Sep 19, 2012

APS increasingly stranded on social media

The public service's response to the emergence of social media is stranded in an analog era. James Button's new book throws new light on the issue.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Yesterday we looked at what happens when someone at the heart of the APS decides to write a book about the processes he saw there. But the greater difficulty for the APS is not from the James Buttons of the world, but from a changing communications landscape and the changed expectations it brings with it.

The Australian Public Service’s guidelines for how public servants are to behave online, in either an official or a private capacity, were a long time coming: some interim guidelines were released in December 2008, were revised a year later and revised again at the start of this year. In between the second and third iterations came The Australian’s assault on Greg Jericho.

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3 thoughts on “APS increasingly stranded on social media

  1. a_swann

    Any member of the public has great power to obtain emails, briefs etc – in theory if not in practice – through Freedom of Information legislation, which is intended to keep government transparent.

    Does this imply that anything which can be accessed through FOI is ok for Public Servants to talk about? I doubt it!

    Even guiding a member of the public in suggesting ‘where to look’ with FOI would constitute a breach of the PS code of conduct i expect.

  2. Serenatopia

    The reason for Sedgwick’s new circular:


    The Government and its agencies are now making direct threats to all APS employees regarding their freedom of speech. Apparently making criticisms of a harsh nature regarding a Government official or administration of an Agency, even if true, can risk, wait for it, the required impartiality of an employee to carry out their duty in the APS lol

    Yes—passion and concern for public administration is apparently a reputational risk…only drones allowed…Interesting they don’t cite any laws to support their flawed perspective!!!

    I am gathering that there are rumblings of revolutions in the troops!!!

  3. Scott

    Public Servants should be seen but not heard.

    If there is public statements to be made/commented on, it should be the ministers who make them (or the senior executives and PR people form the departments), not a drone trying to “big note” themselves.

    Have we learned nothing from the Godwin Grech affair.

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