This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'Social media policy'.

No. 17 Contact with the Media 
Page  1 
No. 17 
Contact with the Media 
Key Points 
Public Comment 
This Chief Executive Instruction (CEI) has been 
issued pursuant to section 44 of the Financial 
Management and Accountability Act 1997 
(FMA Act) and sections 13, 14 and 15 of the 
Public Service Act 1999
There are some circumstances in which it is 
not appropriate for public servants to make 
public comment. 
Employees should consider the likely impact 
of comments made by them in a personal 
rather than official capacity. 
Media Contacts 
Ensure that all approaches from the media for 
comment are redirected to the Corporate 
Branch’s Media & Ministerial Team for 
approval and advice on the appropriate 
Ensure that all opportunities to communicate 
through the media are used as effectively as 
Avoid media contact which is uncoordinated, 
potentially misleading or potentially 
embarrassing to the Government, Ministers, 
our CEO or Geoscience Australia. 
Geoscience Australia Chief Executive Instructions   
December 2009 

No. 17 Contact with the Media 
Page  2 
There is little restriction on the majority of public servants making 
public comment.  Public servants have a right, as members of the 
community, to make public comments.  However, there are some 
circumstances in which it is not appropriate to make public 
comment.  To ensure that Geoscience Australia employees are 
aware of what is expected of them, the Chief Executive Officer 
has issued this instruction.  
         Public Comment………………………..……………………………3 
Media Contacts .............................................................................. 4 
Media Releases ............................................................................... 5 
Geoscience Australia Chief Executive Instructions   
December 2009 

No. 17 Contact with the Media 
Page  3 
Public Comment 
1.  There is little restriction on the majority of public servants making public 
comment.  Public servants have a right, as members of the community, to 
make public comment.  However, because of the nature of public service 
employment and the working relationship with the elected government, there 
are some circumstances in which it is not appropriate for public servants to 
make public comment. 
2.  Geoscience Australia employees should consider the likely impact caused by 
comments made by them as public servants in a personal rather than official 
capacity, and are advised to consider carefully whether it is realistic for them 
to claim to appear in a personal, rather than official capacity, especially if 
they are likely to be asked to comment on matters which fall within their area 
of official responsibility. 
When public comment is considered inappropriate by Geoscience Australia 
3.  Examples of when public comment will be considered inappropriate by 
Geoscience Australia management are: 
  when a Geoscience Australia officer is making public comment in a 
private capacity, but has not made this fact clear to the audience, 
who may be under the impression that the officer is speaking on behalf 
of Geoscience Australia or the Government; 
  where public comment amounting to criticism of Geoscience Australia 
administration could cause serious disruption to the workplace (NB: 
public servants have a legislative responsibility to adhere to the APS 
Code of Conduct and the APS Values); 
  where public comment, although it has little or no connection with an 
officer’s normal duties, is so harsh or extreme in its criticism of the 
Government or its policies, that it indicates that the public servant 
concerned is incapable of professionally, ethically or impartially 
performing their official duties; 
  when a Geoscience Australia officer is involved in advising / 
implementing / researching an aspect of government policy, and the 
public comment could be seen as compromising the officer’s ability to 
continue to do so in an unbiased manner; and 
  where public comment amounts to gratuitous personal attacks. 
Geoscience Australia Chief Executive Instructions   
December 2009 

No. 17 Contact with the Media 
Page  4 
Media Contacts 
4.  Geoscience Australia aims to ensure that all opportunities to communicate 
with our stakeholders and clients through the media are used as effectively as 
5.  A key strategy is to avoid media contact which is uncoordinated, potentially 
misleading or potentially embarrassing to the Government, Ministers, our CEO 
or Geoscience Australia. 
6.  All media contact, both pro-active through the issue of media releases and 
reactive to direct media contact, will be coordinated by the Corporate 
Branch’s Communications Section via the 24/7 Media Hotline – 1800 882 035 
7.  Geoscience Australia officers should act with common sense and discretion. 
The following procedures are mandatory for all Geoscience Australia staff. 
Direct media contact 
8.  All approaches from the media for comment on any issue must be reported to 
the Communications Section before responding.  The response will be 
coordinated by the Communications Section with approval from the relevant 
Chief of Division or CEO. 
9.  The term “media” refers to all commercial and independent media in all 
mediums, including online blogging and social networking sites (where the 
staff member is representing GA). 
10. The Communications Section will redirect the media query to the Ministers 
Office IF the information requested covers : 
  Current political issues; 
  Government policy development; 
  Government policy (unless agreed with the Minister’s office); 
  Cabinet matters and decisions; or 
  Electorate issues. 
11. If requested by the Ministers Office, Ministerial letters to the Press should be 
prepared for Ministerial approval and signature and cleared through the 
Communications Section in accordance with normal briefing procedures. 
12. In response to an approved media release, routine factual/administrative 
enquiries about such matters as research findings, statistical reports, and 
promotion of Geoscience Australia products etc can be given to the media 
Geoscience Australia Chief Executive Instructions   
December 2009 

No. 17 Contact with the Media 
Page  5 
by nominated contact officers on request, and should be reported to 
Corporate Branch's Communications Section to enable accurate monitoring 
of media contact.  
13. Contact officers on media releases must handle all media contact on the 
issues covered by the release, and must ensure that they will be available to 
the media for several days following the issue of the release. 
  In all contact with the media, officers must remember that they are not 
permitted to give opinions on Government policies. Note that this does 
not preclude the provision of appropriate factual background 
information to clarify the reasons for the adoption of particular policies 
by Government. 
14. Geoscience Australia letters to the Press must be cleared with the CEO. 
  Clearance with the Minister’s Office may also be required if the letter 
deals with sensitive or significant issues on which enquiries may be 
directed to the Minister or his staff. 
Media Releases 
15. All media releases are developed by the Communications Section in 
partnership with projects/divisions and will be approved by the relevant Chief 
of Division or CEO. 
  All media releases must have the Geoscience Australia Media Hotline 
number.  The Duty Media Officer will coordinate all media contact on 
the issue covered by the release. 
16. Media releases that cover any of the following areas will be developed by the 
Communications Unit in liaison with the Minister’s Office and will be Ministerial 
  The story is directly related to an announcement or policy decision made 
by government. 
  The story is in response to a request by the Minister’s Office. 
  The story is based in their electorate and they wish to be involved. 
  The story can be added to by having the Minister comment. 
17. Other media releases that cover the work of Geoscience Australia, including 
its science, activities and the release of results, will be developed by the 
Communications Section in partnership with the project and approval of the 
relevant Chief of Division or CEO as Geoscience Australia Releases
  Geoscience Australia Releases must not quote the Minister. 
Geoscience Australia Chief Executive Instructions   
December 2009 

No. 17 Contact with the Media 
Page  6 
18. The Minister’s Office will arrange distribution of Ministerial media releases to the 
Press Gallery.  The Communications Section may distribute these releases to 
other media outlets if requested and approved by the Minister’s Office. 
19. The Communications Section will arrange distribution of Geoscience Australia 
media releases to appropriate media outlets.  
Geoscience Australia CEI 33 Code of Conduct 
Australian Public Service (APS) Code of Conduct 
Australian Public Service (APS) Values 
Geoscience Australia Chief Executive Instructions   
December 2009