shoes office

Yesterday we reported on tip-offs we’d received about odd rules for employees at Home Affairs. After a somewhat vague first statement in our original piece, the department has clarified “there is no ban on women wearing high heels [and] no ban on bright or polka dot (or any other patterned) clothing.” They also refuted the claim there was a ban on social clubs, and stated the “only requirement on staff in non-operational roles is to dress in a professional manner”.

Crikey readers, however, wrote in with their own office experiences to match.

On polka dots and high heels at Home Affairs 

Anonymous writes: I was a coordinator at a local government instrumentality where permission had to be sought from the instrumentality’s managers to call the police or ambulance at any of our sites as both of them were totally paranoid about any negative publicity that might occur (and resultant paperwork and reporting).

Following a number of serious incidents the local police made their displeasure known to the CEO of the Council in no uncertain terms and the rules were amended although staff afterwards were always fearful of repercussions from these micro-managers.

In the same organisation if a telephone was not answered by a certain number of rings, regardless of how busy things were in front of house, an official complaint came down the line from the instrumentality’s two managers as to why their phone calls were not answered within two-three rings. As coordinator of the team I then had to launch an official investigation including a written report as to the “offender’s behaviour” which was put on their file.

An incredible place. Thankfully one of the managers retired and the other was seconded elsewhere on a special project. I had long left by then.

James Morrison writes: Frankly, Home Affairs/Border Force staff should enjoy being able to wear any kind of clothing they’re permitted for now, because when I’m in charge the whole lot of them will be in prison uniforms.

Unimpressed writes: Nothing is ever as simple as it seems and there are some complications in respect of the issues raised. Without passing any judgment on how that department is run, in any situation high heels are a safety hazard and the consumption of alcohol on a premises by personnel even after working hours may leave the owner of the premises or the employer open to a claim for compensation which public servants show no reluctance for.

On Kyle Sandilands’ new show

Petunia Winegum writes: Trial by Kyle? Jesus, if there was any doubt as to why Channel 10 has been going down the gurgler for the past few years I think this has just put it to bed. If only we could bring back The Goanna so he could phone up the station halfway through the first episode and tell them to take it off the air.

Send your comments, corrections, clarifications and cock-ups to [email protected]. We reserve the right to edit comments for length. Please include your full name.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey