After months of radio silence, members of Ministerial and Parliamentary staff have sought an update from the Joint Sessional Committee on Workplace Culture Oversight. We wrote to Premier Rockliff on 19 December 2022, as the Chair of the Committee, and in response the Premier wrote to all MPS staff advising that a Project Manager position to directly oversee implementation of the recommendations was being advertised over December and January. The closing date for applications has been set for early February 2023.
Amanda Sigler, an Electorate Officer, had the following to share about the progress of the Committee:
“Over the last six months since the Bolt Report came out I have watched my colleagues in the State Service fight for and win recognition of our increased stress and workloads through their negotiations. The difference is that their work is being recognised by substantial increases to their pay, better benefits, and stronger protections for the most marginalised workers. Meanwhile, those of us that are held to the highest levels of confidentiality, and work closest to Members of Parliament are still waiting for even the most basic of protections.”
“When people come to their local Member of Parliament’s office, they aren’t there to have a friendly chat. Most people are in some sort of crisis, most people have complex needs that require high level interpersonal skills and in-depth knowledge of community services that social workers get paid twice as much to know.”
“When I’m not triaging community members in crisis I’m running an office, managing scheduling for a member of Parliament, planning community and stakeholder engagement, drafting communications and letters… I’m doing 10 jobs for a fraction of the pay and none of the safe work policies and protections.”
This Committee was established in response to the shocking results of the Motion for Respect: Report into Workplace Culture in the Tasmanian Ministerial and Parliamentary Services. After the initial media release following the first meeting of the Joint Sessional Committee, of which Premier Rockliff is the Chair, there have been months without any communication to Ministerial and Parliamentary staff or the CPSU.
Appointment of an independent project manager is the second recommendation from the Report. The first deadline from the Report is for a statement from the House of Assembly, Legislative Council, and Legislature-General about the importance of a safe workplace for Ministerial and Parliamentary staff. This statement hasn’t been made and the deadline has now passed.
Everyone has the right to feel safe at work. If you work in MPS, talk to those who have yet to join about joining the CPSU, or consider becoming a CPSU Delegate at https://www.cpsu.com.au/delegates/.