Public service policy ‘deeply alarming’: LNP
A "deeply alarming'' new public service policy reveals the State Government is failing to keep tabs on domestic violence thugs who wage war on their partners at work.
The official public service directive reveals the State Government has taken nearly two years to crack down on perpetrators accessing 10 days of paid domestic violence leave.
The new directive states that perpetrators can only use paid DV leave to attend a "behavioural change program'', once they have used up all their holiday and long service leave.
The ban applies to public servants' "use, potential use or alleged use'' of domestic and family violence.
But offenders can still access the same DV leave as victims, if they had first accused a partner of DV and then been accused of DV themselves, in a counterclaim in court.
The directive does not impose mandatory punishment for public servants who use workplace phones, computers or cars to stalk or threaten victims.
"Domestic and family violence is unacceptable in any setting, including the workplace,'' it states.
"A public service employee must not perpetrate domestic and family violence from or in the workplace, including using agency assets or equipment such as work vehicle, telephone, fax, mail, email, internet or social media.
"A breach of this direction by an employee may result in disciplinary action.''
The Courier-Mail asked the Queensland Public Service Commission (QPSC) how many bureaucrats have been busted for DV breaches at work, and how many have been granted paid leave.
But QPSC chief executive Robert Setter revealed that the State Government has no idea of the extent of DV among public servants - despite taxpayers footing the bill for paid leave.
"When dealing with domestic and family violence victim safety, confidentiality is critical and like most organisations, the Queensland Government does not report or record the number of applications for, or use of, domestic and family violence leave,'' he said.
"Discipline action would be taken for any employee found to be using government assets to perpetrate domestic and family violence.
"The Public Service Commission does not collect data on domestic and family violence discipline matters across the sector.''
State Opposition leader Deb Frecklington said it was "deeply alarming'' that the official directive did not automatically discipline DV offenders misusing government property.
"It's deeply alarming that public servants who use government property to stalk and harass victims aren't disciplined automatically,'' she told The Courier-Mail.
"This behaviour must be immediately reported to the police and disciplinary action should be mandatory, not optional.
"Turning a blind eye to domestic violence in government ranks is unacceptable.''
Ms Frecklington said taxpayer funded leave for DV perpetrators "shouldn't have been a policy in the first place and it shouldn't have taken two years for (Premier) Annastacia Palaszczuk to do anything about it''.
"This inappropriate and offensive policy has dragged on too long,'' she said.
Ms Frecklington said it was in the public interest to know how often employees are accessing DV leave "to ensure the system is working to support victims properly and ensure the wrong people aren't taking advantage of it".
"It's unacceptable Labor doesn't think the prevalence of domestic violence in the workforce is worth monitoring," she said.
The public service directive defines a DV perpetrator as a public servant who has confessed to family violence, been named as a respondent in a domestic violence order (DVO) application, is subject to a DVO, or been charged or found guilty in a court of domestic violence.
DV Connect: 1800 811 811
Originally published as Public service policy 'deeply alarming': LNP