Independent News For The Australian Public Service
Edition Number 401. Updated Tuesday, 18 March 2014

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Wake-up call


David Robarts says: ''Even housewives are not spared of the horror of getting up in morning as they need to complete household chores and get their kids ready for school.'' ( Have energised mornings with these easy tips, 12 March 2014 )

It's not often that you still cross such lines, but when you do it reminds you that we certainly have a long way to come.




From previous editions...

Pay argument illogical


Australian Public Service Commisioner, Steve Sedgwick's statements when appearing before a Senate Committee are difficult to connect with reality. (Commissioner warns on APS pay rises, 28 February 2014)

He makes certain correct observations about the abilities of Agencies to fund pay rises without supplementation (i.e. they cost jobs), but goes on to state that productivity offsets must be found as part of pay bargaining.

In reality, Agency managements (like all employers) have unilateral control over the levers of productivity. They can introduce new technology, centralise functions or save money on accommodation, all without negotiating this with staff or their union. The industrial relations legislation is framed precisely to achieve this objective.

In this context, when the time comes for negotiating an Enterprise Agreement, it is completely illogical for the employer to demand that staff front up with extra "productivity gains" to get a pay rise. The funds for pay rises come from the employer's productivity initiatives over the previous three years.

Productivity bargaining is bad enough, but if we must have it, let it be done without double-dipping by the employer.


Greg Platt

ABS Melbourne


Jobs guarantee


If employees agree to no pay rise will that guarantee no job losses in that organisation for the life of the agreement? (PS staff face hard line in pay talks, 21 February 2014)

Seems a fair question and fair deal, including the answer in writing, within the agreement.





Lowering drinking age deluded

  Jonathan Ariel (Talking Point, 4 February 2014) wants the legal drinking age increased to 20 or 21.
  His authoritarian proposal should be rejected completely. The social ills Mr Ariel ascribes to alcohol are not caused by alcohol itself, but by drinking to excess or drinking in the wrong circumstances (e.g. shortly before driving a car).
  His warped agenda is betrayed by his equation of drinking with alcoholism, his truly staggering misuse of statistics (45 per cent is a "whopping" proportion?) and the article's title, which mentions "big booze" when its real target is young people.
  The main effect of raising the minimum legal drinking age would actually be to turn the bulk of 18-20 year olds into criminals as they acquire alcohol which is prohibited to them for no good reason.
  If you doubt it, consider the current consumption of cannabis and other illegal drugs.
  Finally, Mr Ariel would far more effectively reduce the road toll by raising the legal driving age than by raising the drinking age – plenty of crashes are caused by perfectly sober young drivers.
  I'm sure, however, he would see this as an unwarranted intrusion into individual liberty. Food for thought.

  Greg Platt
ABS Melbourne


Trust the teachers

  Aren't Australia's teachers and principals highly trained and professionals? (New policy to give schools autonomy, 4 February 2014)
  If you value our Higher Education system at all, you would trust them to make informed and educated decisions that affect our children.
  Even if parents have access to a Guide available online, would you trust them to fully understand the guideline given vast differences in experience and background.
  Also, parents could be motivated by their own children needs and be very biased. And even if the Parent Committee is selected by the local community, on which basis would members of the committee be selected and how would other parents learn more about the candidates?.

Human Services


Commission's axing

  Just another replacement of an existing perfectly good service by this Government. (No charity for Commission, 4 February 2014) link to
  It's like watching the rich replace perfectly good decor just because they don't like the colour. Only thing is it's not their money to do that. It's taxpayers' money.

  Allison Malpas
Social Services


Live export deaths

  What a load of absolute rubbish from Philip Glyde, who, in respect of penal provisions, needs to read his own website. (Probe reveals live export problems, 28 January 2014)
  There is nothing 'unusual' about massive mortalities when animals are shipped from the Australian winter to the searing Middle East heat; there are many reports by his own Department highlighting just that risk, as he well knows.
  This merely highlights the total lack of will of this hopelessly compromised Department to take any meaningful action against any exporter no matter how egregious the violation of the rules or how obscene the cruelty.
  190 per cent more space on one subsequent shipment? Then business as usual.

Nicola Smith


Home help for elderly

  With the funding for the stay home elderly, it would be a good if it can be extended to people working for their Centrelink money to assist them. (Help for elderly who want to stay home, 28 January 2014)
  However, it is important the people sent to assist these frail and vulnerable individuals honestly care to help (i.e. cleaning, shopping, going to medical appointments, assisting in some maintenance issues, etc.).
  It would be counterproductive if the elderly get someone who could cause them further grief by taking advantage of them.
  Those who can stay in their own homes and require only little assistance are better off living in their own homes than being in nursing homes.
  In case of emergency, they can be provided with a beeper, hung around their necks, that alerts the hospital or ambulance service in an emergency.
  They will become less of a burden to society and live fuller lives on their own.

Australian Customs and Border Protection Service


Be more inclusive

  The 'Myths about cardio and aerobic training' article was a disappointing read. (PD: Myths about cardio and aerobic training, 28 January 2014)
  Aside from perpetuating weight loss myths, suggesting that everyone is interested in losing weight so they are more attractive to the opposite sex, it completely ignores the existence of people who are gay, bi or asexual. Less lazily exclusionary writing, please.



Cyber Census

I am sure the ATO will be able to advise the ABS on this. (ABS prepares for the cyber Census, 28 January 2014)


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