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Correcting the record - Response to Noel Towell's article in the Canberra Times

Letter submitted but not published by the Canberra Times in response to an inaccurate story published 9th March 2016.

The story by Noel Towell "Public servants lose domestic violence leave" (9 March) is not only factually wrong, it is highly reckless and offensive.

The entire story is based on a false premise that the Public Service Commission had issued "orders" for existing domestic violence leave entitlements to be "stripped". This is simply false.  The Commission has issued no such "order" or any other instruction of this kind.

Public Servants will retain the ability to take leave where this is necessary in relation to an instance of domestic violence. This includes both entitlements under existing enterprise agreements that allow for leave to be taken, plus any entitlements under separate policies that apply to particular departments or agencies.

It is therefore highly inaccurate and dishonest to claim that "domestic violence leave has been stripped out of workplace agreements across the Commonwealth public service".

It is even more dishonest to claim that departments "are insisting on removing the right of their workers to take time off if they are the victims of family violence." No public service agency has proposed any new agreement or arrangement that would remove the ability for workers to access leave following an incident of domestic violence.

The author, Mr Towell, was advised by my office prior to publication that the claims he intended to make were factually incorrect.

This reporting is not only inaccurate and dishonest, it appears deliberately intended to create baseless alarm and distress in relation to an issue that should be approached with sensitivity and respect. Mr Towell and the CPSU should know better than to attempt to falsely create fear on an issue such as this.

Senator Michaelia Cash
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service

Media contacts
Office of Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash: (02) 6277 7320 / David De Garis 0427 019 692;
Brooke Vitnell 0447 743 835.

Last reviewed: 
9 May 2018