Page 3928 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 29 October 2013
service. We also know from the remarks of the Chief Minister to the federal government inquiry where she believes the public service should be. But there is a huge gap between the theory and the reality.
The CIT inquiry is not finished yet. There are still cases to be finalised. There are still executives who remain in senior positions about whom allegations have been made but not yet concluded. The bullies in some cases are still winning. They are still being promoted while the victims wonder if they can still keep going.
I was heartened to receive an email from one of the victims as a response to the comments I made in the Assembly last week. This person said in an email to my office:
Please tell Steve thanks from the bottom of my heart for speaking the truth of the matter and so publicly. The whole thing has been getting me down terribly but now I have a second wind because of Steve’s support.
The commissioner needs to get a second wind and conclude his investigations. This Assembly needs to get a second wind and demand we have the kind and quality of public service that the Chief Minister outlined in her submission—one with a positive workplace culture, a safe workplace environment and a leader amongst employers. We also need to remember that we do have a quality public service in which the overwhelming number deliver quality service on a daily basis. They too would want to see a second wind—a renewed commitment by this government to drive out the cancer in the public service ranks.
MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Health and Minister for Higher Education) (3.53): The position of the government in relation to workplace bullying is clear: bullying is not acceptable in any agency or under any circumstance. However, it would also be naive to expect that in an organisation of 22,000 people there will never be interpersonal conflict. In this sense the ACT public service reflects the society from which we are drawn and which we serve.
The test of government and leadership is what you do to prevent bullying and respond when it occurs—to remove its causes and to support affected staff. In these areas the ACT government and the public service have been highly active.
In relation to the CIT report, the Commissioner for Public Administration’s investigation into CIT is an appropriate response to the allegations which have been made. There is no evidence to suggest a culture of entrenched and systemic workplace bullying across the CIT. There have been a number of areas of concern in relation to a small number of individuals and areas within CIT, and a small number of matters remain under investigation.
The commissioner’s investigations have resulted in the referral of eight individuals for investigation for misconduct under the Public Sector Management Act, not all of which relate to alleged workplace bullying. The significant majority of complaints made have, on closer examination, fallen into the categories of failings in management of workplace issues.