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Blogging the latest government news and public sector briefs ...

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    Defence clarifies: women are off the table

    • Biological women need not fear their anti-discrimination protections will be stripped.
    • Defence issued a new statement walking back it’s original language.

    Biological women who identify as women will not be a subject of the negotiations to exempt the Department of Defence from protections in the Sex Discrimination Act.

    Rather, the department will focus solely on gender X according to a clarifying statement issued late Friday night. […]

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    Defence walks away from X-inclusive gender diversity

    The Department of Defence is exploring the legal right to discriminate on the basis of gender, in a stunning reversal of one of government’s most prominent and ambitious workplace gender inclusion strategies.

    Last night, while Defence Minister Marise Payne was out of the country, junior minister for Defence Personnel Dan Tehan ordered the department to find a way out of protections for non-binary gender individuals. The same legislative protection shielding women from discrimination also protects non-binary gender individuals since a 2014 High Court ruling. […]

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    Australia’s promised pro-disclosure culture is mostly smoke, not much light

    • About half of Commonwealth FOI refusal decisions are overturned on appeal.
    • Automatic refusals became a tool to manage request backlog, new audit claims.
    • Cuts savaged FOI regulation, now OAIC plans first steps against non-compliant agencies.

    Landing just before next week’s International Right to Know Day, a new audit reveals that implementing the federal Freedom of Information Act hasn’t led to the pro-disclosure mindset that was one of the key intentions of the act. Three public sector departments are shown to be going through the motions with little regard to what the law demands.

    Findings relating to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner show its spending on FOI decisions has dropped significantly after the government’s failed attempt to abolish the office, limiting its ability to fulfil its purpose. […]

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    WA farewells the steward of its fire and emergency reforms

    The WA government has welcomed its new fire and emergency chief Darren Klemm and farewelled Wayne Gregson, the steward of cultural and technological reforms that built a more effective department in the aftermath of the Perth Hills bushfire inquiry.[...]
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    Nerida O’Loughlin locked in to lead media and comms watchdog

    Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield has confirmed Nerida O’Loughlin will chair the Australian Media and Communications Authority, as widely expected, about 18 months after she delivered a blueprint for major administrative reform of the watchdog. The minister said O’Loughlin was appointed for a five-year term on the strength of “extensive policy and regulatory experience within the [...]
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    Ministerial tussle over cyber muscle goes cross border

    The once genteel rivalry between Sydney and Canberra for the mantle of Australia’s cybersecurity epicentre has conspicuously spilled onto the international stage, with state and federal ministers on Monday heavily pumping new overseas investment on their home patches.

    […]

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    Can a public service press release contain ‘sensitive’ personal information?

    Just “correcting the record” is not always a good enough reason for the public service to release someone’s personal details, and although it can be in some circumstances, doing this still might be more trouble than it’s worth. The Australian Public Service Commission has published the advice it provided in response to an interesting question that was sent to [...]
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    Indigenous firm wins federal property service tender

    An indigenous firm, Evolve FM, has jointly won a major Commonwealth property management contract, as part of a program to drive $300 million in savings over the next decade through rationalisation of the surplus property holdings.

    […]

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