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ATO officer under fire over Twitter use quits job

ATO officer Darryl Adams has quit his job (file photo).

ATO officer Darryl Adams has quit his job (file photo). Photo: Michel O'Sullivan

A Taxation Officer, disciplined over his use of Twitter, has quit his job while facing more punishment over a Tweet he sent two years ago.

But other legal battles between public servants and their bosses over their social media activities are set to rage on well into 2014.

A DFAT public servant sacked over his alleged membership of a Facebook group will take his case to Fair Work Australia while an Immigration Bureaucrat fired for criticising her department and her boss on the social networking site has refused a settlement.

Former DFAT officer, Darrell Morris, outside the offices in Barton.

Former DFAT officer, Darrell Morris, outside the offices in Barton. Photo: Rohan Thomson

ATO officer Darryl Adams was punished and senior departmental officials apologised to anti-pornography  campaigner Melinda Tankard-Reist over a Tweet public servant Darryl Adams sent from his “fake Paul Keating” account in January 2012.

Mr Adams Tweeted that Ms Tankard-Reist was "rootable in that religious feminist way", prompting the campaigner to make a formal complaint in June that year.

The public servant was sanctioned over the Tweet later in 2012 but the case came to life again in February 2013 after another complaint from Ms Tankard-Reist, this time about the handling of her original grievance.

Michaela Banerji was sacked  from her job at the Immigration Department.

Michaela Banerji was sacked from her job at the Immigration Department. Photo: Jay Cronan

More pressure was piled on Tax in mid-2013 when the Ms Tankard-Reist complained to The Australian newspaper and the case was mentioned in Senate estimates committee.

In September Mr Adams was found to have committed three breaches of the Public Service Code of Conduct and he resigned this month with further “sanctions” still hanging over his head.

He declined to discuss his case publicly.

Elsewhere in the service, Foreign Affairs officer Darrell Morris who was sacked late last year over allegations he was behind Facebook threats to senior public servant in his department will pursue an unfair dismissal claim with Fair Work Australia.

Mr Morris was suspended in February 2012 and accused of being involved in the Facebook page called The Anti-Bullying and Discrimination League of Australia, an accusation he denies.

The page is one of many websites - such as Victims of CSIRO, APS Bullying and OzLoop - that have appeared in recent years and are dedicated to publishing claims of systematic bullying, harassment, cronyism and other wrongdoing in the public service.

DFAT bosses allege “the League” was responsible for sending defamatory and harassing emails to senior departmental officers and politicians.

Mr Morris’ union, the CPSU refused last week to answer questions about the case.

Canberra-based former bureaucrat Michaela Banerji, sacked over “highly critical” tweets against her former bosses at the Immigration Department has refused to settle her unfair dismissal claim.

Ms Banerji, who failed in a Federal Court bid to get her job back, has knocked back a settlement offer, vowing to pursue her Fair Work Australia case.

 

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