Public servant accused of 'taking sides' in WorkChoices ad

News

Public servant accused of 'taking sides' in WorkChoices ad

The senior public servant who stars in the Federal Government's new WorkChoices ads has been accused of taking sides in a highly charged political debate.

WantToReadMore

Get unlimited access to all of our content.

The senior public servant who stars in the Federal Government's new WorkChoices ads has been accused of taking sides in a highly charged political debate.

Workplace Authority head, Barbara Bennett, has appeared in two TV ads espousing the new fairness test for AWAs and telling workers they will be protected by the new Workplace Ombudsman.

In the second ad she replies to claims that young employees can be 'ripped off' by employers by saying 'No, they can't' because such AWAs have to be signed by a parent or guardian.

Don't get the job

Of course, if the parent or guardian refuses to sign, the young worker doesn't get the job.

Labor workplace participation spokeswoman, Senator Penny Wong, said the ads are a breach of the Public Service's values on impartiality. She said the Government is using Bennett as though she were a political 'foot soldier'.

The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) yesterday said Bennett was taking sides in a highly charged public debate.

Public disquiet

Stephen Jones, the CPSU's National Secretary, said he believed it was unprecedented for a top-level public servant to be used in a blatantly political role, close to an election, publicly promoting laws that had been revised because of public disquiet.

'She's promoting sides in ads that are at least misleading, and really untrue,' he said. 'The ads say that you can't be forced to sign (an Australian Workplace Agreement) but the only way you can often get a job is if you sign one.'

However Bennett has dismissed the criticism, saying she had been asked by the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Joe Hockey, to spearhead the WorkChoices campaign.

She said the legislation that created the authority stipulated that the director's role included educating the public.

'I believe in WorkChoices'

'WorkChoices is something I believe in very much, or else I wouldn't have accepted the job,' she told the Sydney Morning Herald. 'Young people are very much the target of the campaign, and we know they watch television, and so this is a way of reaching them.'

Bennett said since the campaign started two weeks ago the departmental website had been inundated with hits, and phone calls from employers and employees had jumped from about 3,000 a day to 5,200.

'I think Barbara has the capacity to be a very public face of the Workplace Authority,' Hockey said.

Related

Public servant 'politicised' to give Govt ad credibility: Gillard 

Labor condemns use of public servant in AWA TV ad

  

 

Post details