I think the decision is unfortunate, but it only limits the ability of public servants to criticise the government.
Note that even in the good old free-speaking USA there are limits on the speech of federal employees to speak about federal government policy, so the USA is not all that different from Australia, even though the USA has the First Amendment.
In the UK public servants are supposed to be seen as being neutral, or apolitical. Making certain sorts of comment might be construed at compromising that impartiality, the higher up you are the greater the requirement to be seen to be impartial.
It really would not do for a public servant to be seen criticising an elected representative but in return ministers are also required to refrain from criticising public servants as individuals as part of their political platform.Some ministers have failed to do this and have been dismissed from government.
Ministers have to trust that public servants undertake their work in line with policy, or there is a danger that the public servant might end up enacting their own personal take on that policy.
In specific roles the duties of the public servant may be such that some public statements are incompatible with their role - so for example, you would not be allowed to be a member of an organisation whose platform is racist if you are working in a field where you have to deal directly with the public.
What you can do as a public servant is join a trade union and express your opposition and concerns through your own elected representatives who will raise such matters in appropriate forums. There are mechanisms to deal with such concerns.
I don’t know what you’re talking about. Federal employees cannot engage in political activity (advocating for a particular candidate or party) during their work hours, and a few special types of employees (like CIA agents) are prohibited from certain electioneering activities during their own time. But I have never heard anything that prohibits a government employee from speaking about policy issues. I think you’ve been misinformed.
ETA: of course if you are a political appointee and you criticize the one who appointed you, all bets are off. But this does not apply to 99% of government employees who are not political appointees.
It’s because she spoke out against refugee-torturing policies. The government just loves their refugee-torturing. She probably could have criticised tax policy, climate policy or education policy all day and all night without anyone in government doing more than roll their eyes.
This is the same government which tried to have “telling people what you see in a refugee detention center” become a crime punishable by two years jail (spoiler alert: didn’t work. So we still do have some freedom of speech)
Fazio v. City & Cty. of San Francisco, 125 F.3d 1328, 1331 (9th Cir. 1997)
Here are the Pickering factors:
"In performing this analysis, the court should inquire into such matters as whether the speech:
(i) impairs discipline or control by superiors, (ii) disrupts co-worker relations, (iii) erodes a close working relationship premised on personal loyalty and confidentiality, (iv) interferes with the speaker’s performance of her or his duties, or (v) obstructs the routine operations of the office."
From that case: “According to the San Francisco Charter § 3.402, the position of Assistant District Attorney is an at-will position, and no cause is required for the firing of an Assistant District Attorney.“
While noting that the claim I was responding to pertained to Federal employees, and I noted that political appointees at the Federal level can be fired at any time for virtually any reason, and that such positions are not representative of the vast majority of Federal appointees, it seems reasonably clear to me that this Assistant District Attorney served in a similar role to a Federal political appointee.
There is an Australian Public Service (“APS”) Code of Conduct, which she knowingly breached (over 9000 tweets, some during work hours). I’m not saying I agree with the code of conduct, but if she couldn’t abide by it she shouldn’t have taken the job. Anyway she’s allowed to keep tweeting, she just can’t work there anymore.