Page 3924 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 29 October 2013

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Ms Burch presented the following papers:

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education, pursuant to the resolution of the Assembly of 24 May 2000 concerning Indigenous education, as amended 16 February 2006—Annual report 2012-2013.

Education and Care Services Ombudsman, National Education and Care Services Freedom of Information and Privacy Commissioners—Annual report—1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013.

ACT public service—bullying

Discussion of matter of public importance

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mr Gentleman): Madam Speaker has received letters from Ms Berry, Dr Bourke, Mr Coe, Mr Doszpot, Mr Gentleman, Mr Hanson, Ms Lawder, Mr Smyth and Mr Wall proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, the Speaker has determined that the matter proposed by Mr Doszpot be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

Bullying in the ACT Public Service.

MR DOSZPOT (Molonglo) (3.39): I have pleasure in presenting this matter of public importance—namely, bullying in the public service.

Everybody has the right to be and feel safe at work. Every person deserves to be treated with respect and courtesy. These principles are at the heart of the ACT government’s continuing efforts to eliminate bullying at work. The elimination of violence, threats, intimidation and all forms of bullying behaviour requires transparency, leadership and cultural change—in our communities as well as individual workplaces.

These remarks are from the Chief Minister. These are the opening remarks she made to the 2004 House of Representatives inquiry into workplace bullying. The Chief Minister summarised clearly what the ideal workplace should look and feel like: “Every person deserves to be treated with respect and courtesy”. They outline what the expectation and aspirations are for our own ACT public service.

I say “aspirations” because, for many in our public service and in the wider workforce, respect and courtesy is not commonplace. The most recent example, of course, is the very long and still ongoing issue at the Canberra Institute of Technology. CIT is quite a unique and seriously worrying issue, and I will make further remarks on this later. But for now it is important to recognise that CIT is by no means an isolated case.

In an article in the Canberra Times last year the heading was “Bullying reports up in the public service”. The article went on to say that bullying and harassment complaints in the ACT’s public service had continued to increase in the previous 12 months, that 12 territory bureaucrats had been sacked from their jobs in the 2011-12 year for serious misbehaviour, another 25 were given a first or final written warning and 29 were counselled and four were demoted.

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