Page 4279 - Week 13 - Thursday, 19 November 2015

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The completion of this framework is timely. Yesterday I was able to welcome the leaders of Canberra’s Islamic community into the Assembly. We were coming together to discuss the way public perception of events in Paris and across the world had impacted on their community. In a wide-ranging conversation we kept coming back to the same point: the leaders all reflected that when people are given an insight into other cultures and an opportunity to understand, they respond. They reflected that engagement can happen anywhere: it can be online, at events like the Multicultural Festival, at multicultural morning teas in our schools or on tours of embassies, churches and mosques. As long as it brings people together, it has the potential to drive change.

This framework exists to guide the complexities of how we foster that engagement and provide tools that support the diversity of this experience in this city. It is my hope that the framework and the action plan will help us build on those successes and ensure that they are felt by every group in our community. It is also my hope that it will guide this community on its multicultural journey to stamp out exclusion and build understanding now and into the future. I formally commend the ACT multicultural framework and action plan for 2015-20 to the Assembly.

ACT public service—staff culture

Discussion of matter of public importance

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

The importance of good staff culture in the ACT Public Service.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (4.24): Just when you think it could not get any worse for the government on the way they handle staff culture in the ACT public service, there is another article in the Canberra Times detailing that 20 per cent of the staff in the Environment and Planning Directorate felt that they had been bullied in the previous 12 months.

The government, I am sure, will be pleased that it is down from 27 per cent in the previous year. So in the previous year it was a quarter; this year, a fifth of all staff in one of our directorates feel that they have been bullied and/or harassed. That comes on top of the litany of stories that we have heard, whether it was in TAMS, whether it was in CIT, whether it was in a number of areas in the Health Directorate, whether it was in ACT Fire & Rescue or whether it was in the ACT Ambulance Service. This is a government that has presided over a bullying regime in the ACT public service, and they have presided over it for way too long.

The number of contacts regarding bullying or harassment received by agencies’ RED contact officers went up by 118 per cent from 2013-14 to 2014-15. The number of

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