Think Prove Speak

Whilst there is some doubt as to who actually wrote it first, one contender was Mark Twain who wrote:

It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt

And stepping into the breach is the Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Dr Martin Parkinson AC PSM.

In response to an employee of Dr Parkinson’s department facing court on allegations of indecent acts against minors, Dr Parkinson released a brief statement:

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet confirms that an employee of the Department was arrested this week for alleged indecent acts against minors.

The Australian Public Service has a zero tolerance for any abuse, particularly abuse of children. These allegations are extremely disturbing and we are cooperating fully with the Northern Territory Police.

The Department has suspended this employee pending court processes.

We remain committed to ensuring appropriate work practices in dealing with all vulnerable people.

While this case is currently under investigation, I will not be making any further comment.

It is pleasing to see that the APS has a zero tolerance for any abuse, particularly abuse of children, but was the really necessary to say?  Is there any kind of abuse that the APS does have a tolerance for?  If such a statement was necessary to be issued, it beggars the question as to why and who was the intended audience?

But that aside, it would be nice also for Dr Parkinson to say the APS has a zero tolerance for the abuse of tax payers or of citizens in general.  But here’s wishing.  Perhaps Dr Parkinson is demonstrating unconscious bias against tax payers and citizens in general.

Without presuming an outcome to the legal case against the APS officer in questions, were such an incident to have occurred within a private sector entity, questions would be validly asked about the CEO’s oversight of the organisation, the board’s role in setting and monitoring culture and the role of the relevant human resources and risk departments.

Anyone wanna bet whether such questions will be asked here or let alone answered?

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9 Responses to Think Prove Speak

  1. Dr Fred Lenin

    Spartacus just wondering if Weatherill and musk have been arrested for fraud yet ? Also must be a nice change for long suffering south Australians not having a government any more ,be refreshing , OH ! they have got one ! Who would have known? Quiet aren’t they ? Or is the place in such a mess they don’t know where to start ? Realpolitik has struck, life’s a bugger innit?

  2. Dr Fred Lenin

    P.S. this non existing government caper might be catching ,hopefully?

  3. tezza

    I think you overestimate the reasonable liability of CEOs for any illegal extra-curricular activities of their staff. If you expect a CEO to have responsibility for the culture and HR activism to prevent clearly criminal extra-curricular activities of staff, you need to stop and think what sort of world that would lead to.

    But we still have an interesting and undoubtedly more relevant question: how did locked filing cabinets of confidential Cabinet Papers, apparently from an SES-level office and perhaps from PM&C’s Cabinet Secretariat, get dumped for retailing? That is an undoubtedly important question for PM&C. It led to the ridiculous situation where the ABC became the self-dealing arbiter of which official security classifications on documents it should never have accessed should be overlooked in favour of ‘national interest’, as perceived by the ABC. Unsurprisingly, the ensuing decisions seemed to be consistently in favour of stories that suited the ABC’s agenda.

  4. Speedbox

    In my experience, the people who write these things usually have too much to say. Just the facts are required – don’t be floral with your words.

    New text:

    The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet confirms that an employee of the Department was arrested this week for alleged indecent acts against minors.

    The allegations are disturbing and we are cooperating fully with the Northern Territory Police. The Department has suspended this employee pending the legal process.

    While this case is currently under investigation, I will not be making any further comment.

    Same thing, just clearer.

  5. I am Spartacus

    I think you overestimate the reasonable liability of CEOs for any illegal extra-curricular activities of their staff.

    But was the alleged illegal extra-curricular activities undertaken whilst “on deployment” on behalf of the organisation? What checks were (or were not) carried out when deploying staff to deal with the “vulnerable”, eg working with children check. Are such checks and screens systematized?

    There may be valid answers. But these are valid questions ISHO.

  6. Bela Bartok

    It’s a classic virtue signal “look at us, condemning bad stuff”
    As stupid as the “I’m not going to apologize for supporting *insert obvious item that brooks no dissent* here”
    It’s also stupid as it is shaming the whole department, not the individual involved: as in, let me tell all the people who *are* behaving properly to behave properly, or else.
    Stupid signaling and to the wrong people.
    Morons

  7. Chris Langan-Fox

    ‘Tis always the case. Royal Commissions may be set up and run at the cost of millions, interrogating church ministers to whom trust and monies were provided to care for children, but where were the political ministers who delegated and ‘outsourced’ such trust and monies? Where were the investigations into their policies and practices. Where were the demands for Heads of Departments to fall on their swords? Our nation is not run by the ministers we elect so much as by the Pontius Pilate Mandarins who wash their hands and ask ‘what is truth’?

  8. You realise that the APS has mandatory awareness training for bullying, harassment etc, which every employee must undertake annually so that such behaviour does not occur?

    OK, it really has nothing to do with stopping undesirable or unlawful behaviour, it’s to tinplate the senior executives from ultimate responsibility, for when it occurs, they can point to this mandatory training as their arse covering.

    This mandatory training prevents absolutely nothing, as the mechanisms for staff and lower-level management to address any instances of bad behaviour are utterly inadequate.

  9. iain russell

    Bella B nailed it – a virtue signal.

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