9 December 2022

Office cheer, staff ratings and sick Albo's mystery cat: Mr Smiggle's latest news bites

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Mr Smiggle

Mr Smiggle – Region’s news hound. Photo: File.

Nothing is letting up yet as the end of the year fast approaches. Everyone is still hard at work and there’s plenty of news about. Here are a few inside morsels I’ve been able to sniff out this week. All the juicy bits. Enjoy.

Christmas cheer

It must be Christmastime because ministers have been popping into departments to say ‘thanks for all your hard work’ and ‘have a good break’.

At least some were doing just that as the parliamentary sitting year drew to a close.

Is this a new tradition set by Labor? Personally dropping by to say thanks to the hired help?

We didn’t see much of these sorts of shenanigans under the last government.

Aren’t public servants supposed to just get on with it without recognition or thanks?

Switched-on ministers know the importance of a personal touch and how much a thank you from the top can lift morale and productivity.

Tony Burke even dared to enter the jinxed 50 Marcus Clarke Street to meet with Department of Employment and Workplace Relations staff.

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus did the same over at his department and had a good old chuckle with staff.

But with all the layoffs and uncertainty at Services Australia, has anyone there seen Government Services Minister Bill Shorten drop by with eggnog and fruitcake?

And have any staff anywhere across the APS had a season’s greetings drop-in from Finance and Public Service Minister Katy Gallagher?

Asking for a friend.

Are you being served?

Meanwhile, still over at Services Australia and there’s a whole bunch of people turning up to work each day with nothing to do.

While management insists its workforce is adaptable, there seems to be little for some permanent staff to adapt to now that ICT projects have been shut down and a thousand contractors laid off.

“This feeds into the whole stereotype of public servants being bludgers because there’s a lot now doing precisely nothing,” one contact told me.

“They want to work. No one likes having nothing to do and no one’s interests are being served by that approach.”

READ ALSO Hundreds of APS staff at Services Australia left with nothing to do after contractor layoffs

Top ratings

Anthony Albanese has been struck down again with COVID, proving once more that this pandemic is completely indiscreet and a respecter of none.

But while the Prime Minister has had to postpone important meetings and trips to allow him to recover (and to make sure he doesn’t contaminate anyone else), he might be able to take some comfort from the latest APS Census as it relates to his own department.

The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet topped the SES Leadership Management Index – a measurement of how staff rate their bosses.

Glyn Davis heads the department where staff gave him and other senior leaders in PM&C a 79 per cent approval rating, marginally more than other agencies.

The department also scored an 85 per cent “yes” response to the question of whether staff would recommend it as a place to work – a rating only topped by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission attracting an 89 per cent positive response.

READ ALSO Public Service Minister is stealing Canberra’s Christmas

When the cat’s away

And speaking of the Prime Minister.

It seems Albo runs a tight ship … which springs a few leaks when he’s not around.

This pup has heard of all sorts of disarray in the PM’s office while the boss is down with the rona.

Internal instructions are barely being followed, external queries are being ignored, responses are not forthcoming, and there’s a general sense of confusion among staff.

It could be just the effects of the silly season closing in … or it could be that the kids need a firm hand at the helm if anything productive is to get done.

Get well PM.

Smiggle out!

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