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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 1 August 2018) . . Page.. 2563 ..

reluctantly take on the role of whistleblower. Irrevocable damage to both life and career is a real threat. Our valued and hardworking public servants need to feel fully supported to raise concerns whenever they genuinely have them. We teach our schoolchildren to report anything they think might be wrong. If encouraging this kind of healthy conversation in our kids is important, why not set the example in our workplace? Public servants need to feel they labour in a safe and honest environment.

This motion makes two very reasonable requests: first, an explanation for why two ACT directorates account for a disproportionate number of public interest disclosures; and, second, for a detailed report on the effectiveness of current public interest disclosure legislation. I add my voice to Miss Burch’s in calling on the relevant ministers to take these two steps. I commend this motion to the Assembly.

MISS C BURCH (Kurrajong) (5.07): I cannot say the government’s inaction on this issue surprises me. The Chief Minister’s justification that the legislation received tripartisan support six years ago is a cop-out. The commonwealth PID review recommended comprehensive reviews of the PID act every three years, and yet in the past six years we have not seen a single review. Minister Rattenbury said the data needs more analysis. Quite frankly, the lack of reviews has meant there is a lack of data to draw on here.

The mechanisms the government has claimed are already in place to protect public servants are clearly insufficient and not working. Every worker has a right to a safe and honest workplace, and public servants need safe and respectful pathways to report troubling incidents and suspected misconduct. Yet for some their choice to serve and their choice to be frank and fearless in reporting corruption, harassment and misconduct in the workplace has caused irrevocable personal damage and professional harm.

ACT Labor has lost all credibility in claiming to be the workers’ party. Today we have seen their refusal to stand up for ACT Health workers and now their refusal to stand up for ACT public servants. Only last week we saw their buddies in the CFMEU labelling them as partners in crime for their inability to stand up for workers on the light rail project.

As I have said, the solution is reasonably simple: a framework that encourages a philosophy of “if in doubt, report”, instead of attempting to minimise reports of suspected misconduct. That is a framework that is clear, easy to navigate and understand and that protects those that have the courage to speak out from future ramifications in the workplace. This is yet another example of how, when confronted with their own ineptitude and incompetence, the government prefer to sweep it under the rug. Why are they so unwilling to encourage people to report suspected wrongdoing, bullying and harassment in the public service? What is it they are so afraid will be uncovered?

It is time for the government to be held to account for those individuals who have been caused emotional and financial pain and turmoil as a result of the government’s inaction and held to account for the dodgy deals which are yet to be exposed because

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