New guidance released by the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) this week, warns its members to stop liking anti-government social media posts. They may even be required to police anti-government messages that their friends post.
“What you say in your own time on social media can affect that confidence and the reputation of your agency and of the APS,” warned the guidance. “If you ‘like’ something on a social media platform, it will generally be taken to be an endorsement of that material as though you’d created that material yourself.”
According to the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) National Secretary Nadine Flood, the new policy is overreaching and fails to balance community faith in the public service with allowing people who work in the public services to undertake normal, everyday activity in a democracy.
“It is one thing to say that public servants working on a particular government policy shouldn’t be publicly criticising that policy, quite another to say they have no right to engage on social media on anything that could be a community issue,” Ms Flood said.
“The notion that the mum of a gay son who happens to work in Centrelink can’t like a Facebook post on marriage equality without endangering her job is patently absurd.”
What do you think? Is the APSC overreaching with this new guidance? Should public servants have the right to express their own personal views?