Calls for ethics training for Tasmanian public servants

Tasmanian Solicitor-General, Leigh Sealy has recommended a new training program covering both the legal and ethical obligations of the state’s public workers.

In his annual report, Mr Sealy argued while the public sector had some education programs in place, they lacked consistency and continuity.

“I am aware that in past years the Office has been involved in a much more comprehensive educative programme but this has tended to wax and wane in accordance with perceived or actual demand.

“In my opinion there is a clear need for a more or less comprehensive and continuing programme of education for members of the State Service which deals with both the legal and ethical responsibilities of the Crown and its servants,” Mr Sealy said in the report.

He said it would not be realistic to expect the Crown and its servants to always act as a ‘moral exemplar’ as they could be unaware of the required ethical standards.
“The Crown is not only subject to ‘the rule of law’, it also has a positive obligation to ascertain what the law is and then, to comply with and enforce it,” he said.
“However, it is probably unreasonable to expect exemplary standards of conduct from those who may be unaware of those standards.”

Mr Sealy’s report is expected to assist the Tasmanian Government in evaluating options to lift the level of accountability in the state’s administration.

The Government is reportedly also considering the establishment of an independent commission against corruption.

Premier David Bartlett said he would wait for the recommendations of a parliamentary committee before making a final decision.  

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