Complaints handling

All DMO personnel have the right to work in an environment free of harassment and discrimination and are obliged to treat others fairly and inclusively. Commanders and managers across the DMO are responsible for promoting this ethos in their workplaces and for managing complaints about unacceptable behaviour sensitively, seriously and expeditiously. Unacceptable behaviour in the DMO is managed in accordance with two policy instructions—Defence Instructions (General) Personnel 35-3 and 35-4 of 11 February 2004.

Complaints about unacceptable behaviour that arise in the DMO are reported to the Defence Fairness and Resolution Branch, which manages a database of reported claims. The reporting of claims increased by an average of 22 per cent a year from 2005-06 to 2007-08 (see Table 4.14). The reasons for the increase in reporting are:

Table 4.14 Reported unacceptable behaviour complaints 2005-2008
  2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Reported Unacceptable Behaviour Complaints 33 37 50

Alternative dispute resolution

The DMO engages closely with the Alternative Resolution and Equity Directorate of the Defence Fairness and Resolution Branch.

The DMO strongly encourages the use of alternative dispute resolution as a way of resolving workplace conflict and seeks assistance from the directorate in relation to mediation issues as required.

Redress of grievance and review of actions

The Complaint Resolution Agency is responsible to the Chief of the Defence Force and the Secretary of Defence for providing independent investigation, review and handling of internal complaints. Data for 2007-08 is reported in Volume 1 of this report.

Defence whistleblower scheme

The Inspector General Division manages the Defence Whistleblower Scheme on behalf of the department. Any complaints involving DMO staff are referred by the Inspector General to the DMO for investigation and action. The DMO considers all allegations seriously and has instigated misconduct action against employees where whistleblower allegations have been proven. To encourage employees to come forth with complaints of inappropriate and poor practices, the scheme allows employees to lodge complaints anonymously, without fear of reprisal.