Proud to be Public campaign

This week your CPSU representatives held national meetings to talk about the Proud to be Public campaign and what changes could be made to make the public service better.

We talked about the fact that COVID has shone a light on the critical work of the public service but also revealed the cracks in the system from years of cuts and neglect of services.

Historically public spending and an increased role for the public sector has been used successfully in reconstructing and boosting the economy after disasters. Trust in the APS is at an all-time high and this is an ideal time to make the case for a bigger public service that can meet the demands of the community.

There was lively discussion among participants about the current challenges that both the APS and the ABS face and what could be done to improve this. Some key points that were raised for discussion include:

  • A wish for the Government to lead the way as a model employer by promoting secure safe employment for APS workers. This would mean abolishing the ASL cap and moving casual workers to permanent jobs.
  • A hope that the Government can lead the way and an understanding that what they do flows to the rest of the economy and to other workplaces. An attack on the APS will mean an attack on the rest of the workforce so we should be fighting to hold and improve conditions APS wide.
  • A desire for the ABS to stop relying on outside contractors when they can build the capability in our workforce. (For example, in IT, 250 million has been spent on projects undertaken by the big four consulting firms when it would have been more efficient to employ and develop ABS staff in house to do this work.)
  • A plan to highlight that we can do more with more resources. ABS need enough staff to perform the work. ABS workers have stepped up during the COVID pandemic and due to new household and economic surveys are doing extra work with no extra staff - in some cases with less resources. Many workers are having to juggle their own work that with the demands of COVID related work.
  • A recognition that ABS workers have shown they are adaptable and flexible, they have been responsive to extra needs in the pandemic and have gone above and beyond.
  • A plan for ABS workers to let the community know what work they are doing. Traditionally APS agencies including ABS have not been good at communicating what work they are doing to the community and the importance of that work to guide policy and the economy. The extra collections and data collected has been very powerful and we need a way to let the broader community know about this.
  • A hope that we can cut through some negative stereotyping of public servants and highlight the great results not only ABS but the whole APS has achieved.
  • An acknowledgment that a strong union makes a strong APS, and a stronger APS makes a better and stronger society.

ABS Section Council and delegate teams will look at these recommendations and decide the best way to develop the campaign in ABS. In the meantime members can start by doing some of the following:

  • Ask a colleague to join the union and get involved in the campaign
  • Talk to friends and family about the campaign
  • Write to your local MP • be part of CPSU meetings with local MPs and Senators to tell them about the important work ABS is doing and why it needs to be properly funded.
  • Let your local delegate know about any ideas you have to promote the work of the ABS.

If you're interested in participating in any of these actions and in particular meeting MPs, or have more to add, please don't hesitate contact bronwyn.parris@cpsu.org.au