DHS boss apologises for ‘rat’ comparison

by Chloe Taylor29 May 2015
Kathryn Campbell, the Department of Human Services secretary, has offered her workforce a written apology after striking workers were depicted as rodents on an internal IT system.

According to The Canberra Times, Campbell wrote to her 34,000 employees on Wednesday to apologise for any offence caused by the incident.

Employees were outraged earlier this month when it emerged that the icon used to represent workers who took protected industrial action was a rodent.

In an attempt to make amends, departmental bosses insisted that the icon was a mouse, not a rat, and changed the icon – to a picture of toilet paper.

Eventually, workers who had taken part in strikes were depicted on the system by an icon of the letter ‘P’.

Campbell reportedly avoided giving her personal view on the ‘mouse or rat’ argument, but said in her email that systems had been put into place to ensure that the situation would not occur again.

“I also wish to put on the record an apology for any offence taken by the selection of icons used in one of our Smart Centre scheduling tools,” she wrote. “It was unintentional and processes have been established to identify such sensitivities into the future.”

Campbell also used the email to deny reports that her senior executives had evaded the tough measures experienced by the department’s lower ranking employees in recent years.

“The number of SES officers in our department has reduced by over 18%, compared with an overall staff reduction of just under 8% since 2011,” she said. “I can also confirm the SES have not received an increase in their pay since 2013.” 


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