ''wait out'' the Abbott government's hiring freeze.

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Public servants union says government is picking a big fight

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NOEL TOWELL Government has picked a ''big industrial brawl'' with its ''ugly'' approach to the jobs of 160,000 federal public servants, according to the service's main union.

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Bullying complaint without a workplace


NOEL TOWELL Arnold Balthazaar was so desperate to stop Centrelink public servants bullying him that he took his case to the workplace tribunal.


GST must rise as deficit decade looms for budget, says Treasury boss Martin Parkinson

Martin Parkinson, Secretary, Dept of Treasury.

Peter Martin and Mark Kenny Treasury boss Martin Parkinson says the goods and services tax will have to be boosted or broadened if the budget is to have any hope of returning to surplus.

ASIO chief David Irvine to step down in September

David Irvine, Director-General of Security with the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO)

JOHN GARNAUT Australia's top spy is hanging up his trench coat after five unusually high-profile years fighting terrorism, cyber espionage and leaks from "trusted insiders" like Edward Snowden.

Tony Abbott asks Treasury secretary Martin Parkinson to stay on until G20 summit in November

Martin Parkinson

Gareth Hutchens, James Massola Treasury secretary Martin Parkinson has received a stay of execution from the Abbott government.

Public sector job vacancies creep higher

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NOEL TOWELL Public sector job vacancies in Canberra have recovered slightly from the all-time-low recorded late last year, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures.

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Foreign affairs public servants on collision course with their bosses

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NOEL TOWELL Left-leaning AusAID trade unionists crushed their conservative DFAT colleagues in an internal power struggle.

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Education paid outside spin doctor $95,000 for three weeks


NOEL TOWELL The federal Education Department has paid consultants more than $5500-a-day for advice on managing its image.

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Tax Office to ditch up to 100 call centre positions

As many as 100 full-time call centre jobs could be lost from the Australian Taxation office.

PHILLIP THOMSON As many as 100 full-time call centre jobs could be lost when the ATO introduces voice identification.

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The Diary: April 2014

Courses, conferences and events for public servants.

'I deserve a promotion.'

We put your workplace problems to a lawyer and an executive coach.

Ethics of job applications

Is it lawful for a public servant to pay for help with a job application?

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Give us your opinion ...

The public service's conservative approach to FOI under Abbott.

Waiting out a phoney war

Coming up with effective policies is harder than the Coalition expected.

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Dummy's guide to politics

The Abbott govt has a knack for 'creating its own realities'.

Echoes of Eichmann

Should a public servant implement a morally objectionable policy?

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Reflection on realpolitik

Canada's ex-opposition leader has learned, through defeat, what is needed to win in politics.

Super hoax or stuff-up?

Our superannuation system is wasteful and misleading.

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