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3 Commitment to the system of government – Code of Conduct

Principle and values

The Public Sector Ethics Act 1994 states: In recognition that the public sector has a duty to uphold the system of government and the laws of the State, Commonwealth and local government, public service agencies, public sector entities and public officials:

  • accept and value their duty to uphold the system of government and the laws of the State, the Commonwealth and local government
  • are committed to effecting official public sector priorities, policies and decisions professionally and impartially
  • accept and value their duty to operate within the framework of Ministerial responsibility to government, the Parliament and the community.

This does not limit the responsibility of a public service agency, public sector entity or public sector official to act independently of government if the independence of the agency, entity or official is required by legislation or government policy, or is a customary feature of the work of the agency, entity or official.

Standards of conduct

3.1 Commit to our roles in public service

Our role is to undertake our duties, and to give effect to the policies of the elected government, regardless of its political complexion.

We will:                         

  • accept that the elected government has the right to determine policy and priorities
  • be responsive to the government of the day and implement decisions and policies professionally and impartially
  • comply with the laws of State, Australian and local governments
  • comply with all relevant awards, certified agreements, subsidiary agreements, directives, whole-of-government policies and standards
  • adhere to the policies, organisational values and organisational documents of our employing agency.

3.2 Maintain appropriate relationships with Ministerial staff

Ministerial advisors and the public service share a common commitment to serving the government of the day. Central to good government, and the ability to carry out the designated role of the public service, are positive and productive interactions between the administrative and political arms of government.

If providing advice to Ministers is a part of our role, we will ensure our interactions are positive and productive when engaging with ministerial staff.

Ministerial staff are not empowered to direct public service employees in their own right. If this occurs, we will bring this to the attention of our agency’s senior management.

3.3 Ensure proper communication with Members of Parliament

We have the right to communicate directly with a Member of Parliament on any issue affecting us as a private citizen. In communicating with Members as private citizens, we will maintain the confidentiality of information that is not publicly available, and we have access to due to our roles.