Malcolm Turnbull's "Bonk Ban" Could Extend To Public Service
Australia's top bureaucrat is considering whether to go further than Malcolm Turnbull's so-called ministerial "bonk ban" and change the code of conduct for public servants.
The prime minister overhauled ministerial rules in the wake of former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce's affair with a former staffer who is now pregnant with his child.
The public service code of conduct does not ban relationships at work, but has rules around making decisions "that would directly affect a person with whom the decision-maker has a relationship, or had a relationship in the past".
Dr Martin Parkinson, the head of the prime minister's department, had been asked to inquire into Mr Joyce's behaviour, but the inquiry was dropped when the deputy prime minister announced his resignation.
Enquiries are also still under way into claims Australian Border Force chief Roman Quaedvlieg, who has been on paid leave since mid-2017, used his authority to help his girlfriend get a job.
Dr Parkinson said increased disclosure would not be entered into lightly.
"One of the things that is absolutely central is both the issue of relationships in the workplace and are they consensual or do they come out of power imbalances, harassment and bullying, that dimension. There's also the issue of transparency about it," he told the Australian Financial Review on Friday.
Dr Parkinson said there were "strong procedures" in place to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace, as well as bullying.
"But it is clear social expectations of what's acceptable are changing and we will have to, like everyone else, look again at what we're doing and ask 'is it enough'?"
Two independent MPs, Andrew Wilkie and Cathy McGowan, have called for a new code of conduct covering all federal politicians and their staff.
They have tabled a motion calling for the privileges and members' interest committee to develop the code.