PARROT RHYMES AND THE KISSES OF CANE TOADS
GOVERNANCE AND BUSINESS PRE-2006
Achieving new middles in mediocrity
Mosaic Portal Network
Corroding governance in Australia
Author: Kevin R Beck
When politicians' incompetence is simply too much for society to bear ....a solid record of ...
Kevin Andrews, common sense and the world is flat .... filtering the bull shit
... public policy and the church of the customer
The Chair of the Fair Pay Commission will be taking advice from God. Will God be communicating by email, or letter, or in some acceptable form to comply with legislated public sector record keeping practice? ... indicator of maturity
Of Australia's 200 biggest companies, directors in 123 are reportedly breaking the law. Who are they and what is Australia's Treasurer, Peter Costello and the Australian Securities Commission doing about this scandal? More.....
Advertisement: Wanted leaders for Australia, political, public and corporate See selection criteria.....
Australia's mental health services a travesty,
... wasting Australia's human talent
Uranium in Australia
ethical meltdown ...
Sowing fear for political purpose
PREFERENTIAL TWO PARTY - RIGGED PARLIAMENTS|
Parliamentary make up are not representative of voters except in Tasmania and the ACT.
No matter where you live in Australia, in the country or the city. No matter your religion, political beliefs or associations or colour of politics, if you want to be represented in parliament by someone who is likely to treat you with respect and remain loyal over the years then you should vote for the National candidate or an independent. They are also more likely to let you participate and hear your views without the filter of "your political baggage." Those who see government as the personal fiefdom of one of the two major parties (labor and liberal) argue that a vote for an independent is wasted because they are "not permitted to do get anywhere. The government of the day will actually work to over ride your vote by making it worthless. These people have little concept of the notion of fair and equitable representation and there is not one value one vote in their small minded world. The reality is they are not just thugs they are legalised vandals even criminals if one feels passionately about Australian democracy and the role of parliament. They will ensure that your representation is devalued. There is a growing number of independents in our parliaments and where the parliament is fairly evenly distributed between labor and liberal it can be an independent that decides who governs. This happens in the states and territories but not so much in the federal parliament. The crude and unacceptability of the "senior conservative party members" and their mentality is not only evident in their behaviour in Queensland and towards independents it quite open when National Senator Barnaby Joyce speaks his mind or argues the point. In Queensland the liberals cannot get it in their heads that they are the "juniors" of the conservative party and the Nationals are the seniors. This arrogant assumption as to control is especially nasty when Senator Joyce votes differently to how they (the government members) do in the parliament. The greater number of political party members are followers and fill the seats of the parliament without adding value to the innovation and quality of our democracy. They maintain the status quo and accept the handouts from their senior party members in the cabinet room with gratefulness. Many aspire to representing their electoral voters rather than themselves. This is an honourable thing. Some do not and they are quite transparent and identifiable. All claim to debate rigorously in the party room but when they emerge they are as one. The rule is solidarity is strength, and division is political death. On this basis the renegades who defied the Prime Minister and the cabinet on the 2006 immigration bill should have caused a political stroke tantamount to the beginning of death. This is pure crap. The media and the machine men and women of the parties peddle this triteness and they convince the voters that this is fact. The Democrats imploded because disunity is death. If you cannot run the party how can you run the country? What about the parliament actually running the country? What a novel concept.
The "executive" of governments, a handful of politicians, run the country (about five at most and in some states it is one or two) decide what is happening, not the parliament of the people. In 2005 the National Party seemed to have an awakening that it is possible to be conservative but it is not necessary to be sycophantic. The party operation is similar to the royal courts of France of days gone by. They just dress differently.
The Nationals are now opening debate in the parliament largely due to the efforts of Barnaby Joyce. Barnaby won his seat in parliament by a whisker and the liberal machine, men and women, are working very hard behind the scenes to take back what they believe is rightfully their seat in the house. If they were to achieve this or labor were to win the seat at the next half Senate election it would be a bad thing for the parliament and democracy. A vote for the National party member is a vote for the conservatives, and thus the liberals. However the National are allowed to participate and are allowed to adequately represent you. This is not to say that they do not exhibit the contemptible political traits in terms of policy and action of the modern politician but they bring something else to the houses of the people. It could be their "country upbringing". There are of course nationals who do not necessarily live in the country. They do not seem laden with the liberal and labor reticence to deal with you because you are not in "my electorate". Many liberal, and labor, part members have little concept of what technology and changes in society have done to the demographic and ability of people to interact unexpectedly anywhere. Governments tell us that we no longer have a job for lifetime and that we must consider travelling to where the work is. Yet the individual politician cannot extrapolate what this might mean for them in their electorate. What is my electorate really when I conduct business locally, regionally, nationally and internationally? What interest at anyone time might I represent? It is no longer about where I am electorally enrolled, and vote, it is about where, and when, I choose to enact my interests and how I might go about the task.
Another factor is with whom I might do these things. How do these new dimensions of technology, and work and interest,impact on single, or multiple, politicians and governments and on whose behalf? They change the dynamic and the game.
I have had extensive interaction internally, and externally, with politicians, government and opposition political parties over two decades. These associations have been more on the labor side of politics than the conservatives. Yet the people who have never denied me access, association and respect are national party politicians. There was no greater gentleman in the federal parliament than National Leader Tim Fischer. Peter McGauran has remained even handed over the years even when I have criticised him on radio, in the pres and on the web. An effusive hand shaking politician he is none the less sincere. Barnaby Joyce is sincere and are many state national politicians. The labor, and liberal members, I interact with I find are less sincere and seem to be more judgemental than their national counterparts. All politicians are blinkered but the nationals seem less so to me.
As for labor, whom I supported by being a member at the branch and state level. I supported them in the trade union movement and in the electricity privatisation of process, against my better judgement, in Victoria and others who I have interacted with at federal and state level? Well I think they are on the majority side untrustworthy, very ignorant, and not worth a moment's consideration. They do not do their homework and will take cheap pot shots against citizens under parliamentary privilege (refer Hansard in the Victorian parliament, August 22, 2006, Member for Clayton - speech by Leighton, labor member for Preston) because they largely lack spine and courage. Leighton demonstrates the depth, and intellectual firepower, of the modern labor politician. The labor politician of 2006 is a not a patch on the quality of their former political icons. I think there is no loyalty in this suspicious lot. Their trade union, and narrowly based, backgrounds lend them to being suspicious.
The liberals well they are more on the arrogant side as if they feel that they are the superior party, born to be the senior partner. Look at Queensland to see that they have great difficulty knowing their place there. They are the junior. In dealing with them they tend to see that you as either with them or against them. They are nepotistic like labor. All is black and white, much like labor. Thus they are relatively indistinguishable in the overall political scene.
The media, and political commentators, wrote of the National Party at the last federal election whereas
The members of Australia's governments, and corporations, must think the average Australian is quite stupid. Why? Because whether you are at work or at home in your community they will tell you lies, stuff everything up, or think up a new idea to experiment on you. They will under perform and cause you immense discomfort or even great loss. Then tell you that they have the solution. They will argue, with hand on heart and great contrition, that they are the only ones who know what to do. They will fix the health system, the education system, make it rain, control the market and interest rates, create jobs, and make you all wealthy. They have found enlightenment and learnt from their mistakes. They are listening to you.
What a load of crock, cant and sophistry, pops out of their individual, and collective, mouths. These people either are, or they employ, spin doctors to lie to you and manipulate. Their only goal is self survival. It is not your well being because the ideologies, policies, opinions and objectives of the governments of the day are far more important than anything you might think or have to offer. The government is theirs, labor and liberal/national. The public companies are the province of a few board members and executives and institutional shareholders. These mainstays of society and economy are not anyone else to occupy or own. It is not the public good they serve because the public good is not synonymous with the interests of the power collective membership. When they go they take the spoils with them regardless of how they affected your lives or performed their allocated tasks.
The question is why, given the continual diatribe of lies and misrepresentation, cost, deaths and misery, do you believe the politicians and the public and private enterprise boards and executives who have little regard for your contribution and value.
What I write here is irrelevant to
most people. It is particularly irrelevant to members of
Australia's political class, the public services and public and private enterprise
We have such limited capacity to influence our workplace and limited control, even none,
within the duopoly of political power that controls our federal state, territory and local governments.
We have consigned our democracy and chosen feckless life style pursuits in its place.
DO WE HAVE DISDAIN FOR EVERY POLITICIAN?
The somewhat nebulous, and collective term "politician", is a mystery. It we ask people what they think about politicians we find that it is a "category" for whom it seems the majority of people have little respect, bar for a few sycophants and supporters. Interestingly this lack of respect for "politicians" may not necessarily apply to the individual local member of parliament in your electorate. This is not inconsistent with the general population opinion published in surveys. They, the members of parliament, simply ignore that fact. They can for they are in control. Collectively it seems a pack mentality takes over the individual politician. It is a sate of acquiescence to the party line (read executive cabinet line). Then there seems to be a dispensation that allows them to do stuff without regard to any moral compass or measure of accountability. They make up things, "children overboard" (Howard et al). "job creation numbers", "weapons of mass destruction", (Howard, et al) "Israeli bombing of ambulance in Lebanon a hoax" (Alexander Downer), "every system doing well", (every labor and liberal Premier and Chief Minister across Australia). It is okay if they do it (that is lie and misrepresent) but watch for the response if you or someone else makes up things and acts like them.
If ever there was an example that the democracy is not owned by the people, it is the debate about how long John Howard will remain as Prime Minister. There are just a handful of people who actually care. They are the members of the coalition government, the labor opposition and few media commentators particularly the federal parliament press gallery. The Treasurer, Peter Costello, has an expectation that the Prime Ministerial role is his by right of "royal" passing. Howard is to anoint him and hand owner. In July 2006 he became tired of waiting and spat the dummy. He showed immaturity and self indulgence. It was obscene, like some poorly scripted second rate play. It is quite immaterial to Peter Costello, and his supporters, that the a very large number of Australians detest him. One woman within the Mosaic Portal focus group, when asked about Peter Costello, continually refers to his smirk. She is reminded of Costello's glee, and intemperate comments, when Paul Keating lost his election in 1985. She describes Costello as "not a nice person". He exhibits an indifference and elitism according to others. Perhaps it is that he has never actually had to work for the role of Prime Minister, just hang around playing second fiddle. Australians do not vote for their leader and this is a serious flaw in our democratic process because we can see that our system is manipulated by people who think it is their personal fiefdom. They are consumed by their own world and the public interest is but a throw away line in their rhetoric and shallow diatribe.
Peter Costello is not alone in being disliked for his personality traits. I have a particular lack of respect for the Foreign Minister in Australia's government, Alexander Downer. It is absolute disregard for justice and humanity, and that of his colleague the Attorney General, Philip Ruddock, which is akin to a bile. Mr. Downer and Mr. Ruddock, in my mind, exist in an even lesser category of political description. When Mumbai was bombed, on July 12, 2006, the Honourable Alexander Downer linked the situation of David Hicks (in Guantanamo Bay, a stark example of the failure of the government to provide basic human rights to a citizen of Australia) likening him to the terrorists. He said that it was time for showing strength. He is downplaying the announcement that David Hicks is covered by the Geneva Convention. Alexander Downer is a person of questionable ability as a Minister. He was a former leader of the opposition and he publicly failed there. He is a petty little political man whose job is a sinecure from someone else. He, like many in the liberal government, keeps his position at the whim of the Prime Minister. David Hicks is in the wrong place at the wrong time, for Australia has Ministers of little compassion and even lesser long term vision. Alexander Downer, Philip Ruddock and John Howard are tarred with the same brush of mediocrity. Imagine that these people will retire on a pension of hundreds of thousands of dollars without ever being held accountable for their inadequacies and inhumanity.
The lack of ability of Alexander Downer in the portfolio, and the senior executives of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade can be seen in the failure to plan for contingencies exhibited in the Israeli - Lebanon conflict. Downer obsfucates and mumbles that things are being done and that it is difficult. He has had days and yet he cannot proffer a solution. The department lacks skilled people and there is a significant failure of the Australian Intelligence community to plan and give foreward thinking information.
Kim Beazley, leader of the labor opposition, blusters that the government is not doing as much as the Europeans. He does not define what this precisely means because he has no idea what it means. It is a typical vacuous statement, redolent of Beazley's wind baggery. He carps without offering a solution. His spokesperson Kevin Rudd, a seasoned diplomat is conspicuously void of ideas. Now Beazley, and Rudd, continually whine the excuse that in opposition they have no staff. The real problem for labor is that the advisory staff they have are lacking in skill, ability and aforethought. Add this to their incompetency and one can see why they are not an alternative government at this or any stage. Labor politicians employ hacks of the party without carrying out an exacting critique of their abilities. If the US administration is not there to tell Alexander Downer, et al what to say and do in a crisis, then we can see the result. They trot out the supporting Jewish line and stand mute as to the proposition that the Arabs have laid a spectacular trap into which Israel, the USA and Australia and perhaps the United Kingdom are going to walk. The Israelite and Arab political class will never admit that either has the right to exist. We can see the result when war mongering men of every nation, regardless of ethnicity, gain political control. Welcome to the Israeli inspired, supported by the USA and Australian government's, Armageddon.
The more threatening the shadows that fall on the present day from a terrible future looming in the distance, the more compelling the shock that can be provoked by dramatizing risk today. Established risk definitions are thus a magic wand with which a stagnant society can terrify itself (Beck, U, 1999, World Risk Society, pp. 137-8).
Australia's governments exploit individual, and collective, fear and insecurity. None more so than the Australian government under John Howard. The tools of exploitation, delivered through extravagant advertising campaigns, and public relations techniques, control access to information whilst manipulating emotions, opinions and beliefs. They are designed to present material that is favourable to Australia's governments and the incumbent executive and political membership. The public services of Australia no longer serve the public interest or the public good as their primary objective. Rather they serve the political whims, ideologies and desires of the politicians who brook no challenge to their authority. The resources of government are used to silence critics and marginalise objectors. The return on investment in governments and politicians by taxpayers can be described as marginal at best. Australians have consigned their democracy, and government, into the hands of a few individuals under the management of a duopoly, the Labor and Liberal Parties. They have over time denigrated and corroded the processes of parliaments. Parliaments are no longer functioning bodies representative of the nation's population and needs. The nation's government and policy processes, at local, state and federal levels, are commodities open to purchase by the highest bidder. These systems are populated to a great extent by unethical elected, and unelected, individuals. The only way out is for the voters to play a greater role in their governance and to elect a broader number of quality representatives who are not obligated to the machine men and women of the two major parties. To place politicians at the electorate level on enforceable contracts of performance as a condition of election to office. regularly assess them and to act accordingly and constantly. (Beck, K.R., 2006)
It was not until Dr. Geoff Gallop had gone from politics that we could the see real man, see and hear his compassion and disillusionment with Australian political life. He resigned as Premier of Western Australia when depression overcame him. These words sum up the quality of the man and the broken state of our democracy. "Yes we do have to eat to live, but we also need to breathe and to feel. Nor is it just a matter of soul. Life needs to be meaningful as well as practical and relational," Gallop, June 2006.
"The world keeps getting more complicated and we keep having to explain it to you in simpler terms, so we can get our little oversimplified explanations on the evening news. Eventually, instead of even trying to explain it, we just give up and sling mud at each other." (Primary Colours, USA, 1985). So who is to blame for this situation? People who cannot be bothered to educate themselves? The political and media advisers, who give politicians trite, and uninspiring, speeches and material, thinking that the average person cannot understand complex issues? Whoever writes the Prime Minister's speeches needs to take lessons in literacy and articulation. Is it the journalists who are incapable of writing eloquently and succinctly with the art of language? The television, radio producers and the press editors who demand the thirty second voice grab, and produce the news by rote? Perhaps it is the editor who wants articles that are either eight hundred or one thousand five hundred words? Perhaps it is all of them in unison dumbing down the nation. Whatever it is a manipulation using multiple techniques and it is dangerous to the long term democracy of Australia and its governance.
Why bother to vote an elected member of parliament if they are directed how to vote?
Simply because if you do not you have no input at all.
It is time for all Australian citizens to actively value their democracy and to take it back.
Do not wait for an election every few years for the choices are limited and controlled.
You have to participate in more ways than just a vote.
What is it that is most important in this country, that affects every aspect of our daily lives?
It is governments and democracy. However in Australia our democracy and participation and right to representation is being stolen in many ways. Here is one example.
Tony Abbott is the government's manager of business in the Australian federal House of Representatives. He is a Minister of the Crown and sits in the cabinet. He is often presented as one of the stars of the parliament and a person with leadership aspirations. In the parliament on Wednesday, 31, June 2006, he described an opposition politician as a "grub".
"Kelvin Thompson, Shadow Minister for Public Accountability moved suspension of standing orders at approximately 12:40 pm to allow the House to debate a motion regarding AWB shares held and sold by the Member for Gwydir and former Deputy Prime Minister, John Anderson. When Mr Thomson had raised this matter in Parliament on other occasions he had been advised by the Speaker that the correct way to raise this issue was through a motion. In an attempt to shut down this embarrassing debate for the Government, the Leader of Government Business, Tony Abbott moved: That the snivelling grub over there be not further heard The Leader of Government Business, Tony Abbott was not required by the Acting Deputy Speaker of the House to immediately withdraw..." Despite the motion clearly being out of order it was put to a vote. The Leader of Government Business, Tony Abbott should be deeply ashamed of his conduct in the House of Representatives. He should have volunteered to withdraw the disgraceful comment immediately. The Acting Deputy Speaker failed to make the Minister unconditionally withdraw the comment and persisted in putting the out of order motion forcing Labor to move a dissent motion against him. The Governments conduct was so extraordinary that the Speaker was forced to enter the Parliament and resume the Chair to restore order." extract statement, Australian Labor Party, www.alp.org.au, 25 May 2006)
Tony Abbott made a sarcastic apology. Examination of Mr Abbott's time as a minister, the tone and quality of his debates in parliament and his creation of division in Australia, particularly with regard to women, implies that he is, on balance, a politician whose take home salary and benefits appear to exceed, quite extensively on too many occasions, his contribution to public life and the quality of governance of the nation. He demeans the parliament and the people whose house it is purported to be. This proposition has become a joke.
The Speaker of the House, is a member of the government. The speaker of the House of Representatives, at any time (whether labor or liberal), has demonstrated on too many occasions, a bias, and a disregard for the value that he delivers to the people of the nation by his thoughtless and partisan decisions. The speaker, in this case a government liberal member, ejected an opposition (labor) politician who objected to Mr. Abbott's denigration and abuse in exactly the same words Mr. Abbott used. When a member is ejected it denies representation to the people who pay for their candidate to be there. The Speaker stole the peoples' democracy. He showed a poor performance in the role, lack of respect for the people of Australia and their rights, to be represented. He demonstrated the lack of values he brings to the role and value delivered, to the operation of this house of the parliament, for the pay he receives. The Speakers of Australia's parliaments, in theory and practice, should be independent, but they invariably are not. They are partisan and their conduct demonstrates the belief by members that the parliament is their domain and we just have to put up with it. The parliament of Australia, and its inhabitants, are not held in high regard.
"Australia has one of the lowest participation rates by the wider community in party politics. It would probably be fair to say most Australians have a low regard for politics and politicians. Most believe that individuals can make no difference. Many have given up. I believe we can all make a contribution to a better Australia." (Extract from the maiden speech of liberal Senator Bill Heffernan, 10 December, 1985.
In these words lie the very reason why this Speaker and any member of parliament should realise that they are accountable. However for many, including me, he has, like Mr. Abbott, been found extremely wanting and irresponsible fuelling mutual contempt. Who holds these people accountable? It certainly is not their leader, the Prime Minister, the Premiers or Chief Ministers, or the individual members of Australia's parliaments. In a world where accountability, and performance, is measured by different, and exacting, standards these people stand arrogantly apart. They legislate to give themselves, employers and others the right to judge ordinary citizens. However they (particularly the Executive) imbue themselves with immunity. imbue themselves with special status and hold themselves to be above the common standards. They are well aware that we can only determine their future on limited occasions and the ballot boxes. This is both sad, and disheartening, because many citizens have no one to look up to in these places. "They can safely treat us with barely concealed contempt." (Quote: The Profit Clinic, John Counsel, Chapter 11, Small Business Books 1985, 1985).
The Premier of Victoria, Steve Bracks, is a former school teacher. No doubt in that role he was charged with presenting an ethical and professional image to his students. So why is he apparently incapable of a similar behaviour as the Premier of Victoria? Prior to winning office the labor party of which he is leader made much of the liberal government's period of administration and quality of governance.
"Labor remains committed to open Government and will repair the damage done to democratic process in recent years by: Strengthening the FOI Act and ensuring requests are responded to within the permitted time;" Labor: New Solutions policy February 1999, p. 129.
The Attorney General (the state's highest legal officer) in the current government, lead by Steve Bracks, also made much of the former government's ethics, integrity and probity.
In 2006 the Victorian labor Premier, Steve Bracks and the Attorney General Rob Hulls, can both be confidently described as hypocrites. The Attorney General is more culpable in that he allows a law to be degraded, avoided and corrupted by unelected people and by public servants. This raises questions as to what they have to hide and why they are willing to degrade the democratic processes through secrecy, obsfucation and lies? of the state under question. These two politicians provide no ethical, or moral, leadership to the other executive members of cabinet and to the public service. The 2006 Ombudsman's report on Freedom of Information is the document that squarely sheets the hypocrisy home. The government leaders and ministers actively flout the FOI laws. The public service breaches its code of conduct and deliberately interferes with the operation of democracy and degrades the quality of the state's governance. They verge on criminal behaviour.
Ministers rebuked for toying with FOI, Keith Moor, Herald Sun Newspaper, 02june 06
"THE state watchdog has accused government ministers of delaying the release of sensitive documents possibly for political purposes. Ombudsman George Brouwer also found evidence of ministerial staff trying to change decisions of Freedom of Information officers to hand over documents. He said this lent support to the allegation that the supposedly independent FOI decision-making process was open to political manipulation..... SOME government agencies had a culture of concealment, rather than openness, when dealing with FOI requests".
At the very least these people are unethical and unprofessional. They are paid to serve the people yet the politicians and their advisers have corrupted public service independence. They have rendered the public servants, government servants. This is in itself might not be a bad thing since the constitutions of the nation make no mention of the public servant role as head. However the capacity of the ministers is not of a calibre to compensate. Out of this public policy is abysmal, unimaginative and too often partisan in nature serving political interests and not the state or the nation.
There is little evidence that there is an ethical or moral compass at the top and the advisers to the Premier, and Ministers, damage the process of government and they are a disgrace in that they assume to themselves, with the tacit approval of Mr. Bracks and the cabinet, powers and roles not conferred on them by the constitution or the electoral process. These people too are thieves of the peoples' democracy and are not fit for high office. We need to take back our democracy and ensure that they serve the public and not their own interest.
Then why delegate it?
A behind the scenes look at Australia's governance
Date: Flexible, 2005, author Kevin Beck, political satire
TO: Smokey Mirrors, Director of Communications
Australian Government (and coincidentally the White House)
And Special Forces Rapid Rebuttal Team of Truth and Criticism
Spin Room 24
Corridor of Synonyms, Antonyms
Parliament House, Canberra, Australia.
From: Minister for Immigration,
and Department of Extreme, and Dangerous, Stupidity
Dear Mr. Mirrors
I write on issues of high priority. There has been a litany of misfortunes besetting my portfolio, which was handed down to me by Lord Syth, who has moved on to become "Overseer General", Caesar of the Legal Maze and Minister, Department for Home Raids and Variable Intelligence. Among the several hundred disasters and crimes against humanity committed by dedicated types and culturally challenged despots in my new department is the case of a woman of advanced age, somewhere between 104 and 110, an illegal, lurking in the suburbs causing the Department, due to pragmatic regard for the interest of the Australian government, over that of public interest and humanity, not to make a decision about her status, as they do and should. Some rude people are calling my portfolio a lumbering one, full of an inordinate number of dills and practitioners of the dark arts. Some of these people have been following me around for many years transferring from my previous responsibilities in education, employment, justice, immigration, multicultural and indigenous and I will discuss a new image with you at a later date, particularly in relation to hair. Have you observed Senator Coonan and Brendan Nelson's hair? What do you think of the styling? I digress, back to the more pressing issues.
This Chinese woman was one of many threatening the very fabric of Australian society as we know and love it. The old girl has been here for ten years, and unlike the other "illegals" who are all locked up in the desert resort getting a suntan, this person is running lose in the community. Yes, yes I know what you are thinking, ten years have I been s-lumbering waiting for a frog to kiss me? There is some consistency here in that she, and the family, were being mentally tortured through waiting, which is consistent with the policy for treatment of all illegals who are waiting endlessly at our, my and others, pleasure as granted by the High Court of Australia, but questions were being asked as to why we did not lock her up like everyone else? I wanted to! We wanted to! The majority of Australians wanted to and so did the President of the United States, in whom we trust, want us to and we have been kindly offered places in Cuba for those difficult cases that can be embarrassing. Sierra Leone is looking a good alternative.
We are always reticent to break down the door in the dead of night and render people a 'non threat' because lawyers, refugee advocates and other do-gooders and other enemies of the state, for which we have no regard, are everywhere and ASIO has refused to do these things. Additionally this woman could not be portrayed as a wandering lunatic nor a passing tourist of uncertain heritage and vocal nuances, even though she, and they, probably can't speak real English, as we know it. We deported Alvarez and locked up Rau, but people of advanced age and particular heritage can be influential. The Chinese community is well networked and resourced. You know that they have all of the gold from Bendigo, Castlemaine and elsewhere which they gathered up before James Cook discovered Australia. They own all of the good restaurants, pleasure parlours, and venues frequented by an influential cross section of business, community, liberal party supporters and even some of our own parliamentary members. They have so much money that offering them $600,000 to dredge their pool or local creek, using the very special vote-buying fund for elections, and other government interests, that we used in late 2004 does not entice them. They will however consider a swap for a casino but we don't have any. We will have to grant any Chinese person of Chinese origin a pass!
Now we have the Palmer Report, a most revealing insight into the warped mind of people reflecting the image of their political master of past years gone by. This unwelcome document dissects how an Australian resident was locked up for a serious amount of time and tortured mentally because she was deemed to be an unidentifiable, illegal immigrant. There are 200 more, give or take a dozen or twenty or fifty cases, who f--- knows! that are also about to hit the fan and splatter all over my new dress.
At wits end I am seeking deployment of your Special Forces 'rapid rebuttal' team, skilled in the use of antonyms, and synonyms, to reduce the pending Palmer document to toilet paper. The ideas you put forward should be as creative as the lines and justification used for the Iraqi invasion, denial and then approval of the additional military deployment, last announced by the Prime Minister, who is friend of George Bush, in whom we trust. You might be able to reuse the Children Overboard Pictures. Why waste a proven good piece of smoke and mirrors. Pictures should be cropped and presented in optional formats. The solutions must show as much innovation as our proposals for industrial relations and general management of Australia.
By the way, you must be complimented for arranging a rechristening, by the New York Times, of our PM, to "Premier of Australia" during his last visit to America. This yet again, demonstrates the high esteem in which our PM is acknowledged, known, held, and observed, by the highly educated media, and others, in the USA. You are continually smoothing the PM's future path onto the American speaking circuit although some are wondering how you will overcome the propensity he has for talking through his nose and whining? Do you know when, and if, he will decide to allow Pete Cossytallow to smell the leather chair and sit at the borer infested timber desk that JW polishes every morning with his sweaty, (free with a packet of weeties and mobile phone), track suit top?
Is it true that you are arranging entry to the US hall of fame, for special people who are loyal to the White House and Dubya, with attendant honourary citizenship? I would like to put my name down and I have been practicing my American and I watch all of the TV programmes to get an idea of the culture and nuances.
The synonyms you have made up for Parrot Rhymes, Minister for Defence, to use in the Senate Estimate hearings, are breathtaking and wondrous indeed. The art of using the same repetitive phrase in answer to 100 questions really gets on the opposition's goat. Then there are the gems you created for the PM such as, 'I had a change of heart', 'we did not contemplate', " I do not give a rats as to your contrary opinion", "the truth is whatever I deem it today to be", "I never remember yesterday", "I was never minded", "No snot told me", and those killer statements that roll of his tongue flowing seamlessly, "I was finally persuaded", "I found a heart," "after contemplating I became minded" and that classic used by every politician in Australia, "the reality is at the end of the day". I look forward to a speedy reply and remain yours as ever in my dreams.
J. W. Philamandalexclone Minister for Immigration,
and the Department of Extreme, and Dangerous, Stupidity. (Kevin Beck, "Do not take the major political parties seriously in their hand on heart stances", Melbourne Australia,
October 2005: How is the Howard government able to hold onto office despite its apparent disregard for
human rights, citizens and ethics, its record of poor governance and management of the Australian public service, a history of resorting to cover up,
lies and misrepresentation, among other things? Why is federal labor ineffectual?
This article sets aside issues such as management of the economy and the myriad of
individual policies and ideologies of the two parties (labor and liberal) and the qualities of the respective
leaders and takes a different perspective.
Watching people in their communities and in their work, it is apparent that they are prone to being bossy. They place their individual views, opinions and rights above others, competition and survival of the fittest is taken to the most basic level. Ethics is challenged at every step along the way and the most prominent people in the community engage in fraud, deception, and criminal activity. The Howard government mirrors this decline in ethics and cannot be judged harshly by people who harbour similar behaviours and ambition. The rule is no loner "don't do it", is now "do not get caught".
Beyond this permeation of ignorance, is the problem of the states, and territories. The labor and liberal/national parties at state and territory level are lack lustre, self-absorbed and unilluminating. They cannot manage to deliver the most basic of public services, such as transport, education, health, energy and regional and rural development, and a myriad of other portfolio responsibilities. As governments, they too have mirrored the decline in ethics, resorting to lying and misrepresentation, spin and advertising, as evidenced by the scandals in Queensland's health portfolios going back over successive governments of the three major political parties. The problem for the states is that even though they adopt the unethical approaches to government and power. The perception is that they do not deliver.
There are the added national security issues - war, terrorism, border protection, mass population movements, threats, globalism, financial and economic. Here again John Howard makes the leaders of the states and territories fall into line. He plays upon the qualities of the incumbents that make them failures in their own governments. Voters, and citizens, under these conditions, and circumstances, will look to the federal government.
The citizens want instant gratification. They are ignorant of, oblivious to, or uncaring about the Constitution and what level of government has responsibility for what and the mechanics of it all. They want an all encompassing "can do" government and Australians lead the world in reliance upon government. They get the "can do" appearance and action from John Howard. The Howard ministers skillfully use intervention in any area they choose. They intervene at every level of education, in health, regional development, telecommunications and any other services (through regional grants) and in every area of social and economic life at the community level. They are now intervening in employment. They give the people money and the power to ignore their local governments. Australians like ruthless and tough on everyone else except themselves. They are drawn to watching television shows that humiliate and demean. It is a reflection of the mentality of the times. For some reason people are perpetually angry.
The government of John Howard has fashioned a mean and hard image where refugees and any one else that is a target, gets short shift. Under John Howard and Philip Ruddock security and protection (illusionary until tested) is very strongly delivered without quarter. The federal government is the one they look to for solutions and the Howard government reinforces the delivery day after day by bypassing state and territory governments and funding the community direct and by taking the opportunity to through ever increasing, blatant and subtle, centralisation.
The federal liberal party has cut itself off from their state counterparts quite deliberately. The executive of the federal government do not want to be tarred with the same brush of disregard as their state counterparts enjoy with the community. There is now a separate liberal party in Australia and only one government with predominant credibility in a wide number of arenas. It is the government of John Howard. People like big and are secure with big. The federal government and its structure is the biggest. Add the American alliance and Howard's image is well beyond anything that Kim Beazley and the whole of the alternative political system can deliver. This enhances the Howard government's credibility and political domination. People are also prepared to trade off the niceties of a civilised society for the things they want now. In any event, under our system of government and the inability of citizens to intervene in decision making, they have no other option than to accept short term gratifications.
The federal liberal party has sensed this and the National Party has also sensed an opening. In the absence of an effective and coordinated labor federal and state machine the only challenge to the federal government, in the immediate future, comes not from other tiers of government and political parties but from within the personal characteristics of the members of the federal parliament. It is their personal ambitions and their response to a ruthless executive use of power and control over them. There is still a small ember of liberalism burning. It is unlikely that the state labor machinery has the where with all to make the necessary leap to a new dimension.
October 2005: Rather than focus on ministerial accountability and getting a senior political scalp, the members of Australia's parliaments and political watchers, might consider how external parties view particular ministers (in terms of competency and respect) when they meet with them on significant issues? This is particularly relevant to the status of the Australian government, and two of its senior ministers, Vanstone and Ruddock. Over a period of considerable time these two senior ministers of the Howard government have failed, along with their advisers and departmental management, to effectively administer their portfolios. Episode after episode of illegal action, callous indifference and systemic failures and ignorance, has cast a pall over their characters and ability.
How will these Honourable Members of the House of the People be viewed by those who may judge performance in government, not by political loyalty but by results in public administration? They will judge them harshly and behind the facade of politeness will lurk cynical derision. How do good people respect people who show no respect for others?
In the past two decades successive Labor and Liberal/National Coalition governments, across the nation, have eroded, modified and warped, the Westminster system of accountability. They have tended to keep those aspects that are beneficial to their control of Australia's democracy and governance. The most prominent aspect they have retained and reinforced is discipline and control through the party machinery. It is highly unusual for a legislator to chose to represent their constituents, and vote against their party, and "no confidence votes" of the government or a minister, regardless of performance, are non existent. The constituents of the major parties would prefer to jettison ethics and morality in favour of political expediency and personal survival. Another aspect retained and reinforced is the strong cabinet structure where the leader of the party and other senior members, have independent basis of support in their relative home states. The dominant political parties, particularly in government, ensure that legislative committees in both houses (where two houses exist) are weak and largely ignored unless it is politically expeditious to the interests of the government.
The single glaring example of jettisoning a tenet of the Westminister system is the principle of ministerial accountability. Ministers used to be responsible for the actions of their department, in some cases these are huge bureaucracies with senior, and powerful staff. If a department was responsible for a major misjudgement, scandal or public malfeasance blame would fall on the minister regardless of whether they were involved or even aware of the situation.
But this convention is no more. Whilst labor and liberal are predominantly culpable, it is the Australian liberal party under John Howard that has presented the most public examples of corroding and degrading ministerial standards in Australia ably assisted by some of the more notorious of his ministers. John Howard learnt early in his apprenticeship as Prime Minister that to follow the Westminster system, when you have a cabal of politicians whose judgement is ethically challenged can be costly. The Prime Minister lost minister after minister in his first term in office. Now a minister, under the Howard government will only be forced to resign when they become such a political liability, as Senator Amanda Vanstone has proven that she can be of a number of occasions (Employment and Education, Justice and Customs and now Immigration, Indigenous and Multicultural Affairs. Minister Philip Ruddock, who it seems is bullet proof, though he may appear to exude a corrosive effect on the culture of the portfolios he administers simply brushes off questions about accountability. Instead he mumbles unintelligible legalese type responses about matters that are entwined with other matters under consideration having given due regard to previous and other matters going forward.
A secondary problem for John Howard in setting high standards and demonstrating moral political leadership is that he would also have to sack party and ministerial senior advisers along with the most senior of the public service who also slide away from accountability. Hypocrites like to publish standards, and codes of practices, and lecture others about adhering to them. They demand that employees and others, obey the law and the will of the government of the day. The culture of decay is not limited to the federal Department of Immigration. I worked in another major public service department and watched senior managers cynically, and hypocritically, behave. They presented constant unethical examples of leadership and management everyday I was there, in one form or another. They distanced themselves from situations where they might be held accountable. Documents were altered, and even, destroyed, facts distorted and spun to suit the occasion, and the story of the day. Resources, and technology, were misused. Pornography, and inappropriate material, was distributed amongst senior staff who thought it was "amusing". These public service codes of conduct were described in derisory and laughable terms by many staff when I asked what they thought of them. They are, by published and observed evidence, hollow instruments. Yet the senior managers of Australia's public service piously refer to them as if they were the holy grail. They delude themselves. (Kevin Beck, Melbourne Australia)
(August 2005) It could be argued that Bronwyn Bishop, Sophie Panapolous (both members of federal parliament) and John Brogden (NSW state parliament) have no place in any parliament in Australia. Putting their poor personal capacities and intellectual abilities aside their view of the role of members of parliament and of governments, and their place in those structures, is a fantasy of their self delusion and ego.
Bronwyn Bishop and Sophie Panapolous are saying that young Muslim women at Australian schools should not be allowed to wear their head scarves. According two these two giants of thought, and social engineering, this is an affront to the Australian way of life, culture and values. Bishop describes the wearing of the scarves as an act of defiance. This in itself demonstrates that Bishop should not risk public statements which can further diminish her poor showing as a politician. The Prime Minister John Howard never comes out and squashes this type of ridiculous and racist nonsense initially. He has a belief that people are entitled to have their views. This would be true if Australia was a real democracy with freedom of speech and lifestyle but it is not. Australia has no Bill of Rights and people like John Howard selectively decide what views people are allowed to air. If you are radical then you must be silenced.
Howard is a man who threw his own parliamentary behaviour code out the window when he lost seven senior members of his front bench in his first period in office. He is not a giant of intellectual and social contemporary thought. He has a record of tolerating radical political speak, insults and harbouring similar attitudes demonstrable when he said little about Pauline Hanson’s similar diatribe. If Bishop and Panapolous had any sense of self worth they would shy away from coming into the debate and risking comparison with Hanson. Hanson believed that immigrants particularly Asians, and aborigines, were damaging the fabric of Australia’s society and social cohesion.
"Bishop backs school head scarf ban".
Samantha Maiden and Paige Taylor The Australian Newspaper, 29 August 2005.
LIBERAL MP Bronwyn Bishop has backed a push to ban Muslim girls wearing head scarves to school. Speaking in support of her like-minded colleague Victorian Liberal MP Sophie Panopoulos, Ms Bishop yesterday warned it was time to debate the issue.
"When you have a clash of cultures, the dominant culture is the one "That's the one that makes us free, and I'll fight for it." "The Australian reported yesterday that Ms Panopoulos was leading the push to debate the issue, warning "politically correct" ideas should not stop debate over girls wearing Muslim head scarves. "For a lot of younger people it seems to be more an act of rebellion than anything," she said. My personal view is I would put a ban on those head scarves, as governments have overseas. That's up to individual schools and state governments but if a school has a uniform that's pretty much it."
(End of quote)
Bronwyn Bishop was, for a fleeting moment, many, many years ago, in a galaxy far away known as federal politics, compared with Margaret Thatcher. Some media and political commentators saw in her a potential future political leader. The candle of her political ambition burned brightly for a few weeks at most and then was extinguished by her own efforts. An examination of the federal parliamentary Hansard demonstrates no startling intellect or capacity beyond the average. She held the positions of Minister for defence, Science and Personnel between the years 1985 to 1998 and Minister for Aged Care in 1998 to 2001. The media is littered with her incompetence, old people placed in kerosene baths, lying in their own filth and being treated shamefully in federally funded homes. The damage to the government was ongoing and the Prime Minister reluctantly took her portfolio away and she left to dream on the back bench and wake up very now and then to vomit attacks on minorities.
Time erases memory or is it that politics nurtures bigotry? Here is Bronwyn when she made her maiden speech in parliament:
"Again at the age of 17 I chose to join the Liberal Party. I chose it for a very specific reason. It stood for the things in which I believed and, indeed, in which I still do believe. In particular, it espoused four freedoms: the freedom of the individual, the freedom of choice, the freedom to pursue excellence and the freedom to seek reward for effort. In the Liberal Party those freedoms were available equally to men and to women. So it is with a little pride that I stand here as a little bit of history-that I should have become the first elected woman senator for the State of NSW."
Panopolous is relatively new and even though she has been in parliament for a short period she has managed to demonstrate that there is little substance in her contribution. Nothing on the parliamentary record indicates that she is anything more than able to trot out short and shallow statements. Most of her contribution is sycophantic in nature playing to a particular political and community audience. This is an extract from her maiden speech in parliament:
"I would like to speak today about the people of the North-East and about the principle which I hold dearest in political life and which I stridently believe should be the guiding light of any Australian government. The principle is the creation, protection and encouragement of individual opportunity. I am a Liberal because I believe in the innate right of the individual to work, strive and succeed without the burden of unnecessary government regulation or intimidation by special interests".
Sophie Panopolous suffers from memory loss. Here is a further extract from her maiden speech in parliament.
"I learnt early on how important it is to speak out against those who would take away people's freedoms".
John Brogden has said nothing about scarves. He has instead had his tongue loosened by alcohol which has allowed his inner most thoughts to pop out.
Brogden: My racist disgrace
Daily Telegraph, August 29, 2005:
OPPOSITION Leader John Brogden last night admitted having called former NSW premier Bob Carr's wife a "mail-order bride" and to inappropriately touching and ... Brogden puts fate in party's hands Sydney Morning Herald, Howard frowns on Brogden's behaviour Sydney Morning Herald (subscription), Brogden: let the party decide my fate, Sydney Morning Herald (subscription), ABC Online - The Age (subscription)"
Brogden says that he will put his fate in the hands of the party. A real leader would actually resign both from position and from the state parliament. However has no demonstrable, morally strong and ethical leaders, in the Labor or Liberal Party, in any of the current federal, state or territory parliaments. They are tainted by one or more incidents.
What is not clear in Australian politics is why good liberal members tolerate these people in their ranks, degrading democracy and government. Well it appears quite a few of them do not. Why does the National Party, which is relatively decent by comparison, associate itself at all? Simply because without the liberal party there would be no national minister in any parliament in Australia. Politics is about expediency and there is little room for bleeding ethical types which explains why the Greens and Democrats do not do well. It has emerged that John Brogden denied ever having done the things when asked so he adds lies to his portfolio. This is a standard trait of most political leaders also whether they be Labor, Liberal or others. After the story broke he resigned as Opposition Leader but offered himself up for any position the new liberal leader might have. He also bemoaned that some liberal official had provoked a journalist to report this story some weeks after it had occurred and that he had been the victim of an inside enemy. What a pathetic example he offers the community. His is a style and ethical demonstration that s more common than not. The members of his electorate should wonder if they want some one of his calibre representing them.
Queensland federal member Peter Slipper joined Bishop and Panapolous on the Muslim scarf issue and this is not unexpected. He has an initial maiden speech and a second that are both rambling and largely uninspiring and incoherent. He loves robes, pomp and tradition and the monarchy. His contribution to public life,and parliament, is not stellar. He had a stint as a Parliamentary Secretary in early 2000 but was not reinvited by the Prime Minister to continue.
Victor Perton, described Bishop, Panopolous and Slipper as "gadflies" and said that they had done the party a favour by demonstrating that the greater majority of Australia's politicians were even handed and that the primary role of a Liberal was to champion the freedom of the individual, particularly those in the minority, against the will of the majority.
Democracy is a double edged sword for it allows the talented but also the dim witted, bigoted, racist and lesser lights of public life to be elected to represent people of similar ilk in the broader Australian community. (Kevin R Beck, Melbourne Australia)
Pick a Value Quiz
How the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet corrodes the public service
and the Public Service Commission and Senior Executive Service fails to inculcate independence without fear or favour
The Public Service Act 1999 (the PSA 1999), which came into effect on 5 December 1999, sets out the Australian Public Service (APS) Code of Conduct, and the APS Values. Together, the APS Code of Conduct and the APS Values set out a clear statement of the principles and standards of behaviour for all APS employees; across Australia and they purportedly set out the responsibilities and accountabilities to the Australian public and to the Minister and all departmental employees are required to comply with them.
Key features of the APS Code of Conduct and Values include the need at all times to:
These demands for behaviour, and values, are made by the current Australian government lead by John Howard. They are supported by the leader of the Opposition and the federal Labor Party also. There are similar ones for state and territory public servants. The first question I might ask is how does a public service department demonstrate responsibility and accountability to the public? particularly when their primary role is to protect their Minister(s)?
The second question is more tricky and requires considerable thought. How does a public service department subscribe to the above values given the very nature of a bureaucracy? "The heart of the bureaucracy, the heart of the bureaucratic spirit, is its disinterestedness. Bureaucracy is virtuous in its impersonality. Weber referred to equality before the law as the characteristic principle of bureaucracy. Government was to be administered without regard for persons. I am quoting from Weber, and it is difficult in the late 20th to the early 21st century to sort of realise that this was meant seriously by somebody writing some time about the time of the First World War. He said: Bureaucracy develops the more perfectly it is ‘dehumanised’, the more completely it succeeds in eliminating from official business love, hatred, and all purely personal, irrational, and emotional elements which escape calculation". Gary Sturgess, 28 March 2001, full document here.
The simple answer to the question is that the values are a not accountability directives. They may be described by some as a smokescreen to con the uninformed Australian citizen, and public service staff member, who have little knowledge of what a bureaucracy actually is and means to believe that there is a governing code. The values are set out like Mission statements. They have been thought up by a committee of altruistic senior public servants, who then inculcate them into every strategic and organisational document for a purpose that is not clear. The values that require APS performance seem not to have been conveyed to personnel, managers and ministers in the Department of Immigration. and similarly may not be known in the Department of Defence and in the Military Justice System and in the very heart of the federal parliament itself. It may well be that avoiding conflict of interest and not accepting gifts are reasonable conditions of public employment but what does values diversity mean in the context of a bureaucracy? Exercise discretion with confidential information but at the same time take note of the "Whistle blowers" provisions of the service. Serve whom with care and diligence? The public, the so called client or the Minister? Well it seems that citizens are not well served and neither were the citizens jailed, deported or who were driven to suicide by the incompetence of public servants. What are the values here?
How do they behave with honesty, and integrity, whilst lying to the Senate, avoiding accountability, changing documents, spinning and generally engaging in subterfuge to protect what could very be a worthless politician? What is so sacrosanct about an elected member of parliament, appointed to become a Minister, that a department of hundreds of people on the public payroll, should have as their first obligation "to protect the Minister"?
Look at these instructions and you will see how the Minister's are held to be paramount over public interest.
"Action to be taken when questions are not answered by prescribed deadlines."
House of Representatives standing order 150, was amended on 1 May 1985:
If after the expiration of 60 days of a question first appearing on the Notice Paper a reply has not been delivered to the Clerk, the Member who asked the question may rise in his or her place at the conclusion of question time and request the Speaker to write to the Minister concerned, seeking reasons for the delay in answering.
By order of the Senate of 28 September 1988
If a Senate Minister does not answer a Question on Notice asked by a Senator within 30 days of the asking of that question, and does not, within that period, provide to the Senator who asked the question an explanation satisfactory to that Senator of why an answer has not yet been provided, then
(a) at the conclusion of Question Time on any day after that period, the Senator may ask the relevant Minister for such an explanation; and
(b) the Senator may, at the conclusion of the explanation, move without notice "That the Senate take note of the explanation'; or
(c) in the event that the Minister does not provide an explanation, the Senator may, without notice, move a motion with regard to the Minister's failure to provide either an answer or an explanation.
The situation where the Ministers are obliged to provide a formal explanation is to be avoided.
Why is this situation to be avoided? Is accountability not the core of a democracy? Obviously not, the edict is clear, the Minister must not be put in the position of having to answer? The peoples' right to know is to be subservient to the Minister's personal comfort and position and public servants are required to subjugate the public interest in favour of the politician. The Labor, Liberal and National Parties subscribe to this warped system of democracy in their personal interest and they are bipartisan on this. The Australian system of democracy is not adversarial, that is a game played to provide a semblance of independence. It is a merry go round of "your go (Liberal) and our go (Labor) within the agreed framework. Spare us the bull shit and just come, be honest and say like Labor Premier Peter Beattie when he took the role of Treasurer and Premier in July 2005, "It is my government".
Choose any one of the values above and argue that Australia's senior politicians and leaders and Ministers actually demonstrate in their political lives. Try the same for members of the state and territory parliaments. In the overall scheme of Australia's governments there are none are there? This is a hypocrisy of the highest form. In modern management, and human resource theory, people take their lead from the boss. In society from our leaders. What are the roles models our public servants have and what values do they see displayed by politicians?
Hypocrisy. Name a Minister of any parliament who is really accountable or a system that is fully transparent to the citizens.
Clerk of the Senate Harry Evans has done the nation a service when he accused the members of Australia's federal parliament, and particularly this government, of engaging in the corruption of democracy by using tax payers funds to push party political agendas. He was attacked by people whose value in terms of public service to the nation is at best questionable against Harry's and whose vitriol represents the arrogant nature of the of the two major political parties, who think that Australia's government is their personal trophy to do with as they will. It might well be argued that the leaders, and many if not all members, of the Australian Labor and Liberal parties, abrogate their solemn duty to represent the people who elected them. The make up of the parliament does not represent a cross section of the electorates. In fact some sixty percent or more of voters never have their first or second candidates elected. The people who would denigrate Harry, such as Senators Mitch Fifield and Eric Abetz, are yet to realise that the control, and manipulation, of the system is out in the open for everyone to see. Australians are forced to choose from a pool of electoral candidates who are the anointed by factional manipulators. Watching Senators Abetz and Fifield ridiculing, and attacking, the Clerk of the Senate Harry Evans brings home the paucity of talent and the intellectual, moral and ethical shallowness, lack of quality ability of the people who sit in the parliaments of the nation. Harry is a rare public servant who is not a sycophantic tool of the administration. Ask a Secretary of any Department in any service throughout Australia what the primary role of a public servant is and they will answer to "protect the Minister". The answer is myopic, stupid and wrong and flies in the face of the values they claim to hold set out above. Such people are boring and parasites on democracy and unlike Harry they hide under rocks scuttling away or they may lie and obfuscate before hearings.
The function of a public servant is to serve the public without, fear or favour, and to carry out the wishes of the government in terms of policy and action that is moral and ethical. It is not to piss in the pocket of, and protect, Ministers who are incompetent and unworthy of public office. In place of integrity we have Australia's modern day public servant. (Kevin R Beck, "Politicising Australia's Public Services for Political Gain", Melbourne Australia
A Satirical Creation
out of the mind of Kevin Beck, Australia
The Labor Party remains silent as Harry is pilloried on the altar of political sophistry, cant and ignorance because Kim Beazley, Simon Crean and others are as guilty as the liberal government of misusing and abusing their privilege of office including spending public funds on their own agendas. There is a suspicion that the Labor and Liberal Parties, of federal, state and territory governments, are ably assisted by private sector advertising agencies who charge full price to the taxpayer in return for having given a discount to the political party during campaigns. There is a plethora of "jobs for the boys and girls" and the party members.
John Howard let the cat out of the bag when he said that a parliamentarian owed his or her loyalty to the party room, a statement he later recanted when he realised what the impact on the public was. It was too late for him. He took an oath to serve and his betrayal of that parliamentary oath will damage the Liberal party and shine a light on Labor also. If it continues to play its new tactics the National Party will extend its grip on seats over time. The liberal party risks losing Senate seats to the National Party at the next federal election and a range of lower house seats, at state and federal level, on the fringes of the metropolitan and regional centres of Australia. There is no reason why the National party cannot represent inner metropolitan seats also. The one weakness is the leader, Mark Vaile, who appears captive to the liberal party and might considering changing over.
Six weeks prior to the 2004 federal election I predicted an increase in the majority of Peter McGauran's federal seat in Gippsland and the rise in power of the Nationals particularly in the Senate. This is verifiable fact posted on the Internet and in communication with members of the National Party, copied to the media. Today political commentators are describing the National's situation as a blip on the radar sticking to their prediction that the National Party is in decline and will fade away. Senator Barnaby Joyce is the human mechanism by which the Nationals will seek to:
(a) Walk away from the sale of Telstra (it will fail) and,
(b) Consolidate their legitimacy and future as the party of the ordinary Australian.
The Nationals know that to sell Telstra is a fatal blow to the coalition but their liberal colleagues are blinded by their ideological "totems' and "icons" . Senator Barnaby Joyce is the public face of those who believe that John Howard, and others, have betrayed their parliamentary oath to serve according to the intent of the Constitution. The Family First Senator is less a role model because he serves a narrow interest group rather than the essence of the Constitution. Family First has limited value because the family unit is not the majority representation of lifestyle in Australia.
It is not John Howard, and the Liberal Party's, government, it is not Bob Carr's nor Steve Bracks' and nor is it owned by Peter Beattie arrogantly states that it is "my government" when he assumed the mantle of Treasurer. One can get a measure of the corrosive cancer which has taken over, by looking at these and many other examples such as Senator Heffernan, Wilson Tuckey and Sophie Panopolous. The parliament, of both liberal and labor members, has stolen the peoples' government and its democracy. John Howard's betrayal of his oath is evident in his statement that members of parliament owe their loyalty to the party room. A mantra adopted also by Labor. According to this they are not bound by any obligation to the electorate they are meant to serve.
Everywhere we read that today's adults are far more educated than their parents and less trusting of their politicians. People know that the modern politician has betrayed their oath of service and degraded their democracy. The Democrats betrayed their own legitimacy when they, too embraced the duopoly. It is not the National party that is in decline it is the Liberal and Labor party's stranglehold on democracy. It will just take time and active distribution of the argument to bring it about. Already technology has altered the manner in which members of political parties and governments are behaving. Why vote for people who are going to corrode, erode and corrupt your democracy?(Kevin R Beck, Melbourne Australia
Australia's federal parliament is a place of aged men and women who are happy to be apologists for them betraying equality in the name of "common sense". Women are the weaker sex. What evidence is there for this claim? The two major parties are bipartisan about not allowing women in the defence force to engage in combat. Instead they are to go to Iraq to support their male counterparts. They will be in transport, medical and such roles. This is not some chivalrous show of respect it is typical of the quality of our legislators and the military. I have already covered the culpability of the Australian military justice system. This decision shows that Air Marshall who is now head is as ridiculous, and archaic, as the ones that went before him. Or could it be that he would do more for women if he could but that he is limited by the "Woodrow Wilson" recipient John W. Howard, who prefers that women stay in the home, bear and raise children whilst the stronger male engages with the world? The Minister for Defence, Senator Robert Hill is hardly worth commenting on, in any capacity. Listen to the Minister De-Anne Kelly justifying these silly culturally stunted men and one realises how immature Australian society is. To see how the federal government views the place of women, put the "Office of Women Australia" into Google and note its prominence. (Kevin R beck, Australia)
Terrorism has fraught upon nations a new style of government and a politically inspired demand that government take all measures, regardless of unforeseen consequences and extensive evaluation, to protect the citizens of a nation from those who have, according to the wisdom of the political coalition of the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, no idea as to what "being civilised implies and requires". The leadership of the coalition have taken it upon themselves to define "justification" using the techniques of persuasion and the power of the state. The USA and the United Kingdom have suffered terrible consequences of terrorism as Australia has when Australians were killed in the Bali bombing. There has been no attack on Australian soil.
So what is it that defines the tenets and behaviour of a civilised nation and what are the best forms of government in times such as these? Are the old concepts of civilised democracy and the inalienable rights of citizens no longer relevant and viable? The greatest support to autocratic control is apathy. Australians do not generally engage in deep debate and many are not sufficiently aware, nor educated, to engage in complex issues. Polarised members of Australia's communities are drawn to the newspaper opinion columnists, radio and television (infotainment) journalists, and presenters, who provide shallow, biased and inflammatory comments to fill their defined spaces.
Terrorism, fear of refugees and other insecurities are being used by both Australian Labor and Liberal parties to inculcate, and reinforce, their power and control, embedding a political duopoly's ideologies and power sharing into the system of governance, into legislation, into regulations and into the every day lives of the nation. Australia has no Bill of Rights to guarantee its citizens protection against an untrammelled political duopoly. There are no provision, other than states rights within the constitution, or anywhere else in the nation, to curb excess. Members of the two political parties ignore the Constitution and Senators vote along party lines abrogating their oaths of office.
. The Australian Capital Territory government, an inconsequential member of the democratic landscape has a Bill of Rights but it is worthless beyond the borders of the territory which are thirty minutes in any direction. Australians are apathetic and deserve what they get from their governments. The only control now on the excess of the executives at state and federal levels are the media, the High Court and perhaps the National Party.
Critics, and academics, are ridiculed, attacked and marginalised. Politicians of the day have invented a label, "un-Australian", to defame and degrade anybody who may express a contrary opinion that inflames others to think alternatively, and question conventional wisdom and the system. It is a system of politics, and shallow media personalities, that promotes division, intolerance and hatred of difference, whilst implying that there Australia is a great democracy. "Un-Australian" is a meaningless, trite label, bestowed by powerful people, prone to copycat and mimmickry. "Un-Australian" is one of those invented words that replace any substantial criticism or commentary, it is shallow and is levelled by people whose language skills, and ability to express themselves eloquently within our governments and parliaments, with conviction, is limited.
So why do politicians not call the Australian media personalities who promote hatred and division, described above, "un-Australian"? These well known media people deal in sensation, racism and hate peddling. Why are the politicians, of all major parties, at federal and state level, silent about the rantings and writings of these members of the media? The answer might be that these particular media people can sway public opinion, voting and effect political careers. There is systemic pay back and vengeance within the adversarial models of our society. It is far easier for politicians and others, to attack minorities and individuals, than to take on a biased and entrenched sector of the establishment, the "power collective".
"There is no difficulty in showing that the ideally best form of government is that in which the sovereignty, or supreme controlling power in the last resort, is vested in the entire aggregate of the community; every citizen not only having a voice in the exercise of that ultimate sovereignty, but being, at least occasionally, called on to take an actual part in the government, by the personal discharge of some public function, local or general".
"each person is the only safe guardian of his own rights and interests".
"a certain vaguely defined complexity of particular characteristics which we call the "national character".
I ponder Australia's foreign policy, the Australian government's behaviour towards other nations, and its attitudes towards particular races of people and mistreatment of refugees, in Australia, and even its capriciousness towards its own citizens. What are the qualities, and character traits, of a federal Minister that inculcates a culture of disregard for human dignity, and rights, within the whole Australian government Department of Immigration. This federal government department exhibits day after day, year after, in hundreds of independently documented ways, a culture of stupidity, disregard peoples' rights and dignity regardless of whether they are refugees or citizens of Australia, incompetence, a propensity for lying, cover up, deceit, lack of accountability, replicating their parliamentary Ministers, and ignorance of the Australian Public Service Standards (APS) The values are posted onto the web for every Department and receive lip service from quite a number of senior managers across the APS. The values sate that all people are to be treated equally and with respect. They imply high standards of human resource management and independence in behaviour. They do not mention service to the community or the citizen. They are inexplicably interpreted in a single statement - "the first task of the public servant is to protect the Minister" - regardless of circumstance or the Minister's capabilities, behaviour and personal ethical values. For the most part the values for which they profess a high regard, and to which they claim to adhere, appear to be a fiction.
Why are we shocked that this Department, and its staff, exhibit poor ethical and moral qualities, even a disregard for humanity, acting apparently without moral compass? Do we not know the fundamental operational premise of a bureaucracy which contradicts their APS values? "The heart of the bureaucracy, the heart of the bureaucratic spirit, is its disinterestedness.: Bureaucracy is virtuous in its impersonality. Weber referred to equality before the law as the characteristic principle of bureaucracy. Government was to be administered without regard for persons. I am quoting from Weber, and it is difficult in the late 20th to the early 21st century to sort of realise that this was meant seriously by somebody writing some time about the time of the First World War. He said: Bureaucracy develops the more perfectly it is ‘dehumanised’, the more completely it succeeds in eliminating from official business love, hatred, and all purely personal, irrational, and emotional elements which escape calculation". Author: Gary Sturgess, Date: 28 March 2001
A cowboy culture
The public service has a poor role model in John Winston Howard, Prime Minister. As the parliamentary sitting term opened in August 2005 John Howard resorted to veiled threats against National Party Senators, and any one else who would question the Executive's authority. He stated that the first responsibility of the elected member was to the party room. The Australian Constitution begs to differ, stating that the first loyalty, and obligation, of a Senator is to the state from which they are elected. Theoretically a member of the House of Representatives should serve the electorate. This is the basis of federation, to control the Executive excesses of the federal government against the states. John Howard in his statement demands that Senators breach that obligation and in doing so the Honourable John Howard, breaches his oath of office to serve country and Queen. He is ably assisted i this regard by a number of liberal party members who also have little regard for the Constitution and the operation of a real democracy. These people are, as they like to call others, are Un - Australian. Power corrupts and in the case of John Howard, and his government, it is absolute. This probably would be no different if Kim Beazley and Labor were in government. The states, all Labor, exhibit the same ignorance of democracy as some of their federal counterparts.
Hand in hand with the ethical corrosion, and degrading, of our systems of government, democracy and the functioning of parliament, we have extensive examples of incompetent ministries, low grade administration, political advisers exceeding their authority, a Defence force hierarchy accused of bullying, breach of codes of conduct and victimisation, leading to resignations and suicide, pork barrelling in elections and extensive mismanagement of public funds. The tacit acceptance of the US policy regarding the right to jail and torture people, including Australians, in the name of a civilised coalition. Can Australia claim to be a civilised nation, and a standard bearer, of democracy or is it a manipulated democracy where participation by citizens, except those anointed by the political parties, is largely limited to the ballot box?
The Howard governments style is well described by these two quotes. "The most successful tyranny is not the one that uses force to assure uniformity but the one that removes the awareness of other possibilities, that makes it seem inconceivable that other ways are viable, that removes the sense that there is an outside". (Allan Bloom The Closing of the American Mind) and "It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong." (Voltaire). The Howard government has preyed on the fears, phobias and insecurity of a very large part of the Australian population. The deliberate policy of permeating xenophobia, and fear, was deliberately deployed when leading Ministers of the Howard government, particularly the Honourable P. Ruddock made sweeping assertions that Australia would be swamped by ten thousand or more people coming by boats. The diatribe that spilt from the mouth of people, prepared to alter facts, to lie, alter documentation and pictures, assiduously ignored the many more who came by plane and overstayed their visa. The term "illegals" was reinforced in a style that became the hallmark of the Howard government, a decrepit, corrosive and in many instances politically corrupt process. The Australian public service has been dragooned, and threatened into, carrying out the disgusting policies of this government and has become a submissive and in many instances, low grade administration with little ethical soul remaining. The Australian government's administration has inculcated incompetence, maladministration and worst practice in its every day governance of the nation. (Kevin Beck, Melbourne Australia)
"Foot and Mouth - Australia's Narrow Escape
This week, Dateline (SBS Television Australia) reveals how Australia’s top bio-security and quarantine bureaucrats risked a $13 billion foot and mouth catastrophe when they allowed the Heinz company to import a shipment of beef last year from Brazil - a country where foot and mouth disease is endemic. Peter Martin reports on how alarm bells rang for Liberal Party Senator Bill Heffernan on Christmas Eve last year following a tip off that the beef had been dumped at the Wagga Wagga tip. He raced there to see what was going on.
While Heinz had legally imported the material and apparently sourced it from zones declared disease free, Dateline reveals that Biosecurity Australia, responsible for protecting Australia’s enviable clean and green reputation, had not conducted any inspection in Brazil."
The public service agency that blindly submits to the government's ideological policy base and cuts corners to meet political objectives follows the guidelines laid down in How to Kill A Country by destroying the engine of productivity, the basket of goods, in this case Australia's animal farming base. This is the high risk road down which John Howard, and the free trade ideologs, are taking Australia in so many ways ably assisted by public servants who give frank, and fearless advice. Do you believe that mantra from the examples of today's style of government and public service performance?
Not all politicians are tarred with same brush. It is only a few at the highest levels of the Howard government who exercise untrammelled control who are the ones at which caring Australians should point the finger. Many liberal party members are disturbed, and dismayed, at the government's executive cavalier approach. These people exhibit questionable judgement whilst exercising power inculcate a culture that permeates the Australian public service management and hierarchy who demand unquestioning acquiescence and sycophancy of those beneath them. Yet one or two of the most senior public servants appointed under political largesse and patronage, present a different scenario to the Senate and misrepresent reality. Some actually lie. The Senate is weak and does not make an example of such people. Until they do there will be little respect for the members of parliament and our systems of government.
Certain people, in our governments and community, are obsessed with ideology, greed and getting rich. The honey sweet message of the federal government, to the Australian people, that harps on its capacity to keep interest rates low and to protect Australians from the demon that labor would unleash is one of the capacity of the government to make people comfortable. This necessitates cutting corners, taking risks and leaving the mess to future governments. A political policy, of expediency, "do what it takes" and hopefully the consequences will occur way down the track. They are being caught out. (Kevin Beck, Free Trade, Untramelled behaviour coming to bite us in 2007 - 2008", Melbourne Australia
The Australian government is at the mercy of free trade ideology, signed agreements, corporate power, carpetbaggers and money market jockeys and ratings agencies and the big world beyond Australia, particularly the USA. The Honourable J. Howard's siren song is "we will make you rich and comfortable". The subliminal refrain that is not heard is "and we will make you blind and deaf".
The government asserted that hard measures were needed and excised large tracts of Australia's islands in order to avoid its obligations under international treaties, Australian law and morality. It simply ignores any conventions it does not like. So we put women, men and children into razor wire prisons in the Australian desert and ferried others off to Nauru, Christmas Island and Papua New Guinea, via our government. We allowed our government to hire, and build, a private police and then our public service stood by whilst cretins tortured and abused them, in accordance with the Honourable J. Howard's mandate.
People transported for hours without food, made to urinate in the transport vehicles, beaten physically and psychologically, until their spirits are broken and they go mad. Australians, apathetically stood by, as did the Australian Labor Party under the Honourable S. Crean, the Honourable M. Latham and the Honourable K. Beazley, whilst the Honourable P. Ruddock ran the Department of Immigration inculcating a corrosive, despicable and incompetent culture within that portfolio. The Secretary of the Department awarded with a medal for public service and a diplomatic posting. The Honourable P. Ruddock can be squarely blamed, with the Honourable J. Howard, for the degradation, and squalor, that it the Department of Immigration and that is the majority process of the government. The Honourable P. Ruddock has a history that enrages sensibilities. "Free traders and impending collapse of US and European economies", Kevin Beck, Melbourne Australia
The decay is not isolated to Australian Refugees and the role of Immigration, it spreads like cancer across Australian society.
Justice denied in the Australian military. Members of Australia's defence force have blown the whistle, resigned, even committed suicide after being humiliated, and degraded, by their senior officers under the watchful eyes of the Honourable R. Hill, et al. The people who behave in such manner draw their lead from the pathetic Dorian Grey political role models they have before them. The Honourable P. Ruddock slip slides away from accountability and has left it to the Honourable. A.Vanstone to clean up his mess and political vomit that is now legendary for its canker. Now as Attorney General, the Honourable P.Ruddock , with cadaver like presence and monotone delivery can degrade the Australian legal system with certain matters that are a part of other certain matters with which he is taking certain, but indefinable action in concert with other matters duly considered and awaiting matters before him, others and the fairies at the bottom of the garden.
From time to time this includes attacks on judges and standing subdued, and acquiescent, as the USA interns an Australian citizen in Cuba, while Mr. Ruddock clicks his teeth and justifies more ignorant assaults on Australian citizenship. The Honourable P. Ruddock is a damaging influence within the Australian liberal party and to the nation as is the person who appointed him. It is also an indictment of good people in the Australian liberal party who do not demand standards from their leadership. Is the pursuit of government, power, and office, and personal position so consuming as to envelop good people in its rotting embrace? ("Declining Principles and Poor Governance in Australia" Kevin Beck.
Australia's governments weak on moral leadership
America has a freedom of speech protected by their Constitution but still its communications regulatory agency controls the content of American television broadcasting evidenced by the famous "tit" exposure of Janet Jackson. It is a control that is framed around about moral expectations, standard and leadership. In Australia no such leadership exists. The television media has a self regulated code of conduct within a framework managed by yet another weak regulator, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA).
Australia's major television stations are free to air broadcasters with a small cable broadcaster network entering the market. The free to air barons control certain aspects of the governments of Australia, state, territory and federal, due to their persuasion with the public. Channel Ten, has the Big Brother franchise. This is serious junk that presents Australian youth as dim witted anthropological specimens with little moral compass. It demonstrates the disregard held by Australia's corporations, the pursuit of self interest above all else. It shows that people who make a real contribution to society (medical nursing, teaching and police) will earn less and be held in a lesser regard by the larger percentage of Australians than the half wit that "Andy Warhol's 15 minutes of fame" aptly described, celebrity, or dim witted cricketer and footballer. Under Channel tens programming of sleaze and confronting television, audiences get to see all of the exhibitionism and hear the discussions of people deliberately manipulated by the producers of Channel Ten, for sensation - vagina, body fluids, menstruation, tampons in the toilet, fart jokes, excrement and faeces, live sex, dicks, tits, snatch and a myriad of conversations and other words, and actions, everything that is rude, crude and degrading. It is on the television on display for children, adults and the deviates. This is not a matter of prudish sentiment and wowserism. Ten's Big Brother carries the full exploitation of sexual harassment, harassment, depiction of women as sex objects and the poor crassness and stupidity of young men, prostitution of morals and behaviour and values. See Channel Tens Big Brother and one knows why young footballers in Australia think they are above the law and are able to get away with anything including rape and violence.
Channel Ten likes to describe its "house mates" in anthropological terms, as animals in a zoo or fish bowl, these presenters are as demeaning, and stupid, as the those who star in the programme. These poor fish bowl creatures, representing the youth of Australia, are hand picked, for their less than intellectual prowess and their entertainment value to an ignorant audience and to the impressionable teenagers who watch this trash. They are manipulated, by the voice "Big Brother" who is as Neanderthal, and ignorant a person, in every sense as the subjects - house mates - are presented as being. Channel Ten edits the programme scenes to exploit, shock and pursue its own commercial, singular goal even as the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) undertakes an enquiry on behalf of members of parliament.
Channel Ten holds its house mates, audience viewers and even the parliament in contempt ignoring the ABA knowing it is a toothless low value authority delivering little to the people of Australia in return for its upkeep. If Ten wishes to undertake this type of commercial venture they are free to.
The Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) lacks the moral fortitude, and regulatory clout, of its equivalent in the USA. There people know the difference between freedom of speech and allowing moral decay to pervade their nation. The executives of Channel Ten would be not as arrogant and contemptuous of the Parliament, the ABA and the people, if they worked in the USA. The parliament should empower the ABA to cancel Channel Ten's free to air broadcast license. The governments of Australia (state and federal) now mute and acquiescent to Ten, are not shackled by the normal strictures and obligations of companies. All parliaments can pass laws in the public interest with impunity. Let them, collectively pass laws to yank Channel Ten's broadcast license and transfer it and the station to cable where Ten can play to their hearts content and the ignorant can pay to watch. Let Ten be wrapped in the pornographic sealed magazine category and then tender the vacant spectrum to a new broadcaster, putting all the self regulating entities on notice. Let the governments show some moral leadership and stop the decay of societal value and mores. This is not freedom of speech or expression they are engaged in, it is subliminal and demeaning and exploitative to the people in the house, nation, our children and youth, and the public interest should hold sway. ("The Decline of Western Civilisation and the Empire" Kevin Beck, Australia)
The Farce of democracy in NSW and Australia generally
Bob Carr, Premier of Australia's largest state, NSW, with 40% of the national gross product and the largest population base, has just resigned. There is no election for this most senior of state government roles in the nation. Instead a handful of faceless political factional leaders outside of the elected members of the NSW parliament have decided that Morris Iemma shall replace Mr. Carr. The media points out that Mr. Iemma has no public profile, and that alternative candidates have been seen off. There is no ballot of any kind. It is an anointment by officials of the NSW State Branch of the Australian labor party and it is a demonstration that Australia's system of democracy, representation and selection on open and transparent rules of performance, appraisal and determination against criteria applies only to employees of the public and private sector whilst the ruling and political elite are exempt and unaccountable.
The Australian government wants to impose its biased views and standards of industrial relations upon the workers of the nation whilst manipulating and reinforcing their own work environments to suit themselves whilst citizens pay the bill. Similarly in Victoria, the Premier of that state Steve Bracks wants to impose standards on public workers that he does not apply to his own members of the party and which the parliament does not demand of its own membership.
When will Australia have political leaders who are willing to place the public interest before their own petulance, greedy careers and aspirations, by reforming the system of democracy, ridding it of the bigotry, bias and self indulgence and in the meantime, while those who care hold their breath and fade away, when will the greater part of Australia wake from its apathy and demand that Ministers, Premiers and members of parliament become accountable, even handed and honest and that power brokers in the political parties butt out? (Kevin Beck, Australia)
Could this be Australia's most naive, and dangerous, government?
Definitely questionable as to fitness for public office. Click here
Justification for an education and pandering to populism. Click here
The Schapelle Corby case in Bali Indonesia spotlights the lack of intellectual capacity, immaturity, and ignorance, demonstrated by the average Australian, regarding other cultures. If the Corby family, and the generous funder of their legal and other costs, had originally hired competent, internationally experienced legal counsel (or at least counsel who knew their limitations) and then met with representatives of the Australian government here and in Indonesia, in order to plan and strategise, then the outcome would be different over time.
Instead we see a group of people engaging in a media circus, slip shod ideas and tactics as if they are organising a local rally and chook raffle. They have loose mouths where the brain is not in gear, giving interviews to Australia's mediocre tabloids, and journalists who pursue sensationalism at the expense of thought and consequence. We see the "infotainment" programme presenters, masquerading as current affairs journalists, buying stories and stirring public sentiment fuelling false presumptions and outrageous vilification.
Ugly face pulling, debasing and ignorant outbursts in court and a continued tirade because these people as yet still do not get the message. This is not Big Brother, it is real life indeed. They appeal to people of similar ilk and capacity here in Australia who turn their racist taunts onto anyone of Asian appearance and they fuel the fear of invading hordes.
They need to shut up and listen to the experts and to the Australian government. They do not have to like, or respect, the Australian government but when one has little in their handbags, including brains, they should be grateful for the assistance of people who know how the game is played. It is not a just, moral or logical game. If they shut up and behave, she gets to come home. If they continue with the diatribe and stupidity then she gets to stay. Any Australian who thinks she is innocent simply because they saw a few pictures on telly, she looks pretty and they have a gut feeling, is a gullible dill and there are a millions in Australia who are. Corby and her family are likely to continue the circus and the irrational rants and her appeal will be dismissed. This has gone past the realm of stupidity into the absurd. If ever there was a public justification of getting an education it is being played out in this "comedy of errors". The back room advisers tell Kim Beazley, leader of the federal ALP, that he should jump on the band wagon of sentimentality and show Australians that he is as stupid as they are. His open support is less gushing than the federal government. What is the basis by which the Australian government should work towards overturning the conviction? Where is the evidence that she deserves a pardon over any other Australian in an overseas jail for trafficking drugs? What of the Australians, elsewhere, for whom Beazley and "his opposition" have no regard? Does Kevin Rudd share these sentiments and proposed actions? I doubt it.
From: Blume, Steve (K. Beazley, MP)
To: Kevin R Beck
Tuesday, May 31, 2005 10:37 AM
The thoughts of the Federal Opposition are with Schapelle Corby and her family. This has understandably been a traumatic experience for them. There is little doubt the Australian people share this sentiment.
The Federal Opposition believes Australia should now undertake the following course of action in support of Schapelle Corby’s case. First, the Australian Government should provide every legal and other support for the appeal which Ms Corby’s defence team has indicated it will now launch to overturn her conviction and 20-year sentence. Second, the Australian Government must dedicate maximum resources to the early negotiation of a bilateral prisoner exchange agreement with Indonesia. The Government has indicated an Australian negotiating team will travel to Indonesia in early June. This team should be dispatched tomorrow. Third, the Federal Opposition believes it is now time to register with the President of the Indonesian Republic our support for a Presidential Pardon for Schapelle Corby on humanitarian grounds. The Federal Opposition understands that under both the general provisions of Indonesian law, the President of Indonesia has the power for grants of "mercy, amnesty, pardon and restoration of rights". Following consultations this week with the Indonesian Government, our view is it is appropriate for a request for a Presidential Pardon to be lodged now pending the outcome of the appeals process. Accordingly Kevin Rudd, the Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, on behalf of the Federal Opposition, has written to the Ambassador of Indonesia to convey an appropriate request for such a Presidential Pardon to His Excellency Dr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of the Republic of Indonesia. Labor asks that the Australian Government provide bipartisan support to this approach.
KIM C BEAZLEY MP
Member for Brand
Leader of the Opposition
Australian federal parliament
The Corby families interaction with, and perceptions of, government is consistent with many Australians perceptions. An expectation that the government is like some surrogate parent who is required to look after them and get them out of trouble. Schapelle Corby's letter to the Prime Minister imploring him to produce witnesses out of thin air, who will attest to the fact that the weed with which she was caught is actually the property of someone else who put it into her boogey board bag for an as yet unexplained reason. Her Indonesian legal counsel is more oriented towards a bizarre style of public relations mixed with media spectacle and showmanship rather than a legal representative. The Indonesian legal system is not one balanced on innocent until proven guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt. It is a simple story telling exercise. The one with the most credible story wins and the one with the least credible loses. Only in this type of simplistic world is a case reopened to allow another lot of unknown, and as yet undiscovered people, to tell a different story. It is neither the role of the Australian government to provide legal counsel for one Australian particularly when so many others may be as deserving and nor is it their responsibility to track down and provide witnesses. Ms. Corby should hire a private detective if she wishes to proceed down this avenue. All of the federal politicians rushed to pander to populism as shown by the content of Kim Beazley's letter above and in doing so they gave false expectations and reinforced the incorrect perception of government's role. Now they have no one else to blame. A course in civics, in high school, may have provided both Ms. Corby and her mother with a greater awareness. Having eschewed diplomacy and silence in favour of theatrics and spectacle it is now unlikely that Ms. Corby can expect to be home soon. She may however find that at some later date, well before serving a twenty year sentence, that she is sent back to Australia. (Kevin Beck, Australia)
(May 2005) Job criteria that ensures the interests of the Australian government are served first
Extract from an advertisement by the Australian federal government's Department of Education and Training (Victoria) for an Assistant General Manager, Student Wellbeing Branch. "A sound understanding of the Government's priorities and the Premier's goals and targets for education is required as well as extensive experience in policy development, research and analysis ... resource management, a demonstrable ability to lead and manage a financial system..." This firstly implies that Premier Steve Bracks, and the government's goals and targets, are somehow synonymous with, and inseparable from, student well being in the Victorian schools system. There is absolutely no mention of the requirement for demonstrable experience, awareness of, or commitment to the pupils', welfare or their personal goals and objectives from an education system that is under funded, where teacher's have low morale due to Brack's Draconian employment legislation. An education system focused on labor's boring and mediocre ideology, and an obsession with low level competency skills for "employability", a lack lustre, human cattle processing system. This is a typical Victorian public service advertisement which shows the priority, and self absorption, with serving the government as the primary function. Salary $110,000 - $152,771. One must have knowledge, and belief, in the Premier's righteousness and clarity of vision and must demonstrate it, like a sycophantic parrot in the application documentation and at interview.(Kevin Beck, Australia)
Read: tutorials and resources on modern education for politicians
Wake up Australia and start to value your democracy and take an interest in the quality and performance of your governments, state. federal and territory. They are abusing their powers, and assuming mandates you did not give them. The disgrace in federal Immigration demonstrates that the Australian government executive does not apply standards, ethics and performance values. They abuse their office, people from other places, Australian citizens, regardless of circumstance. If you allow politicians to use their power, unfettered, unchallenged and unaccountable, then you deserve the outcomes. Look at the performance of your governments and consider are they capable of using power for the public good or just their own ideals, objectives and interests? You already have a perception and a belief. So why remain apathetic or silent or simply wait until they are gracious enough to allow you a vote? (kevin Beck, Melbourne Australia)
Psst, over here.
Come and have a geek at my place, it's called Parliament
I gotta live in two houses. Here's the view from one of them, whaddya reckon? What's the view from your place like, good as this?
particularly at the federal level, where misrepresentation has become the benchmark
(May, 2005) A Minister who corrodes the culture of his portfolio
When did the current Attorney General, and former Minister for Immigration, P. Ruddock, and his senior adviser know that an Australian had been deported? Which Branch Secretary in the Immigration Department signed off on the email advising the Queensland police of the deportation? When did the Minister for Justice become aware that an Australian had been deported? Is it true that Immigration did not pursue the matter due to budgetary constraints imposed by the government through the Secretary and that it was referred to the Justice Minister's department? When did Alexander Downer's office and department know and when was the office of Prime Minister and Cabinet notified? Is Senator Vanstone bearing the heat, like a good party soldier, to protect more senior politicians and the Prime Minister?
The rise and deterioration of John Howard's influence
Most political commentators, and media, would rate John Howard's influence as primary in Australia and not waning. This is probably true as long as terrorism and fear remain the ascendant controllers of peoples' responses. It is also true if they continue to ignore the lack of accountability and the disgusting examples coming out of Immigration and other departments. Some might say that Howard is merely a reflection of the times and the removal of ethics, and civility, as primary measures of our society, replaced by economy and wealth.
For many years John Howard waited in the background wilderness of the Australian Liberal Party. It was always difficult for Mr. Howard, the bland politician, who borrowed ideas and ideologies. Examination of his time as a liberal politician, his speeches and his willingness to jettison these ideas, is on show.
John Howard's moment was to come with the rise of individualism, self interest, opportunism, greed and insecurity and a burgeoning personal debt. In the background lurks the shadowy reality, a willingness to embrace whatever it takes, racism, xenophobia, nationalism, war, inhumanity, lying, appealing to base interests and more. Appeal to the lowest common denominator and you appeal to the masses. When Pauline Hanson openly opined these, once taboo, traits, Howard's moment had come. The labor and liberal/national parties are finely balanced in the totality of the political landscape. There are, however, more than, 1,000,000 extreme right wing voters who, when the door is opened, spew forth their bile. The federal government executive must rule at all cost, and this requires strategically embracing every opportunity, particularly the far right. The Howard team mastered the art of political dog whistle.
Australian politics is now about grabbing and retaining power. Thus we can discern little between labor and the conservatives. The extent of open racism, xenophobia and supremacy is the only demarcation between the two major parties. Labor continually tries to hedge its bets and is cautious. Howard is not cautious until his personal position is threatened.
After a while winning at all costs, and its corrosive effect, becomes the bane of good politicians and it eats at the soul of them and at the party's heart. We are now seeing this in the liberal party. The liberal party, until John Howard, had high ideals, values and dignity. These have been trashed by mediocrity. The executive of the federal government is supported by sycophantic parliamentary members and apparatchiks, morally moribund advisers and media specialists, government public servants and a host of people who would never have gotten where they are without all grouping around Howard. Under a quality government and party machine, they would not have seen the light of day yet alone administered Australia. The liberal party machine suffered a political coup.
How do we measure the pettiness of this Prime Minister, and his cabinet?
If a school wants a new flagpole, paid for by the Australian government, they are required to invite a member of the governing party (liberal or national) to the ceremony. The opposition members of parliament are an oversight.
For the first time, well beyond any politicisation begun by labor's Hawke and Keating, Australia's public service has been drawn into a political mire that now envelopes the parliament, and bureaucracy. The Secretary of the Department of Immigration, Mr. Farmer, apologises in a Senate hearing for the woeful performance of his department. The Minister, now administering band aids everywhere, for her inept performance, gives conflicting statements about detainees even as the Prime Minister in the other house says something else. The federal police Commissioner, Keelty, shops ignorant, and subhuman, Australian drug mules overseas so that they can face the death penalty rather than arresting them when they arrive here. Perhaps it is time that drug couriers were made an example of. So let's not waste time, and money, fighting their death sentences or let's leave them to rot in Indonesian gaols? The Australian government no longer serves the citizen and has become a comedy of errors, masquerading as a government, and a public service made into a government service with all of the average performance of the Prime Minister and his cabinet, embedded. The Prime Minister, and his cabinet, could market the effective methodology.
How do we measure the magnitude of this man's ignorance or performance?
There are so many examples of degrading standards, and performance, everywhere and the Immigration Department is just one example. Then there is the claim that the federal police operate overseas without any policy framework direction, as an extension of the army or as an intelligence agency, providing information to other law enforcement agencies in South East Asia, that is detrimental to Australian belief systems as to the death penalty, our own national interests and citizenship. The disabled are harassed, the unemployed labelled as `shirkers' and any critics are threatened, denied access and we have every day, "the citizen versus the state". As for open, and accountable, government, Howard and his ministers would seem to have little concept as to what that may be. Philip Ruddock is Minister of Immigration when its disgraceful acts cause pain and suffering to non Australian and Australians alike. The culture is described formally in independent reports as horrible, the climate of management as sycophantic, mean and incompetent, there are no checks and balances. Ruddock, now Attorney General, is not held responsible for any of it, Farmer the Secretary is rewarded with an Australian honour and ultimately is promoted to a senior diplomatic role. Ruddock comes across as a clinically cold and calculating man whose every word is measured and cautious, framed in legalism and political speak. He is one of the least likeable Ministers of the Australian government and it shows at every instance. One can never get an answer out of any government Minister, state, federal or territory. They are evasive, dissembling and some believe, even lying. They are held in contempt in published surveys, and generally, by a great number of the population. There is nothing on can do for they are entrenched in the system. They are, collectively, the primary reason for the
<Corrosion of Australia's Character. Supported by an elite, and unaccountable, group in advisory, public service and corporate roles.. This executive has made talking in tongues, an art form with none better than the former Immigration Minister, now Attorney General, Philip Ruddock. Paraphrasing his standard drivel, "there are protocols in relation to certain matters that are under ongoing investigation and in relation to those certain matters there are certain relationships jurisdictionally that define the parameters of how we deal with, or not, these certain matters whilst considering other matters in relation to those and others." It is now apparent that under this federal government, Australian citizenship can be deemed irrelevant, in the interest of government policy and objective, the affected are simply "collateral damage".
The media has been amused by the Howard - Costello leadership issue. How many liberal politicians with the prestige, and liberal breeding, of Costello have kept their counsel, while others have devalued the party to what it is today? The answer is, many. The dissenters in the federal liberal parliamentary party (there are many) question the values and behaviours of the executive. They are disgusted, and appalled, by the government's disregard for human dignity and democracy. They say that any policy that fails "the test of human dignity" goes against fundamental democracy and the foundations of the liberal party. Dismissively the Prime Minister says that they are to shut up and will not be allowed to vote their conscience. They must toe the government (cabinet executive) line. The fact that they represent constituents is irrelevant to this presidential style of politics. There appears to be little, if any, conscience in the government executive and in Howard himself. The underlying tenets of One Nation and the bigotry thrive in the federal cabinet room. John Howard says that he serves at the pleasure of the party, however he has failed the party and has failed to manage the damaging issue of mandatory detention, locking up mentally ill Australians and deporting others, and it is blowing up in his face. Watch him judge the mood and jettison this policy. As more and more cases of vile treatment, and thuggery, surface, there are hundreds of cases, hidden from the public gaze, not twenty, not thirty, hundreds, in relation to the operation of Australia's detention centres, he is being forced into a corner. He will have to dump his Minister, Amanda Vanstone, also.
The voters will not end John Howard's era.
In July the government will gain control of the Senate. John Howard will have a cabinet reshuffle to let steam out of the deteriorating position he finds himself in. Even when he does this he will learn it is too late. One day in late 2005 or early January 2006, the party will come and knock at the door of the Prime Minister. They will not come on behalf of Peter Costello. They will come on behalf of real liberals, the ones whose stomachs can no longer tolerate the cancer eating at the party and the quality of the nation's governance. They will tell the Prime Minister that he can go with triumph, or he can go with acrimony. It will be immaterial, for he will go regardless. With him will go the callous, the bigots, racists and a pack of under performing non elected parasites along with several millions of dollars of public money.
When he goes John Howard will be portrayed as the consummate politician, by a segment of the nation, and the media, that has lost its penchant for rigourous inquiry and analysis and its ability to judge what is leadership, what is quality politics and government and what is cant. Some, in the community, in opposition politics and in institutions and elsewhere, will maintain their rage. John Howard's Prime Ministership has been a degrading contribution to the nation's soul and character. If Howard stays the liberals will be ruined over time and the Nationals will rise up to become the party of the ordinary people in the vacuum caused by Labor's obsession with factional power and past glories. The elders of the Labor party cling to power, manipulate and degrade its traditions and history, and contribute to Australia's corrosion. There are no political leaders in Australia who exhibit the qualities that are defined in the text books or the qualities of the great leaders of the past. Mediocrity is in ascendancy across the nation.
John Howard has not made individual Australians richer monetarily, it was economic forces, globalism and other things beyond his control. However the successive cabinets of John Howard has collectively made Australia poorer, as a civil society. He has one, and only one contribution, that can be measured with any certainty, his time in office and the size of his pension. The party has to appoint a new leader well before the next federal election and it will be a moderate party member, nothing like John Howard. There are many in the liberal party, who without Howard, will lose all status and position. If Peter Costello is appointed the leader before the next election then labor will not have a chance electorally until after 2010 and will go further into the wilderness. ("The Corrosion of Australia's Character" Kevin beck, Melbourne, 2005)
(May 2005) The breathtaking vision of one of Australia's labor party executives.
In 2003 a fire storm raged through the Australian Capital Territory killing four people and destroying hundreds upon hundreds of homes, public buildings, public forests and lands and infrastructure. At the time the labor Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope, presented a statesman like image, stating that if the community wanted to blame someone they should blame him and not the fire fighters and emergency services management, who it appears never thought that such an event might occur in the land of bushfires. One might think that it is the ACT Assembly and bureaucracy's, poor planning, myopic attitudes and capabilities, as to how a community should be managed and protected and their risk analysis capacities. There was an element of hubris and ego as the two jurisdictions (NSW and the ACT) engage in seeking who can pee higher up the wall. The Australian Capital Territory politicians, and bureaucrats, have created an image that they do not need to be told or advised by anyone else. If your view of the world is that you are supremely capable in your abilities, and these are framed within the parameters of the next budget, and the next election, mired in self interest and status quo power bases and positions, then it is unlikely that the community is going to have a visionary and unconflicted government and civic management.
Mr. Stanhope set up the appropriate enquiry and then waxed lyrical about how Canberra would be prepared in the future, funding local community fire response teams. About twenty eight have been established with expectations of another sixty. They are run by volunteers, in the suburbs, which is another issue that could be examined in detail. Politicians will, like corporate boards and anyone else in positions of authority, spend as much money as they see fit on their own justified salaries, conditions and that of their favourites and pet projects but the community, and employees, must always be largely volunteers by comparison. The Chief Minister, ever politically adroit, managed to assist in derailing the enquiry turning it into a multimillion dollar legal fight with no discernible outcome, wasting enough money to fund hundreds of local community services with or without volunteers. Ironically the government supports a proposition that the Coroner, in charge of the enquiry is biased. Let he who is among you without sin cast the first stone. Politicians and the those affected would never be biased would they? The Supreme Court action supported by the poor judgement of Stanhope came down unfavourably. The Chief Minister said the judgement was flawed. Such is the arrogant assumption that he holds his views above the independent judge. In the meantime Stanhope stumbles on to greater heights of political, and leadership, ineptitude.
He never ceases to amaze at his ability to take his leadership to even greater heights of trivial pursuit. The government has declined to provide the promised funding ($250,000) for the next suburban group of community fire volunteers. They slide away on a claim that at least they are funding the existing twenty eight to remain viable. The overall establishment of all sixty was initially to be circa another $500,000. Jon Stanhope, the Minister and the Treasurer (and probably the whole of the labor party) claim budget austerity and that the bickie tin is empty.
Some time ago, Mr. Stanhope went to Tasmania and he visited a tree tops walk, in a forest. He was indeed impressed. In the budget, instead of the fire fighting community initiative, the people of Canberra have $150,000 for a viability study for Stanhope's new pet project, a tree top walk in a forest south of Canberra that may one day not be there, because of a fire, but the metal walkway will be.
People, outside of Australia, should know that Mr. Stanhope is not a Premier of an Australian state. He is Chief minister, in a regional community. He is the head of what is normally a city council, which explains much about the quality of governance in the Territory and the decision making process priorities. (Kevin Beck, Melbourne Australia)
(May 2005) Robert Carr (NSW) has achieved a record as Australia's longest serving state Premier. Bob is a trained journalist and actor. Every term Bob Carr has promised good government and services for the people of New South Wales. His media and acting skills are called upon every day. Here is his partial political birthday card.
The state's rail infrastructure is old and unsafe
The trains do not run on time, if at all, sometimes they crash.
There is insufficient fresh water and there has been no strategies and investment to deal with this up until 2005
The state's energy systems are old and run down and there has been no investment in them up until budget statements in 2005
Crime, disregard and disrespect for society, law and the police is high and the government does not know what to do about this breakdown in civil society
A civil society is a reflection of its political leadership
The education system is a hotch potch of federal and state political and social engineering ideologies. There is policy and political fighting, whether it be about money or ideology, industrial relations or standard tests. NSW is under funded, burdened by a multi-layered bureaucracy that is mediocre and stifles innovation and attacks morale. Despite this and luckily for the children the teachers and parents are dedicated and resilient. (Kevin beck, Australia)
The state and territory hospital and health systems are ham strung by multi layered bureaucracies, and interest serving groups, concerned more with finance and pandering to political masters, override and admonish highly qualified and dedicated nurses and doctors. It is a system run from the top down instead of the profession up. There has been no regional, or rural, development investment by governments in services.
The bureaucracy, and ministry, claims the work of private companies as its own initiatives in areas where development and job creation occurs
The Carr government is Sydney city centric and wastes millions of dollars on shoring up its political currency in inner city local government politics
There has been no significant investment in manufacturing, in science, technology or knowledge industries in the state by the Carr government
On the topic of police, the Premier is less than forthcoming about the number of police suspended or pending dismissal. The matter of Monique Turner is disturbing. A female officer in the NSW police service who reported a rape by a fellow officer claims victimisation. here is the story
NSW has a history of corruption in its police service and the existence of a military style, boys club. The Ministers of Carr government, in every portfolio, have a record of mysogony, evidenced by the victimisation of nurses who blew the whistle on their health bosses and the government. One Minister liked to wear a black shirt with his shaved head, he was inspiring image for a politician, so warm and approachable Some members of the public may have mistaken him for the anti - family court, outlaw divorce, father's group, known as the black shirts. On balance, who would the public be inclined to believe. Monique Turner, that she was raped by a fellow officer, the Minister, the police Commissioner? There has been a number of trails, but all to no avail, so now it's sack Monique time. In the citizen versus the state, Monique Turner is just another case. Is she being railroaded out of her career by the boy's club, the politics and the system? Probably yes. because the system in NSW is bent.
Bob Carr has never displayed an interest in individual citizen's rights unless it affects his personal electoral prospects. He is a boorish, autocratic politician, who likes to write books and publish his diaries, as if anyone of any intelligence, other than the media from which he emerged, is interested. He has little in common with reality and the people. He will not give a commoner the time of day unless there is something in it for Bob Carr. He stays in government on his media and acting skills, and because the opposition is inept, not because he is a talented leader. Why change government if the alternative is even less inspiring? He will leave government having made no lasting contribution to NSW of any substance, but taking a nice superannuation package with him. Due to Bob's poor planning and lack of investment and innovative thinking the people of Sydney may find soon enough that they cannot shower everyday. (Kevin Beck, Melbourne Australia)
Have you noticed how Australians who aspire to high levels of success, and powerful positions, in politics and business, will from time to time, talk about "how tough they are" or engage in brinkmanship? There are numerous examples we see in every day corporate, and public life, and many of them come from people, who either have not quite made it to where they want to be, or from those who have managed to devalue the organisations, and assets, they have been given, some even go to jail. Kim Beazley came back to the ALP leadership because there was apparently no alternative, which is a statement when you consider how many labor politicians there are in the federal parliament. It must be heartening to know that you are the saviour, the last report or it might result in hubris.
The leader of Australia's federal labor party, extols his `theories of strength' in attempting to justify why he fails to communicate with, and to gain a concensus, from his colleagues as to how he might respond to the Australian government, to policy and to everyday issues. Beazley, and his coterie of advisers, strategists and spin doctors, have been there before. They were not good at any of their tasks then, because they failed on multiple occasions to get Beazley into the Prime Ministership and he even lost the leadership of the party. They have packed and unpacked their boxes and appear to have learnt very little from the experience. They delude themselves as to their capabilities and the constituencies they purport to represent
Beazley's blathering about `strength' and `hard ball politics' is about the annual budget. Kim Beazley has decided somewhat unilaterally that the Labor party should, whilst dreaming awake of moments of glory past and relevancy, block the passage of tax cuts to everyone and propose an alternative. It would be a good tactic if the ALP was an opposition party of substance over the long term, but they are not. Beazley is grasping at his final days of power. At first Blather's justification of his knee jerk response to the tax cuts, forget about any other issue of substance such as locking up and deporting Australians accidentally, was that leadership required the hard decisions and the strength. What bull. Then, since that sounded somewhat hollow given his past performance and experience and real knowledge of such things, since he has had a few goes at leadership, and winning elections, and missed out, he was acting in the interest of the ordinary worker and the lower income earning individual. It is unfair in Blather's eyes that people on higher incomes should get large tax cuts and others get paltry ones. The percentages should be different for each group so that we reward the lesser individual performances for reasons that are not quite clear.
Here we can suspend the fact that Labor has policies directly supporting the value of globalism, competition, markets, individual endeavour and wealth creation. Instead we should upon command, embrace their alternative `hat' and offering - Labor, the party of the worker. Rubbish!
The definition of worker, has changed dramatically over time, leaving "blue collar" Labor, and the trade union movement, floundering. Then we can stretch Labor's role, to embracing the notion that the senior Labor parliamentarians, who earn salaries in the top echelon of the workforce, somehow miraculously by right, relate to the lower income in society when the other side of politics, who are also in the same income category, cannot. It does not matter that Kim Beazley, and labor career politicians, have rarely, or never been, in this sector of the income band, except when they were struggling students, public servants and trade unionists, or maybe a builder's labourer, and it does not matter that they have absolutely no correlation whatsoever with the `battlers'.
They still push the envelope of belief, and misrepresentation, of their history and their roots.
Beazley's next claim to the moral defence of his view of leadership and justification is that he has shown that he is prepared to `play hard ball politics" because he is standing up to the state Labor leaders who think that he is `full of it". Do we actually care that he is confronting them and they are confronting him and that he feels good about this? This is irrelevant to being a good leader.
Back to the archaic belief that belligerent `bull in china shop' styles are the essence of a good leader. Beazley is not alone in this archaic notion and he seemingly draws sustenance from similar role models in the corporate world, and a media that is enthralled with the gladiatorial contest of Australian politics, and stories and claims of representing the `worker', that are drivel, rather than the mundane, and very boring deeper, analysis and critique of the failure of political governance and quality of public interest service that envelops the nation. There is the defence that journalists in the parliamentary gallery have little material to work with. However there investigative skills appear to be on the decline. In a few weeks the Howard, conservative coalition, will have a majority in both houses of parliament and Beazley's notions of leadership hard ball politics, and delusions as to whom the party represents, will be worthless. He will not have the numbers to block tax cuts, allocation of car park places and paper clips. All he will have, is what he has now, words, words, words.
However politics, and governance, is a complex business and a game where there are many human personalities, aspirations and interests and it will not be all ahead full steam for the Howard government's agenda as so many commentators predict. I actually think that the Howard government will splinter, and unravel, like a whirly top as scandal, evidence of poor performance and other crimes against good governance and public policy surface to bite their collective arses.
Leader of the Opposition
Dear Mr. Beazley
I was wondering when you and Mr. Swan would be having surgery as a result of shooting yourselves in the foot with the one bullet? While you are there get the "bob each way on everything" labor party patented implant removed from you and the "feathers" replanted in Swan to create a better looking duster. It seems that political septicemia from the tax bullet may be spreading to the brain, if your interview on Neil Mitchell's talk radio is anything to go by as you were looking a bit grey whilst rambling and being evasive. Whilst you, and your tremendously effective strategy team, make out disingenuously that you are denying employees a $6 to $60 pay cut, on some spurious spin on fairness, your labor mates in the ACT Assembly will receive a handsome pay rise. They give the highest gross negative return for money, in every portfolio, of any government. While on the topic of value, and return for money, what is the logic behind keeping Laurie Ferguson, Simon Crean and a number of others on whilst Chris Evans, Carmen Lawrence and Lindsay Tanner are on the benches? Do you believe that there is a perception out there that makes using her talents a danger to the federal party? All the valuable experience and political nous gone to waste on what grounds? If this is the case then how is Bob Carr staying in government? He's got more telling negatives in his political career, about health and mental affects on people, than she has. Why not form a book club, with the front bench, and study the nature of leadership and strategy? This would be more effective than the exercise you conducted, and the document you produced full of old theories and ideas, just after you took over from the dummy spitter. The problematic issue of Simon Crean hanging around may be settled for you at the coming preselection. Also, what was the purpose of trying to push Petro Georgiou in parliament? Could it be surly jealousy that some liberals display more compassion and humanity than the hacks of a diminished federal labor party? You can blame Laurie Ferguson squarely for that perception, he is unable to develop and articulate any policy largely due to being incoherent, and creepy, on television. This is the team you are taking to the next election? I doubt it.
Ms. Sharan Burrow
Australian Council of Trade Unions.
Dear Ms Burrow
May I enquire the purpose of your being in Geneva,spending union member's funds (which come via the unions to the ACTU and from other sources) on something that will actually not deliver an outcome in Australia? It seems that the Prime Minister will simply blow the dog whistle "we are not going to have people in Geneva, activists and socialists, tell us how to run the country". Rightly so too, and this will probably go down well with the greater part of the Australian nation.
Does it ever tax your mind why the overall membership of trade unions is so low? Perhaps it could be that what you see as important, and strategically well thought out, is not so? What about applying your efforts to getting the teacher in Orbost, Victoria, reinstated? His career was terminated by a very nasty piece of legislation which has little ethical merit when interpreted and applied against a man who 13 years ago, when 19 years of age had a sixteen year old girlfriend and which according to ex-teacher, Steve Bracks, turned glamour Premier, makes him unfit to teach. Could it be that Orbost is not as inviting as Geneva and that strutting the board walk there for a valid purpose is not as `headline' grabbing as the ego booster of hanging out on the world stage?
Mr. John Howard, Prime Minister of Australia
I note that Schapelle is to be given, free of charge, the services of two skilled barristers. I was wondering when my barristers will be contacting me?
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
Dear Prime Minister
I'm thinking of travelling. If I get arrested for drug smuggling overseas will you give me two barristers? Also if I send my picture to the Australian Department of Immigration will that improve my chances of not being put into detention and being allowed to reenter Australia?
How bright is this government servant? They ring the Chinese Embassy and tell them that they are from the Australian Department of Immigration and they ask if a particular diplomat works there. Why not also tell them in the same call, to avoid them guessing, that the Chinese diplomat is seeking asylum and ask if they have a view on that. Does this government servant think that the staff at the Chinese Embassy is as thick as they are?
The Minister says that the officer gave away no information. Please Amanda, pull the other leg. Instead of asking the Chinese Embassy, why not ask the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs, also a government agency, if the person is on the Australian Chinese Consular List of Delegates, instead of triggering the alarm bells? This is without a doubt Australia's most stupid, and dangerous, government agency and yet the Minister persists with the proposition that behaviour and action is a cultural thing. What, shaped by Philip Ruddock or whom? And was it culture that can be blamed when Amanda Vanstone, as Acting Minister, deported a pregnant Chinese woman who, days after being handed over in China, had a needle stuck through her stomach into the baby's head killing it? Is this the culture that we have allowed to flourish under our eyes by our elected national government? Is this the culture that the flaky labor party under Beazley, Crean, Latham, and Beazley again, have assisted to nurture? Was it a cultural thing when Amanda Vanstone was Minister for the Department of Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs and it could not function effectively under her direction either? That department simply disappeared, but unfortunately for Australia, the Minister did not. This is a disgusting, appalling and degrading government lead by people who are, as they themselves like to say, "unAustralian" and not worthy of any respect what so ever. Australia, and the Australian Liberal Party, might regain its dignity when Howard, Ruddock, Vanstone and Downer are gone. It is a pity that they cannot be deported as "undesirables of questionable character" as they have labelled others.
Dear Prime Minister
Did you say that the antics of the media, Australians, and the sending of the substance to the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra would damage Schapelle's appeal? Do you have a view that Indonesian judges are less capable of ignoring the media, and other influences, than Australian judges? It seems that you are always putting out conflicting and mixed messages. It is because of the manner in which you conduct our national government that the Australian public perceive that there was a deal done for Schappelle and somehow the Indonesians recanted? I even thought that the Australian government had done a deal through political channels and that the dills in the media, SC's legal team and the lovely and kind man who is funding her legal case were stuffing it all. I still think that there is deal behind closed doors with SBY and support from George. Are the nine Australian drug couriers, shopped by the Australian federal police, to receive the services of 18 free barristers? Or is it only the young and pretty that are feted to such zealous concern?
Are their any other Australians awaiting trial or who are in jail, that you, the government and the labor party opposition have fallen over yourselves to express concern for? There are aren't there? Could it be that the media did not run 600 stories on them and they do not provide political capital?
As always, best regards
Mr. William Farmer
Department of Immigration, Multicultural and Aboriginal Affairs
May I call you Bill? It is a big department isn't it. Why are Australian aboriginals, and their affairs, mixed in with Immigration and Multiculturalism? It is a good question isn't it, or not as the case maybe depending upon where you are standing? However, why I am writing is to ask how your own performance, and that of your Deputy, Assistant and Under Secretary's and Branch Managers fits in with the Senior Executive Service criteria which I looked at for your positions? Have you all seen them? According to the Australian Public Service Commission, "The Senior Executive Service (SES) is the leadership cadre of the APS". Just in case you, and your colleagues haven't seen them, or you may have forgotten they were there and in your contracts of employment, here they are all, just click
Dear Refugee/Australian Citizen (choose according to your status)
I have assessed your case based on the in depth evaluation and exhaustive analysis of my department, and advice that we have no tolerance. Suffice to say that you should now go on the web and read our policy.
If you cannot read normal English, or bureaucraturkey - speak, we are happy to supply you with an interpreter at a user pay fee of $350 per hour, or part thereof every five minutes, in line with our policy of cost neutral service delivery or not.
Do not try play acting or speaking in tongues because we are wise to all the tricks and we are used to surprises. A. Vanstone
Minister for clearing houses and ignorant cultural services
"A Series of published satirical letters of fiction" Authored by Kevin Beck, Melbourne Australia
Lifting the bar of mediocrity to achieve new middles
Ceding Australia's government, and public service, to mediocrity
"Debbie Whitmont uncovers disturbing new evidence in the case of Cornelia Rau, who needed help but instead got ten months inside a jail and a detention centre. Cornelia Rau’s case has raised uncomfortable questions about how Australia treats people at the social margins such as the mentally ill, prisoners and asylum-seekers."
Source of Quote, Full Transcript
The Australian Immigration Department is under investigation for its performance in relation to the incarceration, and deportation, of legal Australian residents, and its general operational ethos in relation to the prisons it runs outside of traditional state jurisdictions. These prisons were established by the Australian Labor Party and exist today under a bipartisan agreement with the conservative Coalition government. However the focus, and blame for ignorance, and degradation, of Australia's federal public service and corrosion of standards and ethics, by its public service management, should not be there alone.
The state systems of mental health care are also derelict largely due to the low attention levels of funding and interest by governments, which are now all Labor, and policing methods of identifying and locating missing people. State and federal relationships are dysfunctional and too often, petty. There is no discernible co-operation between the states and the federal Immigration agency largely due to the arrogance of the Immigration Department, going to the highest levels of the service and into the Ministry. The lack of attention to managing a quality operation by the senior bureaucrats and the Minister is evident for all to see. They are so inept at what they do that they lock up Australians, because they are unable to identify them.
The Minister in charge of this degrading state of affairs, Senator Amanda Vanstone, is a revolving door Minister, moving between portfolios (education, employment, youth affairs, justice, indigenous affairs and immigration in a few short years that the Coalition has been in government. The performance of all of these portfolios diminished dramatically under her tenure. Also culpable, and derelict, is the Australian Department of Health which oversights national health but probably argues that mental health is somehow not in their purvey. Here we also have revolving door personnel. Senior people who now are located in senior roles in Health, and elsewhere, including in Prime Minister and Cabinet, were mired in the scandal of the Children Overboard incident just prior to the last election. Photographs were doctored, and misleading content and information was conveyed to the government, by Ministers and others, and out to the public by the government claiming that refugees were throwing their children into the sea in order to circumvent the government's policy of turning desperate people away.
This was not simply poor performance it was scandalous dereliction of public duty by public servants and members of parliament, who simply moved on.
Loyalty over rides quality public service performance, for the senior personnel of Australia's government agencies are not 'public servants' they are 'government servants' whose careers are at the pleasure of the Minister and the Prime Minister of the day. This wonderful transition was begun by Labor and perfected under the Coalition, and Labor today stands mute, with their thumbs in the bums and their mind in neutral. The benchmark of their performance is how well they serve the Minister, not the public that pays their wages.
Government servants, and ministers of parliament and advisers and the rest of the corrupting (of governance and democracy) lot, have adopted the cloak of managerialism, believing themselves to be important chief executives, who fly business class and stay in higher grade hotels, see themselves as people of stature and esteem. Quite a few of them are from shining examples to the tens of thousands of good, dedicated `public servants', who if they know what is good for them will, like the greater number of Australian people, stay quiet. They people scurry from the spotlight of accountability into the darkness of their corroded souls. Australians, generally, have no interest in politics, governance or the quality of the performance of the public service, perceiving it to be so low as worth getting rid of. In this attitude, they too are also derelict. Australians, and others are incarcerated and abused, degraded and humiliated, because Australians casually cede the most important aspect of society - their governments and public services - to mediocrity, and corrosion, with blithe apathy and careless abandon.
(April 2005) "Twenty one of You - Out You Go", so says Australia's Immigration Minister on the advice of the Immigration Department that these people have "serious character flaws".
This is ironic coming from a department which itself is inept as demonstrated by the Cornelia Rau case and treatment of many Australians and incarceration and mental torture of refugees, by the department and their private, mercenary police forces previously featured
It could be argued that the criteria for working in federal immigration in Australia is the possession and demonstration of serious character flaws.
Character flaws abound, in Queensland a former Premier with serious character flaws will be given a state funeral and corporate leaders go to jail whilst others just roll along. The Acting Minister, The Honourable Peter McGauran, in all seriousness, said on television that since the government had allowed 85% of the East Timorese people (1479 allowed - 21 declined) who had fled their country's brutal foreign occupation, and wars, had been allowed to stay, that we should `give the government the benefit of the doubt'.
A government whose record of secrecy, lying and misrepresentation is a hallmark of its governance, should be given the benefit of nothing, particularly if Ministers rely upon the advice of a department that has a record of incompetency, stupidity and disregard for quality public service and ethics.
Amanda Vanstone the senior Minister in the Australian government may like to give out the medicine and prove that she is as tough as the men in politics. It is extremely hard to respect her let alone like her as a politician for she demonstrates no heart or empathy seemingly relishing her job. She goes from portfolio to portfolio mostly dealing out misery and hard justice. Why send people back to a country where the future is bleak and the living squalid and where the government is demonstrating as much intolerance as Australia. These people have been here for up to ten years. Now that is a measure of the Department's performance and the government's soul.
All people who are natural Australians became so by an accident of birth, not of right. Those who chose citizenship often demonstrate greater commitment and value their citizenship, some do it out of necessity. The mean people who are citizens cannot be deported and unfortunately we as a nation are stuck with mean politicians. Meanness and despotic behaviour are traits of the modern political leader, career politician and ultimately governments of Australia and even in East Timor. It is good that the government service and the politicians protect us, the weak, insipid and acquiescent Australian nation, from the evil and scary refugees. This is again the age of the citizen, and the non citizen, versus the state and the public exhibition of how power corrupts.
East Timor's parliament is discussing a new law that would allow the interior ministry to deport any foreigner who engages in political activity or even attends a political meeting or demonstration.
This same government is bleating about an unfair Australian government which might have some merit, but being hypocritical themselves diminishes their credibility.
"Tell Australia to "Stop Stealing East Timor's Resources and East Timor's Future!"
The problem for the Australian government is that deporting East Timorese people, who have lived here for years, in the community, is not the same as ill treatment of middle eastern people in many Australians' eyes, for the East Timorese risked their lives to save our soldiers from the Japanese in the second world war and diggers and others remember. They also remember that many Australian governments pandered to a brutal regime of control over these people until the Howard government took a stand and sent troops in. Many of these are coalition supporters. They are familiar with flaws of character and may wonder why a group of non Australians should be singled out for special attention?
"Queensland police attempted to take a young man, Sam Hogan, into custody. The young man was depressed and delusional and relatives were concerned for his safety, but he had committed no crime. The events of last April are still being investigated by Queensland's Crime and Misconduct Commission, but there is nothing ambiguous about the result for Sam Hogan. After being sprayed twice with capsicum spray and handcuffed, he has been left with massive and permanent brain damage. While medical experts believe his injuries may have been caused by pressure to the neck from a police restraining hold, it's not the only tragic case involving capsicum spray"
Source and Transcript
Ceding government and the public service to mediocrity
Articles assembly, and commentary, by Kevin R Beck, owner of the Mosaic Portal and Forum
We may judge the actions of leaders such as Steve Bracks on a limited scale and the manipulation of particular focus is one of `economy'. Managing the economy is being presented as the primary determinant of good political governance and leadership. If this is accepted then the proposition of misusing the power of the state against the individual is no longer of any major concern since the greater part of the community is not affected. Yet humanity and caring is the mark of a true leadership even though we as a society may not value it any more or may view it with scepticism particularly in relation to government and politics. The Premier of Victoria, in Australia, has used the instrument of the state to destroy the livelihood and the career of an individual and he has exercised his power with impunity and without care.
Under the stewardship of Bracks the parliament of Victoria passed an act designed to weed out employees who are threats to children within the Victorian education system. It is an unflinching act using all of the punitive powers of the state and there is no discretion and no right of reply or natural justice. About thirteen years ago a young man of nineteen years age had a girl friend who was almost sixteen years of age. He engaged in a relationship with mutual consent of parents and friends. Someone unrelated reported this `crime' to the police and statutorily the young man was charged. His lawyer advised him to plead guilty in order to avoid a conviction for the heinous crime of child abuse. He did so and no conviction was recorded. The world goes on. Fast forward to 2005 and the young man is a respected teacher in a Victorian school. A police check, emanating out of Brack's new law, exposes the young man's background and he is dismissed and banned from teaching. No court, no hearing, no reply, no justice.
The Premier, a man who would pride himself on truth and leadership, states twice on a Melbourne radio programme broadcast to hundreds of thousands of listeners, that the man was `convicted' of a crime. The radio broadcaster states that this is incorrect. The all-knowing Premier, in typical ignorance since he has a reputation for being neither well briefed as to facts and of questionable capacities, restates his incorrect proposition. Learning later that he is wrong the arrogant Mr.Bracks refuses to apologise for he is a crusader in the protection of children and he believes that he is on safe political ground. He cloaks his arguments in the hypocrisy of protecting children, informed by his minders and political instincts that fear and insecurity are great motivators. Bracks has accused the Prime Minister of Australia as being a `scare mongerer' using such tactics to win elections. The hypocrisy and lack of lateral thinking of Mr. Bracks, unable to apply the same judgements to his own actions, is breathtaking He demonstrates that the individual when confronting the state is expendable and that the individual citizen is of less value than the politician. Brack's career aspirations are above those of the teacher whose life this self-serving politician has ruined.
The school, local community, the parents and the parliamentary opposition and score of others say that this is wrong. The Premier is called `bloody minded' by a caller to a radio station and 'stubborn' and that he is. It is strange that Steve Bracks should take this unmovable position given that he was once a teacher and once a young man. He left teaching and we do not know of his personal background and suitability for continuance under his own legislation.
There are no morality issues and strictures applied to being the Premier, even though on an equal judgement he is probably unsuitable to hold his position in government as a leader, if not morally, because he fails to demonstrate an appreciation of the proposition of the `citizen and the state' and which is paramount in democracy. Here the individual is sacrificed on a justification of greater public good. Antonio Gramsci (1890) expounded the principles and opined what happens when politics subverts the citizenry. The teacher's life is destroyed and the quality of governance in Victoria Australia under a labor politician who should, but does not know any better, is the lesser. It is the simple things that often unravel the managed world of the modern politician and what lies below the surface that they miss. This is Brack's last period as Premier, for as it states in the opening of this commentary, he has shown everyone who he really is.
Not content with this exercise of using the state against the citizen, as a blunt instrument, it is reported that the Bracks labor government will regulate conversations between taxi drivers and passengers. It is rumoured that the government will ban discussions of religion and politics. No doubt the fools castle inhabitants will have, what they believe is a justification, but it beggars belief that they, their advisers and the Attorney General, Rob Hulls, could be so stupid. The High Court has ruled (in Lange, 1985, CLR 520) on a definition of political communication, and audience test, that would seem to give protection to this type of exchange, and private conversation, within the implied free speech on political matters under the Australian Constitution. The exchange may very well influence the vote of either party in the federal election or may promote the very essence of participation in democracy. As to their legislation on religious discussion that also seems to fall within the ambit of the Constitution. The Victorian government misjudges its legislative, and regulatory capacities, under the federalism provisions of the Constitution. Such attempts at social engineering, and shaping, indicate that the Labor Party machines are intent upon foisting upon the people of Australia, their choices of leader regardless of merit, talent or qualities. Lesser mortals (the citizens, and their rights, are sacrificed upon the altar of political interests and expediency.
Then on July 4, 2005 he follows up his cavalcade of questionable judgements with a statement regarding Steve Vizard. Mr. Vizard, appointed to a number of government committees focused on snaring events for Melbourne is being prosecuted, in a civil action in the Federal court, for insider trading pertaining to a time during his tenure as a Director of Telstra, Australia's largest telecommunications company. Mr.Vizard has agreed a no contest with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, to avoid a criminal trial. He now awaits penalty and sentence. Another prominent figures state that we need ten Steve Vizards. Misuse of one's position and trading on inside knowledge gained, in a government owned enterprise (Telstra) is a breach of the fundamental integrity of office and of the plank of the stock market. Bracks demonstrates questionable values of integrity . Why should he view Vizard's sin against society with less contempt compared to how he stands in judgement on the teacher's case. The difference is stark, he disappoints on every occasion and Mr. Bracks is yet another leader, who in public office, raises questions as to fitness.
"Queensland police attempted to take a young man, Sam Hogan, into custody. The young man was depressed and delusional and relatives were concerned for his safety, but he had committed no crime. The events of last April are still being investigated by Queensland's Crime and Misconduct Commission, but there is nothing ambiguous about the result for Sam Hogan. After being sprayed twice with capsicum spray and handcuffed, he has been left with massive and permanent brain damage. While medical experts believe his injuries may have been caused by pressure to the neck from a police restraining hold, it's not the only tragic case involving capsicum spray"
The Australian government has recognised China as a Market Economy. This is quite remarkable for a government that bases its credentials and credibility on a deep understanding of economic principles and management. Human rights arguments aside the Australian government is rewriting the book on market theory and in doing so is looking somewhat remote and somewhat ignorant of a true understanding, from the rest of the developed world, true market economies, making a grave error of judgement as to the capacity of China, its government, systems, regulatory frameworks and entrepreneurs. A billion consumers does not make a market economy, nor does it make this country the engine of the modern world.
"Definitions of a Market Economy - Which One or More Fits China?
"A market economy is a term used to describe an economy where economic decisions, such as pricing of goods and services, are made in a decentralised manner by the economy's participants and manifested by trade. This can be seen as a "bottom-up" approach to organising an economy (self-organization). It is meant to contrast to a planned economy, where economic decisions are made by a central agency, which can be equated to a "top-down" approach."
Source and Definition Explanation
A country in which most economic decisions are left up to individual consumers and firms interacting through markets. Contrasts with central planning and non-market economy.
Source and Definition Explanation
"This is an economic system that permits an open exchange of goods and services between producers and consumers"
Source and Definition Explanation
"An economy in which the setting of prices and allocating of resources are determined largely by the forces of supply and demand".
Source and Definition Explanation
"Economic theory which is like the Yeti, the abominable snowman, in that it is always claimed to exist while nobody can find it. What is often believed to be market economy is nothing but a diluted and fragmented version perverted by capitalism, subsidies, politics and trade rules and applied only in trade involving minor sums. "
Source and Commentary
"An economic system where resources are allocated and production of goods determined by market forces rather than by government decree. "
Source and Expanded Definition
"A system of decentralised economic decision making in which consumers, producers, workers, savers and investors interact in markets through the forces of demand and supply to set prices in order to answer the basic economic questions of what, how and for whom. "
Source and Expanded Topic
"The national economy of a country that relies on market forces to determine levels of production, consumption, investment, and savings without government intervention. "
Source and Expanded Topic
"The allocation of resources is determined by the invisible hand of the price system. "
Source and Expanded Topic
"An economic system in which decisions are made largely by the interactions of buyers and sellers. "
Source and Expanded Topic
"An economy based on the private ownership of business and allows market factors such as supply and demand to determine business strategy "
Source and Expanded Topic
"Countries must meet six criteria under the United States Tariff Act of 1930 to be designated as market economies, Evans stated. Two of these involve labor standards and currency policies. "
Source and Expanded Topic
"The European Union refused China full market economy status because of what it said was too much state interference, the weak rule of law and poor corporate governance. "
Source and Expanded Topic
A COUNTER VIEW - CHINA IS A MARKET ECONOMY"
Arguments in Support Of The Market Economy View
Go To The Mosaic Portal's World of Market Economies
(March 2005) Ideology and Philosophy
Proposed abolition of compulsory up-front student union fees by the Australian government
There is a trait that permeates Australian corporate and public life, it is management by threat. The Australian government threatens the states and territories, activists groups, critics, advocates and Australian institutions with 'loss of funding'.
"Do as you are told or we will withdraw, or limit, your money".
Melbourne University Council has firmly opposed the Federal Government,s plans to prevent Australian universities collecting non-academic fees from their students. These (non-academic) fees are used to provide amenities, services and facilities for students generally. The Higher Education Support (Abolition of Compulsory Up-front Student Union Fees) Bill 2005 - the voluntary student unionism (VSU) legislation - is expected to pass through the Senate after 1 July 2005 and to apply from 2006.
At its April meeting, the University Council resolved to oppose the provisions of this legislation that relate to the levying of student charges. It has asked the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Glyn Davis, to take whatever practicable steps necessary to gain some moderation of the proposed legislation. "Students come to the University of Melbourne not just for the courses but for the 'Melbourne Experience'," Professor Davis said. "They want to be part of a campus where interesting things happen, where they have access to a life that extends beyond the classroom and encourages active student participation in University life." Professor Davis says the legislation has serious financial implications for the University if it is to preserve the essential functions of the 'Melbourne Experience'.
From 2006, the VSU legislation will prevent the University collecting the Amenities and Services Fee, which this year provided $12.68 million to support a wide range of services and facilities. This fee allows the Melbourne University Student Union Limited to provide services and facilities for the University's more than 30,000 undergraduates, the University of Melbourne Postgraduate Association to tailor services for 9000 postgraduates, and Melbourne University Sport (MUSport) to provide superb facilities for around 10,000 club and MUSport members and 36,000 casual visitors in 2004.
The University Council backed moves to minimise - without too great consequences for other University programs - the adverse effects on essential non-academic student services provided by the University, its auxiliary operations, controlled entities and affiliated student organisations. Melbourne has supported a student union for more than 120 years. The Melbourne University Union - modelled on the famous Oxford and Cambridge Unions - was established to "unite and promote the fellowship of the different schools of the University". The Union House has been on the same site since 1911 when a renovation was made possible with "funds raised from a compulsory club-house fee".
Professor Davis points out that universities have been traditional training grounds in the political process. "Many of our politicians served as student politicians. A prime minister, Sir Robert Menzies, and a foreign minister, Dr Gareth Evans, led the student council at Melbourne in different eras. "This university has also produced generations of business and community leaders, and journalists and editors who started with the student newspaper Farrago, who have gone on to make major national contributions. "We need to consider what the consequences of losing all this will be,not just for this University, but for the nation."
Message from Chair, Interim Student Representative Committee. The student union is greatly concerned about the affect of the federal government's proposed VSU legislation which presents a serious threat to every student's university experience. It will affect the level of support services available to assist you with your studies and the capacity of student organisations to represent your interests to the University and in the community. It will also severely damage social, cultural and recreational life on campus. We are working with the University and the other student organisations on campus to ensure that the outcome of this legislation does not adversely affect your university experience. If you'd like to find out more about why the legislation represents such a threat, and what you can do to help, come see one of your friendly student union office-bearers, first floor,Union House.
Message from President, University of Melbourne Postgraduate Association UMPA believes that the federal government's proposed VSU legislation presents a serious threat to every student's university experience. We are working with the university and the other student organisations on campus to ensure that the outcome of this legislation does not adversely affect your university experience. If you'd like to find out more about where your Amenities and Services Fee goes, and what you can do to help,stop by UMPA reception any time!
For further information contact: Paul Donegan, Chair, Interim Student Representative Committee, email@example.com Matthew Belleghem, President, University of Melbourne Postgraduate Association, firstname.lastname@example.org
Comment by Kevin R Beck: Ironically Sir Robert Menzies was Australia's longest serving conservative Prime Minister, and the current Prime Minister, John Howard sits at Sir Robert's old desk and in many ways might consider Sir Robert as some form of historic role model. The Ministers, and Cabinet members, of Australia's government enacting this legislation all benefited from a free education including university, and also paid student union fees, and many engaged in student politics including Australia's Treasurer and aspirant Prime Minister, Peter Costello and another senior cabinet Minister Tony Abbott along with many others. It is typical of the conservatives in the conservative parties to take as much as they can get for free and then to be mean when in public office particularly if they are ideologically driven. I am a multiple graduate of the University of Melbourne (1985, 1999 and 2004) and I have paid student union fees at this university and my previous other two Australian universities and I believe that the Australian government is typically over reaching its intellectual capacity and abilities, without thinking of the political consequences. The Melbourne University Alumni is vast, and global, and its membership includes all walks of life, society and economy. Looking over the horizon for unexpected, and unanticipated or ignored consequences, is a forte of many in politics and corporate life in Australia. So as the Vice Chancellor indicates `it is time to demonstrate' this very point and enact the University Council's, opposition, on a global scale,to this stupid, mindless and illogical proposition which is veiled in a smokescreen of the conservative's "theory of choice" and 'individualism' which is corroding Australia's quality of life and society.
Australia appears to be afflicted with the syndrome of not being able to identify,utilise and galvanise, its full human resource potential. The question is why? Some muse that underemployment, unemployment and access and opportunity, discrimination and a blinkered, narrow approach to determining peoples' skills and abilities are major impediments that governments, industry, business, employers, and community at large are not addressing. Outsourcing of the human resource recruitment function has been identified as an abrogation of good management.
Outsourcing of employment screening and other services, to the marketplace, by the federal and state governments in the case of public services and the creation of the Job Network is reinforcing the use of external parties and contractors. Unlike the individual employer these companies have multiple clients and assignments and are driven by the need to develop their revenue base. There are thousands of recruitment companies operating in a crowded market with differing levels of capability and sophistication. These pressures result in a resume receiving 30 - 40 seconds attention and the proposition that a candidate must cram their career and background into a maximum of two pages.
An important decision that affects the life of the candidate, and the prospects of the employer, getting the right person is given trivial and curt attention. Evidence indicates that using outsourced recruitment services alienates the human resource function from an organisation and indicates that the entity and its management are focused on trying to do one of the most important functions on the cheap. Antipathy, by candidates, towards agencies is a growing trend and this is logical given that there is a plethora of agencies springing uplacking in resources and their own staff capacities. It may be argued that an organisation that cared about its practices in employment selection would not risk such an important function to someone who has no loyalty, or inner knowledge of the workings and culture of the organisation and indeed the sector in which the organisation operates.
Read the mission statements, and rhetoric of the recruitment companies, and one can see that the claims of relationship and professionalism to the interests of the client and the job seeker are fraught with conflict of interest. They claim on the one hand to represent the employers, to know their business, interest and needs intimately despite having so many clients. They also claim to represent the best interests of the candidate. They are like a lawyer claiming to represent both parties in a negotiation.
Remarkably some critics argue that the inability of recruitment companies to know or detect competency is a bonus to an organisation's incumbent management.
The owner of this web site has distributed a paper, to parliamentarians across Australia, on the use of profiling and psychometric tools to test employees and prospects and the issues for public policy facing legislators, arguing that such methodologies are flawed, fraught with risks and inconsistencies, and too often disadvantageous to applicants, with attendant legal and social consequences.
Job advertisements almost always lack detail, can be misleading, demand skills and attributes for lower level roles that are more befitting a stellar performer. Misrepresentation is against the law in Australia and newspapers publish warning advice on their pages however job boards carry no such warning advice and the advertisement is simply transferred electronically from paper to the Internet. Misrepresentation is narrowly defined for legal purposes than the broader definition implied here. Candidate specifications are narrow, because employers in Australia are not risk takers, are not highly experienced in global management practices and experiences as their US and European counterparts, and professional bodies are protecting their turf. In Britain employers take people from many disciplines to work side by side. This does not occur in Australia. There is little cross pollination in Australia and a closed shop mentality to people being able to do the job stifles organisational development and innovation. Criteria selection is a lazy approach to candidate processes and is used to bring everyone to a common denominator where precise criteria precludes recognising that skills are transferable across industry sectors. Employers are cannabilising their competitors and other organisations ably assisted by their contract agencies. This has an affect in the longer term on narrowing the expertise, reducing any cross pollination and ultimately reducing the competitive ability of the nation as a whole.
Job advertisements wax lyrical seeking "exceptional traits" as if they are in the majority within the market rather than a minority. About half of any population would be expected to have a peak in a single thinking style. Thirty-five percent of people have peaks in two thinking styles, with the most common combinations being analyst/realist, idealist/analyst, and synthesist/idealist. Two percent of the general population has a preference for three thinking styles. About 13 percent exhibit relatively flat profiles, with neither peaks nor valleys. How many recruitment practitioners are qualified to discern thinking styles and apply this knowledge to a role in an organisation? How does each style affect communication, skill, team behaviour, output and other abilities and which style is the exceptional one that fulfills the recruitmenter's perceptions and demands? Which style matches the selection criteria set out by the employer? (Kevin Beck, Melbourne Australia)
There is a preoccupation with the notion that if a person has worked for a big company then they are superior. Mention that one has worked for the "Big 4" in Australia, or for a brand name entity, a major bank or enterprise and bingo they have an advantage. Is there a recognition that these huge companies, and their employees, though lauded as the best at one point time, have been found to be incompetent and fraudulent often costing shareholders and tax payers millions and billions This occurs under the noses of, and within the watch of, highly paid executives who are experts in their field equated with success who when moved on receive exorbitant pay outs known as a "golden parachute"
The public outrage does not appear to flow through to the recruitment agency screeners and the employers despite politicians seeming to get the gist and mouthing platitudes but doing little to address Australia's failure to harness its people talent.
The free market is about choice, it is about discrimination on age and race and gender and many other discriminatory practices that are subtle. It seems that people think if you had an experience more than 3-5 years back it is inconsequential to modern day application and performance.
Perhaps in the minds of recruiters, and employers, any experience in the big companies is worth more than a credible performance in a no name entity, particularly if you are older and fit a stereotype perception of the world of work. Research indicates that large organisations may actually stifle creativity, innovation and human development. It also shows that people with little experience beyond their own work spheres make rash judgements and are less likely to be able to determine potential and performance. There is nothing more annoying than being interviewed by a person of lesser experience, and knowledge, who also expounds on their own place in the organisation for the first ten minutes of an interview than having a set of governments that are blinkered and lack the necessary innovation and ability to tap the human potential of Australia.
Psychometric Testing Requires Government legislative Controls
The growing use of psychometric testing, outside of medical and psychological application for measuring mental retardation, poses issues for legislators at state, territory and federal levels as well as for employers and managers in the private and public sectors of the economy. There are human resource and recruitment firms that specialise, in the administration of such tests for all recruitment assignments. I want to point out why I think these developments will, in future, create problems in areas of discrimination, psychological practices as health issues and employment and why there is a need to consider these matters.
Some work has been undertaken in jurisdictions across Australia in part on key issues but that there is no extension of this legislative work, on a national basis, to matters of psychometric testing for employment and performance appraisal.
If legislators are prone to allowing the development and administration of such tests, particularly in the public employment sector, then they might consider under what conditions (physical and physiological), qualifications of administrators and assessors and circumstances they are to be allowed and the public policy issues including litigation, employee relations, equal opportunity and fair practice, they are to be allowed. What are the licensing processes and mandated qualifications for administration, and assessment, in Australian jurisdictions for firms and individuals?
What are psychometric tests?
"Psychometric" literally means, measuring the mind and, in one sense, any systematic attempt to assess mental characteristics could come into this category. The term however, is usually used to describe specific tests for personality, intelligence or some kind of attitude measurement".
I believe that the tests can be, and are, flawed and can have consequences if there is a lack of controlling framework within public policy. I set out compelling evidence that the growth, and consequence for legislators, goes well beyond simple legislation to a wider consideration.
We have seen how people perform in schools under testing conditions and how some individuals do not perform well at all in exams. Are such people to be at a disadvantage in their quest for employment and career progression? In addition psychometric test performance, and results, are affected by external and internal factors - physical premises, reliability of technology, lighting and air conditioning, physiological influences such as language, cognizance, health at the time, sickness through flu, headache, worry and peer pressures and attitudes and the existence of an unknown medical condition or onset, in the subject, such as depression, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer type conditions.
Legislators might also note that certain people are not subjected to such tests, e.g. chief executives, board directors and people of stature creating discrimination. What are the frameworks and challenges available to the subjects who are subjected to tests as part of the selection or appraisal processes?
We know, from our own personal experience that attempts to classify and measure people is fraught with danger and consequence and labeling is an insidious practice. For those unemployed being placed in a measured category - dole bludger, job snob, shirkers - is not only demeaning but can be self fulfilling. It is similarly so for such practices in psychometric testing.
"There is the danger that the labelling of an individual as possessing a particular trait or ability will tend to encourage conformity to that trait. The psychometric approach implies a nomothetic view of people: that is to say, a view that people are capable of being classified and measured. The opposing view to this would argue that humans are essentially individuals and not susceptible to classification. This is an idiographic view".
The purveyors, and promoters, will tell you, their target users, clients and subjects, that psychometric testing is but one tool in an arsenal of resources, that there is no right response to a question and that reliance on the interpretation, and results, is at best problematic, yet they will not address the above considerations. Each subject test can garner between $1,500 and $3,000 in revenue per test subject.
Beyond the issues of employment and appraisal legislators should be aware that the growth of "psychometricians is not limited to working within the testing industry however. Many psychometricians are employed in industrial and organizational settings performing job analyses, consumer surveys, developing and validating personnel selection procedures, and performing market research. Positions in private and public consulting agencies, clinical research positions, and positions in managerial and administrative roles are also open to graduates of psychometric programs. Psychometricians can even find employment as researchers in fields only tangentially related to psychology, as statisticians, expert witnesses, and of course, in academic settings as well. The field of psychometrics has made and continues to make important contributions to psychology and to our society. Psychometric principles, applications, and issues continue to permeate every aspect of psychology and impact many people's lives. The complex issues brought on by our rapidly changing society provide new challenges for psychometricians and new directions for the future of psychometrics".
We can see examples of this predicted growth arising in the British Parliament:
"Mr. Flook: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if the Marriage and Relationship Support branch of the Department will include the use of pre and post marital psychometric inventories as part of the criteria for considering bids for LCD grants. , SOURCE
Discrimination in employment, psychometric and other testing legislative issues:
No legislation, or regulations, beyond use of discrimination legislation,
questions and answers for the general public
In the European Union: "Assessment of a person with a known medical condition for employment" and the legislative issues
In Victoria Australia:
Victorian Law Reform Commission, psychometric and other testing of workers, privacy, legislation and other issues
In South Africa:
Extent of pre-employment testing In the United States (Harvard University)
Workforce Development (e.g., employment preparation and supporting families transitioning from welfare to work) and Tests/Assessments: Data sources include standardized test scores, psychometric tests, and other assessments of the programme and its participants. These data sets are collected with the purposes of the evaluation in mind.