Standing up for Canberra

Government not serious about fair pay for APS Defence workers

With talks between the Department of Defence’s public service staff and department heads set to recommence this week, the Turnbull Government has yet to outline what it is they’ll be negotiating.

Pay and condition negotiations between departments and their staff are supposed to proceed with reference to the Government’s workplace bargaining policy framework.

But after repeated rounds of failed negotiation, it’s clear that the only supporter of the Turnbull Government’s draconian bargaining policy is the Turnbull Government itself.

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service Michaelia Cash says the Government’s position is clear.

But the Public Service Commissioner has acknowledged that agencies are still yet to receive their bargaining advice.

The Government’s enterprise bargaining policy is in tatters. Departments hoping the election would mean an end to the Abbott-era policy of unfair pay and conditions have seen more of the same from Malcolm Turnbull. 

The Turnbull Government is effectively demanding Departments go back to their staff with the same offers that have already been rejected.

Achieving good outcomes for all parties is near impossible without clear direction. Defence cannot be expected to effectively negotiate with its public service workforce when there is no framework.

This failure to provide leadership indicates that the Government is committed more to a failed policy than a successful outcome.

The Turnbull Government must finally recognise its bargaining policy has failed and urgently set out its replacement.