Public Service Amendment (Employment for all of us) Bill 2014

Parliament house flag post

Public Service Amendment (Employment for all of us) Bill 2014

Posted 28/02/2014 by Deirdre McKeown

On 26 February 2014, Greens member Adam Bandt  introduced a private members’ bill to deal with ‘the high unemployment and underemployment rates amongst people from two very important groups in our society … people from non-English speaking backgrounds, and … Australians with a disability’.  This fulfilled a 2013 election commitment by the Australian Greens that ‘workplaces should reflect the diversity of Australian society and that everyone should have equal access to meaningful paid employment’.

The Public Service Amendment (Employment for all of us) Bill 2014 ‘requires the Australian Public Service (APS) to double the number of employees from each group within five years’. The Bill leaves the means of achieving these targets to the Public Service Commissioner to determine but requires the Commissioner to issue a written direction to double the number of APS employees in these two groups that exist at 1 July 2014 by 1 July 2019. The Bill also amends section 7 of the Public Service Act 1999 to give the term disability the same meaning as set out in s. 4 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

In his second reading speech Bandt noted that the APS employment principles in s. 10(A) of the Public Service Act include a commitment to a career-based public service that ‘recognises the diversity of the Australian community and fosters diversity in the workplace’. He suggested that the APS is lagging in this commitment:

‘We know that almost 20 per cent of Australians identify as having a disability, but the number of people with a disability employed by the APS dropped to 2.9 per cent of the entire workforce in 2012. Similarly, one in four people in Australia identify as being from a non-English speaking background but account for only 5.1 per cent of the APS workforce.’

He also observed that ‘we run a very real risk of creating an underclass of people who, as Australian citizens, are being systematically locked out of the workforce. It will not solve the problem, but it will be a significant step towards moving people who want employment into that gainful employment’.

The Australian Public Service Commissioner has issued Directions that include the issue of workplace diversity.

 State of the Service Report 2012-13

The most recent State of the Service Report published by the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) states that, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, people with disability are underrepresented in the Australian workforce, despite 15% of the working age population reporting disability.

 The proportion of people with disability in the APS in 2012–13 was 2.9% of all ongoing employees. This was unchanged from the previous year. In absolute terms, the number of ongoing employees with disability fell from 4,570 in 2011–12 to 4,450 in 2012–13, continuing a trend of steady decline since the mid-1990s.

The proportion of ongoing APS employees who identified as being from a non-English speaking background remained stable during 2012-13 at 5.4%.  The State of the Service Report noted that ‘people from a non-English speaking background constituted 4.6% of all engagements to the APS in 2012–13. This represents a sharp decline in absolute numbers from 572 engagements in 2011–12, to 350 engagements in 2012–13’. It also concluded that APS employees from a non-English speaking background are much more likely to have graduate qualifications than other employees—at June 2013, 82.1% had a degree-level qualification, compared with the APS average of 59.5%.

The State of the Service Report 2012-13 shows the following trends in diversity from 1999

 Representation of diversity groups among ongoing employees, 1999 to 2013

Source: Australian Public Service Commission, State of the Service Report 2012-13, Chapter 5: diversity, p. 97.

Note that the provision of diversity information on disability and non-English speaking background is voluntary.  As a result the APSC has concluded that the number of employees with disability in the APS may be underrepresented.

The Bill was seconded by Independent Andrew Wilkie and debate was adjourned.


Thank you for your comment. If it does not require moderation, it will appear shortly.
Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print


Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

Parliamentary Library Logo showing Information Analysis & Advice




refugees asylum immigration Australian foreign policy Parliament elections climate change social security women welfare reform taxation Indigenous Australians Australian Defence Force welfare policy school education higher education private health insurance health financing emissions trading Middle East Senate Australian Bureau of Statistics employment people trafficking Asia statistics illicit drugs gambling health reform federal election 2010 Australian Public Service income management Medicare disability Sport United Nations environment industrial relations constitution transport politics criminal law Afghanistan health forced labour food public service reform aged care aid Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency World Anti-Doping Agency United States federal budget Carbon Pricing Mechanism dental health international relations governance regulation Fair Work Act voting law enforcement electoral reform OECD Australian Electoral Commission WADA child protection poker machines Australia in the Asian Century steroids National Disability Insurance Scheme detention 43rd Parliament slavery health system leadership domestic violence parliamentary procedure International Women's Day accountability defence capability multiculturalism ASADA Australian Federal Police labour force people smuggling debt New Zealand Australian Crime Commission pharmaceutical benefits scheme political parties coal seam gas Human rights crime China Census election results UK Parliament Papua New Guinea banking corruption pensions children's health Aviation federal election 2013 foreign debt gross debt net debt Senators and Members ALP Newstart Parenting Payment Youth Allowance sea farers United Kingdom energy food labelling Australian economy violence against women vocational education and training military history by-election High Court skilled migration mental health Federal Court terrorist groups science social media Higher Education Loan Program HECS federal state relations youth paid parental leave same sex relationships customs planning doping health risks Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling sex slavery Special Rapporteur Northern Territory Emergency Response social policy ANZUS Rural and regional trade unions Foreign affairs election timetable Indigenous royal commission Productivity firearms public policy Population ADRV terrorism transparency research and development welfare ASIO intelligence community Australian Security Intelligence Organisation carbon tax mining employer employee renewable energy regional unemployment fishing European Union family assistance United Nations Security Council forestry Drugs welfare systems Indonesia children Constitutional reform local government codes of conduct terrorist financing homelessness Parliamentary remuneration money laundering Trafficking in Persons Report social inclusion paternalism environmental law US presidential election nutrition ODA Defence sitting days electoral divisions Southeast Asia administrative law universities TAFE Ireland citizenship asylum seekers early childhood education Canada Financial sector national security fuel disability employment Tasmania integrity standards NATO Australian Secret Intelligence Service sexual abuse World Trade Organization Australia public health housing affordability bulk billing water health policy Governor-General US economy export liquefied natural gas foreign bribery question time speaker superannuation public housing expertise climate Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry Pacific Islands reserved seats new psychoactive substances synthetic drugs UNODC carbon markets animal health middle class welfare constitutional recognition of local government referendum consumer laws PISA competition policy US politics language education baby bonus Leaders of the Opposition citizen engagement policymaking Australia Greens servitude Trafficking Protocol forced marriage alcohol entitlements ministries Hung Parliament social citizenship maritime Iran regional students school chaplains federal budget 2011-12 salary Medicare Locals primary care Building the Education Revolution Turkey Syria marine pollution sustainability prisons police deaths in custody electoral margins electoral pendulum electoral redistribution redistribution NSW redistribution WA redistribution ACT electoral boundaries ASEAN Sustainable Development Goals Double dissolution Senators safety vehicles MYEFO Pathology tertiary education Taiwan Xi Ma meeting family violence government financial advisers financial planners Financial System Inquiry Murray Inquiry China; Economic policy; Southeast Asia; Africa housing Speaker; House of Representatives; Parliament High Court; Indigenous; Indigenous Australians; Native Title ACT Indigenous education Norfolk Island External Territories emissions reduction fund; climate change child care funding refugees immigration asylum procurement Indigenous health e-voting internet voting nsw state elections 44th Parliament 2015 ABS Age Pension Death penalty capital punishment execution Bali nine Bali bombings Trade EU China soft power education Fiji India Disability Support Pension Antarctica Diplomacy by-elections state and territories Bills anti-corruption fraud bribery corporate ownership whistleblower G20 economic reform innovation Members of Parliament Scottish referendum Middle East; national security; terrorism social services Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2013 online grooming sexual assault of minors ACT Assembly smoking plain packaging tobacco cigarettes Asia; Japan; international relations Work Health and Safety Migration; asylum seekers; regional processing China; United States; international relations fiscal policy Racial Discrimination Act; social policy; human rights; indigenous Australians Foreign policy Israel Palestine asylum refugees immigration political finance donations foreign aid Economics efficiency human rights; Racial Discrimination Act employment law bullying Animal law; food copyright Australian Law Reform Commission industry peace keeping contracts workplace policies same-sex marriage disorderly conduct retirement Parliament House standing orders prime ministers First speech defence budget submarines workers Somalia GDP world heritage political engagement leave loading Trade; tariffs; safeguards; Anti-dumping public interest disclosure whistleblowing Productivity Commission limitation period cancer gene patents genetic testing suspension of standing and sessional orders live exports infant mortality honorary citizen railways disciplinary tribunals standard of proof World Health Organisation arts international students skilled graduate visas temporary employment visas apologies roads Italy national heritage NHMRC anti-dumping Rent Assistance obesity evidence law sacrament of confession international days DFAT UN General Assembly deregulation Regulation Impact Statements small business Breaker Morant regional engagement social determinants of health abortion Members suspension workplace health and safety marine reserves hearing Victoria astronomy resources sector YMCA youth parliament Korea rebate Australian Greens presidential nomination Racial Discrimination Act political parties preselection solar hot water Financial Action Taskforce Horn of Africa peacekeeping piracy Great Barrier Reef Stronger futures political financing political education Social Inclusion Board early childhood National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care Murray-Darling Basin sanctions Norway hospitals republic President Barack Obama Presidential visits qantas counselling Korean peninsula Work Choices biosecurity hendra federalism federation preselection therapeutic goods Therapeutic Goods Administration plebiscites computer games pests suicide nuclear COAG Ministerial Councils floods ADHD stimulant medication advertising electricity extradition conscience votes poverty preventative health rural health coastal erosion Parliamentary Budget Office work-life balance

Show all
Show less
Back to top