This site (mcsw.ee) is run by Darren McSweeney.
I am a member of the Australian Public Service (APS) for the Department of Human Services and have been since 30 June 2003.
All comment, opinion and views expressed on this website (and on any such social media that links to this page) are solely my own personal opinion and do not represent the opinions, views or position of the Department of Human Services, the Australian Public Service, the Australian Government or any other associated person. Any advice given is purely personal in nature, and any research or information that is provided is gathered from publically available sources.
I do not provide recommendations or strategies for conducting business with the Department of Human Services. If you need assistance from the Department of Human Services, please visit their website.
I believe that all content on this site complies with the social media policies of the department, and the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC), as well as the APS Code of Conduct.
…and I vote
In more than fourteen years of service to the Australian public, I have served under
fourteen fifteen ministers and five six different prime ministers, of both sides of politics.
I have delivered the policies of the government of the day. I carry out my duties in an impartial, professional and apolitical manner and always strive to uphold the APS values. At times, I personally disagree with policies or programmes that I implement, however that is the nature of public service, and I remain professional and apolitical at all times while undertaking my duties as a servant to the Australian People.
I am also a politically engaged Citizen of Australia, with the right to vote in elections, and with the right to freedom of opinion and expression. These rights can be reasonably deemed to include the right to participate in public and political debates without being unnecessarily curtailed.
The APSC social media guides starts with a broad statement:
As members of the Australian community, Australian Public Service (APS) employees have the right to participate in public and political debate.
In general, APS employees must not make public comment that may lead a reasonable person to conclude that they cannot serve the government of the day impartially and professionally.
The social media policy of the Departmement of Human Services states:
We support employees who choose to use social media in their capacity as private citizens, without intrusion. While acting as private citizens, APS employees enjoy most* of the same rights to participate in the political life of the community as other citizens.
…it is not acceptable at any time to:
- post comments or images that are so harsh or extreme in their criticism of the department, Government, a Member of Parliament from [any] political party, or their respective policies that they could be perceived to have an impact on your ability to work professionally, efficiently, impartially or apolitically in the APS
- post comments or images that are, or could be perceived to be, so strong in their criticism of the department’s administration, policies or programmes that it could seriously disrupt the workplace or compromise your ability to fulfil your duties as an APS employee in an impartial and unbiased manner — …
- post comments or images that are, or could be perceived to be unreasonable criticisms of the department’s customers or other stakeholders
*emphasis added is mine
No political party is perfect. I have been disappointed by politicians on both sides of the aisle at various times. Similarly, I have been pleased with policies enacted into law by governments of both persuasions.
I do not have an ideological connection to any party in particular. I am not now, have never been and likely will never be a member of any political party.
Whilst I agree that personal criticism or attacks on character are inappropriate, in order to engage in political debate in any meaningful way I believe that it is considered reasonable to provide criticism of a particular policy, programme, opinion or standpoint of a Member of Parliament or of a political party where that criticism is justified and delivered fairly, professionally and objectively.
Criticism of what a Member of Parliament says or how they behave, vote, or conduct business may be pertinent to a discussion or debate.
Bad policy should be allowed to be called out for what it is, properly discussed and criticised to prevent it becoming bad law.
Bad politics or bad politicians likewise.
Unfairly restricting all and any negative commentary of politicians or party politics does not encourage democracy, or engagement with the political landscape.
Every day I faithfully serve the People of Australia through my employment, in a professional, apolitical and impartial manner.
Every night, I consider the future of the country I call home and the vision — or lack thereof — of those elected to take us there.
I believe that I am permitted to express these thoughts in a reasonable manner as I see fit.