A taxpayer advocate has slammed a Tasmanian government department's plan to spent $52,500 of public money teaching managers and staff about respect.
"Public servants should be working for us, not spending their work hours and wasting our money learning basic manners," Australian Taxpayers' Alliance policy director Emilie Dye said.
"If this workshop really is about teaching respect, the Tasmanian people should question what kind of people the Department of State Growth has decided to hire.
"More likely this workshop is peddling social justice ideals wrapped up in a nice non-confrontational bow."
The department recently awarded a $52,500 tender to the Swinburne University of Technology to run "manager and employee respect workshops".
They would be delivered statewide.
A Department of State Growth spokesperson said the department was "committed to providing a respectful working environment and being a great place to work where everyone feels safe and respected".
"In line with other state service workplaces, the department is committed to implementing the Our Watch Workplace Equality and Respect Standards, of which respectful workplace behaviours training is part.
"The support of respectful workplace behaviours through workshops like this is just one way we instil a common understanding of both our individual and collective responsibilities in the workplace, which also supports our work in the broader community.
"Swinburne University of Technology has been engaged to deliver the training, which will be available to all managers and employees (over 900 employees) and will commence in the middle of 2021."
"The state government owes it to the taxpayers to explain exactly how they are spending tax dollars," Ms Dye said.
"Workers should not have to have a specific opinion about the issues of the day to work for the government.
"And the government shouldn't waste our money trying to force those employees to think in a certain way.
"As long as state employees know how to do their job, it shouldn't matter what they believe about trans women in women's sports or any other hot button topic."
The department's website says it "aims to attract, recruit and retain people who will uphold our values and are committed to building a strong, values-based culture".
"We are fair, trusting and appreciative," it said in a section about respect.
"Through our values, we promote a positive workplace environment."
The website says employees have the courage to make a difference through teamwork, respect, excellence and integrity.
"We incorporate our values and behaviours into our policies, systems and processes ...," it says.
"We align our values and behaviours with our performance management approach and continually promote the opportunity for people to grow and develop their career and lives in our training and development programs."