07 Aug 2017

Labor is concerned by reports that public servants could face disciplinary action for not censoring friends’ social media posts that question or criticise the Government, its policies or its agencies.
It is reasonable to expect public servants to work professionally and impartially, in accordance with the APS Code of Conduct.
But threatening them with serious consequences for not deleting the social media posts of others is a step too far.
This totalitarian crackdown does not belong in an Australian Public Service Commission guide.
It is symptomatic of a Government that can’t convince people that its policies have any merit and has instead decided to silence dissenting views.
The Turnbull Government is so divided and dysfunctional that it can’t even agree on what its policies are.
It should let public service focus on providing the frank, fearless, professional and impartial advice that Government’s rightfully expect, not coerce it to act as the Government’s social media censor.
The Government must clarify whether it agrees that with the new APSC guidance and if so, why it thinks public servants should spend their time restricting the freedom of speech of their friends on social media.

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