Policy could breach Privacy ActDob in your colleagues, public servants urgedShould public servants be allowed to voice their political opinions online?
New guidelines from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) will urge public servants to report colleagues who post critical comments on websites such as Facebook and Twitter, whether in an official or unofficial capacity.
The rules also apply to comments made anonymously, if the person who reported the post had knowledge of the poster’s identity.
CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said the union had lodged an industrial dispute with PM&C, stating that breached the enterprise agreement by failing to consult staff and unions over the changes.
“Encouraging people to dob in a workmate is a new and nasty feature and one that we think is entirely unnecessary to police the use of social media by public servants,” she said.
“Forcing people to spy on their colleagues is incredibly divisive and will only sow the seeds of mistrust in the workforce.”
Ms Flood said the union had been contacted by members over “what can only be described as a draconian policy”.
“We’d question whether there’s any evidence it is justified,” she said.
“… This policy could mean that a public servant could be in breach of the rules if they attended a political rally and their picture is then shared on social media. That is not fair.”
In a statement provided to SBS on Monday, a spokesman for the Department defended the policy.
“The Department considers the social media policy is appropriate. It is an internal document for employees and is consistent with APSC guidelines,” the statement read.
“The Department will make no further comment.”