Public Service


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 should be well resourced to enable the delivery of quality services to the community.
  3. The public sector should be as democratic as possible and decision-making and service delivery should be done in partnership with the community. This, in turn, should be balanced against achieving efficiencies and value through economies of scale and the need for uniformity, cross-jurisdictional harmonisation, and due process.
  4. A robust democracy can only exist through a continued commitment to transparency, with information being accessible and released in a timely manner.
  5. A frank and fearless public service is critical to a functioning democracy.
  6. 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.
  7. The expansion of public services is an effective way of improving quality of life as well as creating new, secure and meaningful jobs.
  8. Governments must be a model for all other sectors to follow - a model employer, a model buyer and a model business partner.
  9. The public sector does not exist to shift money to private enterprise or to enrich private interests.
  10. Ministerial advisers and political staffers must not compromise the independence of the public service by taking any actions that exceed their authority.
  11. The public sector should not be subject to outsourcing, commercial competitiveness, corporatisation and unnecessary deregulation.
  12. Public services should be designed, delivered and evaluated in culturally appropriate ways.
  13. First Nations communities must be specifically included in all aspects of Government decision-making.
  14. 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.
  15. Public servants have a right to freedom of political expression.


The Australian Greens want:

  1. Enable greater staff participation in management appointments including the appointment of Secretaries and Directors-General by implementing a collaborative approach with the Public Services Commission.
  2. Scrutinise the role and legal status of political staffers and Ministerial Advisers, and make their recruitment, appointment and performance transparent.
  3. Minimise outsourcing to private consultants and firms and phase out the use of labour hire and external contractors for jobs that would normally be public service jobs.
  4. Ensure remuneration tribunals make decisions independent of private sector pay considerations, including executive pay or private sector pay rises or lack thereof.
  5. Require government remuneration tribunals and recruitment panels to have worker representation.
  6. Phase out performance-based pay across all levels of government.
  7. Ensure benchmarking, performance rating and employee management policies are not implemented at the expense of workforce cohesiveness and quality of outcomes.
  8. 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.
  9. Abolish efficiency dividends and other blanket approaches to public service budget cuts.
  10. Implement strong whistleblower protections for all Government employees, contractors and tenderers. 

[Policy endorsed: November 2018]