Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 19 November 2015) . . Page.. 4286 ..
in the business of talking down to them or talking down their work, like those opposite seem to spend most of their time in this place doing. This is an exciting and rewarding time to be an ACT public service, and I am pleased to advise ACT public servants that this government will always back them to achieve more for our community.
MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (4.48): You heard the spin there, did you not, Madam Assistant Speaker? Everything is sunshine and lollipops. It is only the opposition that have something negative to say about what is a wonderful culture here in the ACT public service. But that is just simply not the case. I commend Mr Smyth for bringing this matter of public importance forward, and he has outlined where this is systemic across so many areas of the public service.
You heard the waffle from the Chief Minister. Let me quote from the recent KPMG review. Let me tell you what an independent review says: it needed to be commissioned because so much direct reporting of problems was coming out of ACT Health that areas were losing accreditation. Let me tell you what the reality is compared to the spin. Let us have a look at a quote from page 13 of the report:
A culture where workers are fearful of speaking up because of fears of victimisation.
That is the reality. That is what is happening in the Health Directorate after 15 years of this government. Do not come to this place and say that it is all good, that you care about the staff and it is those opposite that do not when the reality is so different. The reality is that under this government not only have the performance indicators got worse in health but the staff are being bullied and victimised and are working in a culture of fear. That is not me asserting it; that is from the government’s own KPMG review.
The report finds there is a lack of provision of support mechanisms and strategies to assist those who wish to raise an issue of complaint and there is evidence from various reports and literature indicating a culture that accepts and condones bullying. Mr Barr comes in here and tries to suggest that the only problem is that the ACT opposition is scaremongering when that is the reality of his own report. Has he read this? Did he bother to pick this up? It does not sound like he has. If he had, then he would be misleading the Assembly, I am sure, because he would know that what he has been saying is complete rubbish.
There is a culture that accepts and condones bullying. Seventy-six per cent of contributors of written submissions who responded to this question indicated they had observed and witnessed behaviours that would indicate the culture of condoning and accepting bullying, discrimination and/or harassment. That is what is being said by KPMG in this review. I will quote again:
Perceptions exist that, in some instances, inappropriate interpersonal behaviour was considered as normal in a workplace and, therefore, accepted or excused.
Perceptions exist that some staff were fearful of speaking up due to … detrimental consequences (such as their employment contract not being reinstated.…