Prime Minster Scott Morrison has announced that a federal election will be held on Saturday 18 May 2019, ending weeks of speculation and marking the start of a 37-day campaign.
The decision to go to the polls follows an early federal budget that included no new measures for CSIRO and little for science in general; despite calls from research community representatives for stronger investment in the sector.
While the major political parties are still to respond to Staff Association correspondence seeking specific policy commitments on a range of issues – including CSIRO funding, job security, scientific integrity and fairer enterprise bargaining – representatives from the Coalition, Labor and the Greens recently met with science leaders in Sydney to outline competing visions for Australian research.
An all staff survey into workforce wellbeing at CSIRO has revealed improved commitment to the organisation’s aims and principles amid concerns that rising rates of stress, anxiety and disrespect continues to pose unacceptable risks.
The inaugural wellbeing survey – conducted by external contractor Willis Towers Watson – was run last November with the results released to staff in early March 2019. Some 37 per cent of CSIRO staff participated in the exercise.
“The picture the wellbeing survey paints is patchy,” CSIRO Staff Association Secretary Sam Popovski said.
“While the results confirm that staff remain strongly committed to CSIRO, there are clearly serious issues around levels of respect and anxiety and fears for freedom of expression,” Mr Popovski said.
CSIRO Human Resources (HR) have commenced consultation with all staff on a new Workplace Issues Resolution Procedure which will replace two existing procedures, the Misconduct Procedure and the Grievance Procedure, in effect merging these two procedures into one.
The Misconduct Procedure currently exists in CSIRO policy. The Grievance Procedure currently exists in the CSIRO Enterprise Agreement (EA) and is therefore legally enforceable under the Fair Work Act (unlike the Misconduct Procedure).
The new Workplace Issues Resolution Procedure will exist in CSIRO policy from August this year.