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Home Features Following orders no excuse, support needed for public servants
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DEPARTMENTSAustralian Public Service Commission, Queensland Public Service Commission
TAGS Australian Public Service Commission, Crime and Corruption Commission, Ethics, Independent Commission Against Corruption, Integrity, Public Sector Commission, Whistleblower, Whistleblowing
A cloud hangs over the APS amid allegations of paying people smugglers. Acting on ministerial instruction is no excuse for breaking the law, say experts who advise the services, but refuse and you may not find your career going places.
If people smugglers were paid to return to Indonesia and if this activity were found to be illegal, following ministerial instruction would not be a valid excuse, say public sector corruption and accountability academics.
“‘I was following orders’ is never an excuse” for illegal activity, argues Queensland University of Technology Associate Professor Mark Lauchs.
“The CCC [Crime and Corruption Commission] or ICAC [Independent Commission Against Corruption] are never going to care, nor will a judge or jury,” the former head of the ethics and integrity unit at the Queensland Public Service Commission told The Mandarin.
There has been controversy in recent days following claims Australian officials gave money to people smugglers to turn back their boats.
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The Mandarin is where Australia's public sector leaders discuss their work and the issues faced within modern bureaucracy. Join today to discover the latest in public administration thinking and news from our dedicated reporters, current and former agency heads and senior executives.
David Donaldson is a journalist at The Mandarin based in Melbourne. He's previously written for The Guardian and Crikey and holds a masters in international relations.
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