The New Socialist Liberals – ConspiracyOz

Colleagues told: Dob in political web posts

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Tim Wilson has been appointed as Freedom Commissioner, a new HREOC appointment. Picture: Mcevoy Stuart Source: News Limited

PUBLIC servants will be urged to ­dob in colleagues posting political criticism of the Abbott government on social media, even if the comments are anonymous, under new Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet guidelines.

The sweeping new rules will even cover ­public servants posting political comments anonymously, including mummy bloggers on parenting websites, if a colleague knew their online identity.

The new policy clearly states it covers the use of social media in an official and unofficial ­capacity, whether for professional or personal use. If public servants are found to have ­breached the ­Australian Public Service Code of Conduct they could be sacked. Colleagues will also be encouraged to dob in each other.

“If an employee becomes aware of another employee who is engaging in conduct that may breach this policy, there is an expectation that the employee will report the conduct to the ­department,’’ the policy states.“

“This means that if you receive or become aware of a social media communication by another PM & C employee that is not consistent with this policy, you should advise that person accordingly and inform your supervisor.”

Blogger and former public servant Greg Jericho, whose online identity as Grog’s Gamut was unmasked by The Australian four years ago, said he was stunned by the policy.

At the time, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet PM and C ruled his own posts did not breach public service guidelines.

“This is so intrusive,” Mr Jericho said.

“It is further evidence that the public service is scared of social media rather than seeing it as an opportunity to broaden the understanding of public policy, including correcting misinformation.’’ he said.

 

Anonymity should not justify exemptions because it can be connected back to the individual and their work

 

But newly appointed Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson dubbed the “Freedom Commissioner’’, has backed the reforms, arguing that public servants knew what they were signed up for.

“There is nothing inconsistent with free speech and having codes of conduct or policies as a condition of employment that require professional, respectful behaviour in their role and the public domain,’’ he said.

“It is not unreasonable for such policies to apply to conduct directly related to the primary and specific area of work of a public servant, but are unjustified when they are very broad and limit democratic participation.

“Anonymity should not justify exemptions because it can be connected back to the individual and their work”.

“Ultimately public servants voluntarily and knowingly choose to accept these limits on their conduct when they accept employment”.

The new rules include a specific case study illustrating why public servants are not to criticise Prime Minister Tony Abbott stating being “critical or highly critical of the Department, the Minister or the Prime Minister’’ on social media could prompt sanctions.

Breaches include “harsh or extreme in their criticism of the Government, Government policies, a member of parliament from another political party, or their respective policies, that they could raise questions about the employee’s capacity to work professionally, efficiently or impartially.”

There are also sanctions for “gratuitous personal attack that might reasonably be perceived to be connected with their employment.”

The crackdown on social media posts covers posts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Flickr, blogs, forums and Wikipedia.

Posted on April 6, 2014, in ConspiracyOz Posts. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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