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Thawley takeover sends shudders through PS

Mark Kenny and Phillip Thomson Public servants concerned of more to come as Tony Abbott reshapes senior executive ranks.

Comments 33

Why it costs a rumoured $200 to move a computer screen at the ATO

Tax Office staff have been told to stop grabbing an extra screen.

PHILLIP THOMSON Public servants must wait for outsourced company to relieve screen envy.

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Public service compensation claims reach $1 billion


PHILLIP THOMSON The cost of taxpayer funded payouts to bureaucrats has reached almost $1 billion in the past four years.

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Executive jobs to go as Immigration and Customs merge to form Australian Border Force

Immigration Department head Michael Pezzullo.

MARKUS MANNHEIM The purge of federal public service jobs will spare most immigration and customs staff as they prepare to form the new Australian Border Force.

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Ian Watt's message to PM&C staff

Dr Ian Watt, Secretary of Prime Minister

Ian Watt "I will miss my job greatly but, I suspect, much more than my job will miss me," says departing PM&C secretary Ian Watt in message to staff

Michael Thawley appointed new PM&C secretary as Ian Watt resigns

New boss: Michael Thawley will be the new secretary of the PM&C.

PHILLIP THOMSON Former ambassador to the United States takes over at Prime Minister and Cabinet, as Ian Watt stands down.

Norfolk Island leaders argue against rule by Canberra bureaucrats

Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism Lisle Snell and Minister for Finance Timothy Sheridan took Norfolk Island’s case to Parliament House on Thursday.

PHILLIP THOMSON Pacific territory's representatives take aim at department's capacity and call for referendum or plebiscite.


Tug of war compensation claim fails


PHILLIP THOMSON Former soldier calculates he lifted 739,000kg in the army, but questionnaires cast doubt on cause of back pain.

Bizarre attacks on deployment allowances make no sense and destroy morale

PAY: Anomalies aplenty.

NICHOLAS STUART Opinion What sounded like a sensible way to remunerate those who face greater danger has become a joke.

Strong Defence Force and healthy budget are Australia's insurance policy

ADF gap year: Katie Fenton was one of the program's first participants, signing up with the RAAF in 2008.

Stuart Robert Opinion This year's budget started building a better military after six years of neglect.

Australia should build and maintain its own submarine fleet

HMAS Collins, an Australian-built Collins-class submarine.

Stephen Conroy Opinion In strategically uncertain times, the last thing we should do is kill off our submarine industry.

Middle Eastern military campaigns undermine our regional ties

Australian soldiers from the 4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (Commando) encounter a herd of camels while training.

John Blaxland Opinion Tony Abbott needs to follow up on his pledge of 'more Jakarta and less Geneva', even when Middle Eastern issues distract.

Another century, another long war: the inevitable clash of radical Islam and secular society

Two Iranian women walk on a US flag in Tehran.

Peter Leahy Opinion We will lose a few battles while we struggle to comprehend this new conflict we have begun.

The war's first casualty was truth and a complicit media cheered it on

United: Defence Minister David Johnston, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin and Prime Minister Tony Abbott announce Australia's participation in strikes against Islamic State.

Kym Bergmann Opinion The public are being encouraged to support the war against Islamic State on the basis of skewed information.

Troops serving in Middle East condemn government's pay offer: 'We'll be worse off'

Anger: Australian soldiers say they will be forced to give up more in leave than they will get back in pay.

NICHOLAS STUART Soldiers on operational duty in the Middle East have condemned the government's below-inflation pay offer, saying it will leave many of them worse off.

Abbott government rips up the rulebook for the ATO's new building

Mathias Cormann.

NOEL TOWELL Value-for-money guidelines bypassed while ATO pays rent on 50,000 square metres of excess space.

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Women in uniform: is our scandalised military finally heading in the right direction?

Top of the class: Then governor-general Quentin Bryce hands the 2012 Queen's medal to Briony Morgan at Royal Military College, Duntroon.

Kathyrn Spurling Opinion The Defence Force must open all units, including combat roles, to women and dispel those men who behave badly.

Senate standoff over budget savings could trigger more public service job cuts

The federal bureaucracy could pay the cost of Treasurer Joe Hockey's options being reduced.

PHILLIP THOMSON The Senate stalemate over budget savings could prompt a second round of public service cuts which would hurt Canberra, according to Deloitte Access Economics.

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More people with disabilities leaving public service than joining

More leaving: People with disabilities leave  work force.

BEN WESTCOTT More people with disabilities left the public service than were hired in the past year. Some concerned disability advocates want hiring reforms. Ben Westcott reports.

Canberra public servants go to war (on the squash court)

Public Servants Helen Parkes and Marshall Clark.

NOEL TOWELL Organisers say professional bureaucratic niceties will not apply on the squash court.


ACT public service tops mental health requests: Comcare

Comcare results: Research found

TOM MCILROY Figures provided to a Senate Estimates hearing by workplace insurer Comcare show ACT government employees lodged claims at rates far above the private sector.

India logs on to check if public servants are at work

Industrious: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is famous for his rigorous schedule.

JASON KOUTSOUKIS The system allows the public to see not only what percentage of public servants were at work on any given day, but also check whether an individual public servant was actually sitting at his or her desk.

Mental health still a problem in public service, but improving

Older people are working the longest hours.

NOEL TOWELL Compensation claims for psychological injuries down, but bosses don't know why.

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Audit team checking tax payments by multinational companies hard hit by department job cuts


Gareth Hutchens and Georgia Wilkins The Australian Taxation Office says it has now cut over 500 jobs from its crucial auditing team as it tries to meet the federal government's budget cuts.

Australian Public Service still losing the war against sickies

The State goverment plans to cut 4200 public service jobs.

Noel Towell and Phillip Thomson Largest government department now reporting more 16 days off work in "unscheduled absence" for each public servant.

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Agriculture Department's dangerous injuries to public servants increase

There's been a big jump in  in dangerous incidents reported.

PHILLIP THOMSON Near-death incidents list includes exposure to chemicals and electricity.

Immigration, Customs plan cull of bosses for merged entity

Thinning the ranks: Senior management jobs in the Customs Service and the Immigration Department are are to be cut.

NOEL TOWELL Senior executives to be shown the door after a "Transition Process".

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Government denies asking Diggers to take pay cut

PAY ROW: While the armed forces work, their pay rates are being decided.

NOEL TOWELL The controversy over the pay and conditions of Australia's 57,000 sailors, soldiers and Air Force personnel that has been raging for two weeks, continues.

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ASIO spends $7 million on voluntary redundancies for spies

Outgoing: Director-General of Security David Irvine warned that

PHILLIP THOMSON A cluster of experienced intelligence experts were paid millions to go before Australia ramped up its security effort.

Telstra's Centrelink telephone deal on hold for Department of Human Services


NOEL TOWELL DHS agrees to talk about alternatives to privatisation of call centres.

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Politicians' pay rises outstrip soldiers' by 140 per cent


NOEL TOWELL Government can afford a better pay rise for the military, says think-tank.

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Australian Taxation Office orders new building, despite 6200 empty desks

The ATO is going through with plans for a new multi-million dollar office building in Gosford.

NOEL TOWELL ATO spending money it doesn't have on offices it doesn't need, says Labor.

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Public servants awarded bonuses up to $18,000 despite cutbacks


PHILLIP THOMSON Not all departments have phased out performance payments despite cost-savings measures.

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ACC staff member caught using drugs prompts call for wider tests

generic thumbnail, drug test, drugs, doping

PHILLIP THOMSON The Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity has called for more "high risk" public service agencies to consider drug testing.

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Public servant taxpayer-funded physio after more than 630 treatments


NOEL TOWELL A workplace insurer has pulled the pin after a man received 630 treatments for back pain at a cost to the taxpayer of $65,000.


ATO to issue thousands of staff with iPhones and iPads

iTax: The Australian Tax Office has announced a mass rollout of Apple devices to middle-tier staff.

NOEL TOWELL Taxpayers are to pay for iPads and iPhones for up to 5500 ATO middle managers.

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Finance Department sees 25 per cent spike in casual workforce within a year

Mathias Cormann.

PHILLIP THOMSON Mathias Cormann's department has casual workers making up one fifth of its workforce.

Tougher career path for public service recruits as 'classification creep' ends

career rise

MARKUS MANNHEIM The public service's middle-management ranks have shrunk for the first time in 15 years.

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Tax talkfest costs public a pretty penny

SHD Creative Fairfax 
Giraffes during feeding time at Taronga Zoo, Sydney.
June 2009 
Pic by Tanya Ingrisciano
giraffe, city, centrepoint,

HEATH ASTON Taxpayers will see little change from $600,000 when 200 of Asia's tax experts arrive in Sydney next month for a five-star talkfest on the Australian public purse.

Woman drought in bureaucracy's elite executive levels

Women at work.

PHILLIP THOMSON New statistics show how hard it is for women to make it at each SES and EL level.

Intelligence agency complaints increased by a third


HENRY BELOT The number of complaints concerning Australia’s intelligence agencies increased by 34 per cent last financial year with the majority focused on ASIO assessments of visa applications.

Centrelink customer aggression 'caused my nervous breakdown'


NOEL TOWELL Customer service officer spent her working days in fight-or-flight mode, tribunal told.

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Shared services back in fashion in the federal bureaucracy

Clients: The Shared Services Centre is doing work for at least 13 departments and agencies.

NOEL TOWELL Departments all over Canberra are offloading backroom functions.

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Public servant's boss asked her to send him topless photos


NOEL TOWELL APS code of conduct must be observed in interactions between consenting public servants.

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International job for Canberra archives boss David Fricker

Boxing clever: Director-general David Fricker at the National Archives. He has just started his four-year international term.

PHILLIP THOMSON The man who stores Tony Abbott's emails is taking on a top international job.

Public servants demand Ebola isolation units be set up in Canberra


NOEL TOWELL Luxury lakeside apartments could be used to isolate returning officials.

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Public service workers' compensation reforms are 'harsh and unjust', say Labor

Opposition employment spokesman Brendan O'Connor.

NOEL TOWELL The Opposition says 'mean' changes would leave hundreds of thousands of workers with less cover.

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Australian Defence Force outlines pay offer to remuneration tribunal

Meagre offer: A 4.5 per cent pay increase over three years is being proposed for Australia's military personnel.

PHILLIP THOMSON A $634 million below-inflation pay offer is being pushed by ADF to meet deadline.

Seselja accuses CPSU of avoiding public service workers

Liberal Senator Zed Seselja.

PHILLIP THOMSON Senator claims union standards "exposed" after it used private company instead of public servants.

ATO's 'Sydney seven' fight for their right to stay put

Australian Tax Office

NOEL TOWELL Case a test of APS's ability to force public servants to relocate.

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The Informant Diary: October 2014

Courses, conferences and events for public servants.

Risky business: pink batts and gung-ho policy

Govts must heed the Hippocratic dictum: first, do no harm.

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

A tale of how our lack of self-awareness hurts us and others.

'I've lost faith in my department'

We put your workplace problems to an executive coach.

Together, we can lift this bargaining trainwreck

The government has picked a fight with its staff. But does it have a strategy to win in the long term?

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Stopping the boats and corrupting the state

The state-sanctioned victimisation of asylum seekers is an evil that dare not speak its name.

'Direct action' that could save the global economy

The G20 summit is Australia's chance to begin addressing its poor productivity performance.

A privileged agency head, his discourteous dispute

When public servants enter Parliament to give evidence, they step beyond the Public Service Act's reach.

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Loosen the reins, and we might end pointless spats

Australia needs Tony Abbott's mooted reforms of the federation to succeed.

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Remember when public servants were impartial?

Too many government officials are seemingly ignoring their legal obligation to be apolitical.

Comments 51

'We deliver pizzas, not policies'

British embrace English, while our reports seem as arcane as ever.

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'All politics, no policy': Tony Abbott nails himself

The Abbott government' has turned it into a policy cul-de-sac.

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Selling the budget's 'stinking carcass'

Last month's budget was only the first instalment of reforms.

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Wasteful, pay-fixing farce

Does anyone in government know what labour productivity means?

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A pillar of irony? Some not-so-ancient wisdom

Angus Taylor's words on budget morning were a stirring warcry.

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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