Job security questioned for public servants who stand in elections


Queensland and Tasmanian public servants don’t have the same right to reappointment if they resign to stand for election. The Mandarin examines the running field.

Public servants should read the fine print before resigning to run for state or federal parliament. A failed candidate has a statutory entitlement to resume their public sector position in most states, but there are caveats and continuity is not guaranteed.

The Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters was surprised to hear earlier this month that the rules permitting public sector employees to return to their positions following an unsuccessful bid for election are not consistent across all states and territories.

The Australian Electoral Commission warns candidates about the constitutional prohibition of Crown employees running for office in its candidate handbook — and that the consequences can be severe:

“In its November 1992 decision in the case of Sykes v. Cleary, the High Court voided the election of Mr Phil Cleary as member of the House of Representatives for the Division of Wills. Mr Cleary was disqualified from being chosen as a member under section 44(iv) of the Constitution on the grounds that, as a Victorian state school teacher on leave without pay, he held an ‘office of profit’ under the Crown. This case has been approved in subsequent High Court applications.”

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  • Manish Sawant

    How can a Government Servant stand for Election and Why no action is taken against such case