Public Service

The public service plays a crucial role in building a society that works for everyone. Our public services must be empowered to deliver quality services, policy, infrastructure and innovation.


The Australian Greens believe that:

1. All public services exist to serve the good of the community as a whole, and must be responsive to, and respectful of their needs.

2. The public sector is best placed to respond to changing social, environmental and economic circumstances, and to enhance society’s capacity to pursue important goals such as justice, equity and sustainable environmental objectives and community services obligations.

3. The public sector should be well resourced, both in its finances and the people it employs, to enable the delivery of quality services to the community.

4. The public sector should be as democratic as possible and decision-making and service delivery should be done in partnership with the community.

5. A robust democracy must be transparent with an enforceable right to access to information released in a timely manner.

6. A frank and fearless public service is critical to a functioning democracy.

7. The Australian Public Service has a duty to serve the Government, the Parliament and the Australian public equally. Undermining its political independence impairs this.

8. Outsourcing public services and functions and using public funds to enrich corporate interests undermines the value and quality of public services.

9. The public service should:

  1. act for the common good and in good faith; 
  2. exercise due diligence at all times to facilitate good governance; 
  3. deal honestly and transparently with issues no matter how complex; 
  4. be fair and objective in their decision-making; 
  5. put aside personal and political goals in pursuit of a lawful government agenda;
  6. and speak out publicly against corruption, unethical behaviour and imprudence without reprisal.       

10. The expansion of public services is an effective way of improving quality of life as well as creating new, secure and meaningful jobs.

11. Public sector workforces, including their senior management, should reflect Australia's diversity. Public sector agencies must foster strong internal cultures of accepting and celebrating diversity.

12. The public service must maintain a wide geographic footprint with offices in regional, rural and remote communities to provide local services and employment opportunities.

13. Governments are a role model that other sectors follow – a model employer, a model buyer, and a model business partner. The example that Governments set must always be an ethical one.

14. Ministerial advisers and political staffers must not compromise the independence of the public service by taking any actions that exceed their authority.

15. The public sector should not be subject to outsourcing, commercial competitiveness, corporatisation and unnecessary deregulation.

16. Public services should be designed, delivered and evaluated in culturally appropriate ways.

17. First Nations communities must be specifically and formally included in all aspects of Government decision-making.

18. The public sector can, and should intervene in the market using its purchasing power to increase demand for socially and environmentally responsible business and procurement activities.

19. Public servants have a right to freedom of political expression.


The Australian Greens want:

1. Greater staff participation in management appointments including the appointment of Secretaries, Directors-General and managing executives of public sector agencies by implementing a collaborative approach with the relevant Public Services Commission.

2. Public sector authorities and government-owned corporations with independent voting boards to have reserved seats for members directly elected by and from their employees.

3. To reconstitute the Australian Public Service Commissioner as an independent officer of the Parliament and require that the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit be consulted on their appointment.

4. Scrutiny of the role and legal status of political staffers and Ministerial Advisers, and to make their recruitment, appointment and performance transparent.

5. A legislated framework to protect the public service against outsourcing to private consultants and the use of labour hire and external contractors for jobs that would normally be public service jobs.

6. The public service to prioritise the use of ongoing employment arrangements, including where individual positions or projects may be of a fixed duration, with the objective of providing job security to all public service employees.

7. Outsourced and privatised services be brought back into the public sector, where practicable.

8. Abolition of efficiency dividends, average staffing level caps, and other blanket approaches to public service budget cuts.

9. Adequate resourcing for the Office of the Information Commissioner and separation of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to report independently to Parliament.

10. Funding that is adequate for the Australian National Audit Office to ensure its program of work can meet its statutory obligations.

11. To ensure remuneration tribunals make decisions independent of private sector pay considerations, including executive pay or private sector pay rises or lack thereof.

12. To require government remuneration tribunals and recruitment panels to have worker representation.

13. Phasing out performance-based pay across all levels of government.

14. To ensure benchmarking, performance rating and employee management policies are not implemented at the expense of workforce cohesiveness and quality of outcomes.

15. Governments to set an ethical example in business and workplace relations by being supportive of their employees, by setting reasonable terms in procurements, and by always considering the value it can provide to the public.

16. To ratify the Labour Relations (Public Service) Convention of the International Labour Organisation concerning protection of the right to organise and procedures determining conditions of employment in the public service.

17. Affirmative measures that are endorsed and supported by the authorised First Nations community implemented across all recruitment processes, to prevent the mainstreaming of First Nations identified positions into general recruitment pools.

18. Procurement policies to mandate quadruple bottom line analysis and ensure decision-makers consider the environmental, social, ethical and economic costs of products and services acquired.

19. Government procurement policies to give priority to Australian manufactured goods and services and use procurement policy to foster the development of ethical Australian industries, especially First Nations operated businesses.

20. Mandatory exclusion of companies with proven records of poor labour standards or tax avoidance from procurement.

21. To legislate the right of public servants in their private capacity to engage in political advocacy and activism, run for public office, to participate in their union, and to represent or be elected to activist organisations.

22. Whistle-blowers who are government employees, contractors or tenderers to be protected by robust laws which ensure that they cannot be prosecuted for whistleblowing under the public service code of conduct.

(Public Service Policy as amended by National Conference May 2021)