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Before you post…

Assess the risks. Consider what you want to post, like, or share in the context of the risk factors, and make an assessment of how likely your post is to undermine public confidence in your agency or the APS. Ask yourself:

  • How would it look for a person at my level to post this?
  • What is the relationship between my work duties and the issue I want to post on?
  • Is my post expressed in an extreme way?
  • Would I be comfortable with my post going viral?
  • Would a reasonable person think I am unable to perform my duties impartially or professionally?

When in doubt, discuss. If you’re not sure whether a particular online activity is acceptable, talk to your supervisor, a trusted senior colleague, your agency’s Ethics Contact Officer, or your Human Resources (HR) area.

If you have concerns about your workplace or agency…

Consider the official mechanisms available to you to address your concerns, rather than posting about them on social media.

If you disagree with the policy direction of your agency, you are encouraged to raise this with your manager in the first instance. It is entirely appropriate to raise concerns, and propose alternative approaches, if you do so respectfully and with the understanding that it may not always be possible or reasonable to implement your suggestions.

If you believe that someone in your agency is not acting in accordance with the Public Service Act 1999 (PS Act) or other legislation, talk to your manager, your agency’s Ethics Contact Officer, or your HR area. A range of formal and informal mechanisms may be available to address your concerns, including reporting the matter as a suspected breach of the Code of Conduct, or making a disclosure under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013.

If you disagree with a decision relating to your employment, a range of formal and informal approaches are available, from discussing the matter with your manager to seeking a review of action under the PS Act.

If you have an interpersonal dispute with a colleague, a wide range of options are available to help you resolve or manage it, including talking to your manager or another trusted senior person, raising the matter with HR or a Harassment Contact Officer if appropriate, or seeking alternative dispute resolution.

If you have a conflict of values…

When our personal values conflict with the APS Values, the APS Values are expected to have priority in the workplace. If you are unable to reconcile your personal values with what is expected of you at work, you are strongly encouraged to seek advice. Talk to your manager, your agency’s Employee Assistance Program, your Ethics Contact Officer, HR, the Ethics Advisory Service, a trusted colleague, or a counsellor—and make a decision that preserves both your integrity and that of the APS.

Further information:

Further guidance can be obtained by contacting the Ethics Advisory Service on 02 6202 3737, or email ethics [at] apsc.gov.au.

Last reviewed: 
10 September 2020