12 December 2018

Throughout the recent public sector campaign, we have received communication from some members that they are reluctant to share ANMF materials on social media because they are concerned that it may get them into ‘trouble’ with their employer.

Can sharing ANMF material be harmful?
We do not believe that an employee should be punished for liking or sharing material that has been sent or posted by the ANMF. You can make it clear in any post that you are merely sharing the information. We recommend caution in adding your own text to any ‘shares’ as this can be an area where employees may find themselves approached by management and may lead to a workplace disciplinary matter.

What about comments?
Similar caution should be extended to commenting on other people’s posts to ensure any material cannot be deemed to be derogatory, offensive, inappropriate, highly critical of the government, subject to misrepresentation or any other possible breach of the Code of Conduct.

Didn’t the government have a social media policy?
The Tasmanian Government did try to bring in a social media policy which would have virtually shut down your right to any opinion/comment however, that policy (which was in draft) has since been withdrawn.

While Regulation 11 of the State Service Regulations 2011 says (in part):

An officer or employee is not, without the permission of the Minister administering the Agency in which the officer or employee is employed, to make any communication or contribution, directly or indirectly, anonymously or otherwise, on any matter affecting the Agency in which the officer or employee is employed, or the functions or duties of the officer or employee, to any newspaper or publication of a like nature …

It is arguable that social media is not a ‘newspaper or a publication of a like nature’.

What’s the take home message?
It is important to be respectful about your employment and your employer, but we do not believe you are prohibited from sharing information from the ANMF with family, friends and colleagues.  If you are told you must respond to a complaint because you have posted something, then you should immediately contact the ANMF Member Support Team for advice and assistance at meetings.