KEVIN R BECK COMMENTARY AND SNAPSHOTS

OF AUSTRALIAN SOCIETY ECONOMY, POLITICS AND GOVERNMENTS

Australia's place in the world

Plus looking at KRUDDY government policy


star is born
Innovation
Australian Future Fibres Research
and Innovation Centre (AFFRIC)
Geelong Victoria


Go to Australian politics and government in 2017
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Kevin R Beck



On the Global Mosaic Portal




It all ends in tears




Kevin Beck result predictions (by electorate)
for the 2013 Australian federal election





And the curtain comes down



In the last week of June 2013 the Australian federal labor parliamentary caucus abandoned support for Prime Minister, Ms Julia Gillard reinstating Kevin Rudd as the Prime Minister and installing new Ministers. This makes a farce of Australia's democracy and federal parliamentary system as politicians demonstrate that the office of Prime Minister, and the Ministries, are theirs to auction off and play with as they see fit, for their own prurient political and personal interests.

KRUDD hit the ground running installing a new voice in Treasury in the person of Chris Bowen, a completely different persona to the hapless Treasurer Wayne Swan. Mr Bowen immediately pointed to the increasing stresses on the Australian economy signalling a different modus operandi and communication style based on fact rather than speculation, or wishes, that was the hallmark of Wayne's tenure. Additionally Mr Bowen can communicate with ease and effect.

The carbon tax is jettisoned in favour of an emission trading scheme with the Rudd typical gloss. PM KRUDD implies that because he says it is so then it is. He avoids telling the nation that parliament is not sitting so the carbon tax actually remains. KRUDD has no power to change to an ETS unless he wins government. Never the less the juggernaut rolls on. The new duo KRUDD, and Mr Bowen, announce a crack down on FBT and cars. The message is that there are shifty types misusing the system to get tax allowances they are not entitled to. Again it is gloss. Nothing is changing except keeping a diary and justifying the use of the vehicle to get that tax deduction. A ystsme that already existed. The car industry, fleet and lease dealers go hysterical, thousands to be sacked immediately and Holden says this could be the end. Again Labor shows its propensity to rush forward without thinking of the consequences, ignoring third party advice if they actually have any, and displaying how they operate agovernment void of experience and knowledge. The FBT on car use serves also as a subsidy to keep the car industry in Australia. Labor pays billions in subsidies out of the left hand but since the right hand is not joined in their body politic they see no relationship.

Then comes the hard line on asylum seekers. KRUDD can be more mean than anyone else in Australian politics or probably on the planet with the exception of despots though the lines between KRUDD style and a despot is blurring. KRUDD announces every asylum seeker will be assessed on Papua New Guniea and if successful be a new resident there not in Australia.



Greens leader Christine Milne pops a blood vessel
and the refugee supporters are enraged, many are enraged, enragement envelopes them all and they cannot breathe and
fall down in a faint.


There you go problem solved in KRUDD's cerebral hemisphere time to move on, but .... in Papua New Guinea the landholders, a powerful political group, are milling to tell their government where to shove KRUDD's solution and questions arise as to the legality, the economics and the practicality. Again problem solved before any analysis is undertaken. Labor's Papua New Guinea solution will most probably flounder on their naivety, lack of experience and ability to think beyond their imemdiate horizon of personal interest goals. KRUDD relies on the detachment of Australian voters, on the bigoted, the semi educated who cannot distill complex policy and/or those who have no knowledge of the wider world of diplomacy, economics and law. What Labor does not need in this Australian 2013 election campaign are thinkers with fingers on technology.


Ethical Editorials



Education Editorials




Critiquing the Australian Government
2012 - 2013



AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT IS NOT MANAGING AUSTRALIA'S COMMODITY RESOURCE BOOM

Tearing the fabric of communities and the nation


March 2012, there are some who think we should applaud Julia Gillard's ability to get legislation through the minority governed parliament. These people, challenged in lateral thinking and the bigger picture, see this as a great trait. But what about the ability to do things that are hard and require thought and vision out of the box. Thought, vision, policy solutions and actions, about things that are vital, and solving massive problems that have never been experienced in this nation to the extent they are today? Well Gillard, Swan, Emerson, Combet, Plibersek, Rudd and Shorten, inter alia, these two, Jenny Macklin, Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Simon Crean, Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government? What solutions to they proffer to the challenges described below? It is not clear. What is clear that we can probably expect, that in 2012, the federal lot to say it is a state responsibility. Thumb in the bum and mind in neutral the duck shoving, and buck passing, system of government in Australia, will go on as ever before.

Commentators and politicians bandy around the term "two speed economy" to describe the effects of the mining boom in Australia. The labor party under Gillard, and Swan, focus on a mining tax. They want a share of the spoils of the profits. States want their royalty coffers filled to over flowing. The short term, myopic focus, of Australia's governments, legislators and the markets, is surplus. Balance the books at all cost. The fiscal sleight of hand.

Meanwhile regional communities, that once believed they would benefit from the miners popping up around them find that the goose did not lay a golden egg. Fly in, fly out workforces do not live in communities, do not send in communities. Itinerant others, come in and take over the cafes, pubs and the shops, creating tension. Women feel insecure in their communities where a hundred men (unknown to them and with no threat really) outnumber them 100 to one. Is social disorder creeping in? The mining boom is ripping the fabric of theses regional towns apart. The state, and federal governments, are mute and dumb in the face of this difficult circumstance. Swan might even be oblivious.

Back in the days of Joh Bjelke-Petersen, Premier of Queensland, Utah Mining came calling. Joe made them build a town.




80% of the BMA workforce must live in the region, but the funding model does not keep pace with the boom. Under Queensland's model service funding is based on permanent residents. Thus Moranbah will never get the funds required for hospitals, medical clinics and such, demanded by the itinerant workforce stretching and killing Moranbah's morale. The mining tax is being given to labor's recipients of "entitlement", tax cuts, subsidies, hand outs, the people who are purportedly in the second economy speed lane. This is populism and an exercise in stupidity. The first people who should get the funds are the regions set upon in Western Australia and Queensland. However labor has a record demonstrating that it is not all that bright on thinking and delivery. So the towns decay under the perverse monster that feeds government coffers whilst destroying the communities around them.

"19 October, 2011 3:25PM AEST, Residents call for help on Moranbah rental crisis, By Kim Kleidon

Fifty-three new rental properties will be built in Moranbah under the National Rental Affordability Scheme - but with families paying upwards of $1500 a week for a three bedroom home, will it be enough? 3 In September 2008 the CFMEU predicted severe shortages of affordable housing in Queensland mining towns would "spread like cancer" to other regional centres, unless the State Government stepped in to address land availability and the cost of housing. Three years on and Moranbah's rental crisis continues to worsen as mining expands at an exponential rate, driving up demand for housing, and the cost of a roof over your head. Some Moranbah residents pay more than $1,500 a week to rent a simple three-bedroom home - and when it comes time to renew the lease, that amount might double." (Source of extract: ABC Australia Tropical North)

The state and federal governments will tell us that something is being done. However the federal government rushes forward with the muscle wrenching speed of a tortoise, as everyone evaluates the risks. There must be an enquiry and evidence based naval gazing under Julia Gillard's model of governance. The state labor party just got routed, it is hoped that the incoming LNP government, under Premier Campbell Newman will send one of his eighty plus parliamentary members to rush, to assist Moranbah.

As for labor's record of commitment to the people from whose troughs it sups?

"Labor's Jack O'Brien likely to finish second in Gregory electorate - he's never visited it,

A STUDENT living 1000km away from a seat he has never visited has won more than 2000 votes, raising the question of how important is it for voters to know their candidate. University student Jack O'Brien, dubbed "Outback Jack", was Queensland Labor's candidate for the safe Liberal National Party (LNP) seat of Gregory in western Queensland. Mr O'Brien lives in suburban Brisbane. He confessed to never having visited the seat, not even during the campaign period, because of university commitments. Labor defended his candidacy as giving voters an opportunity to vote for the party." (source of extract: 26 March, 2012, News.com.au) ("The Australian Mining Boom Ripping the Fabric of Regional Australia", Kevin Beck, Melbourne 2012)



AUSTRALIA NEEDS POLITICAL, GOVERNMENT AND BUREAUCRACY REFORMS


Every day, in the media, we read that major business leaders are calling for productivity improvements and policy reforms across the same sectors. Yet hardly any commentary focuses on the poor performance and productivity of our governments and bureaucracies following the days of Hawke and Keating. Mediocrity has gripped the nation's wheel house. Australia's full potential is stymied by a lack of innovative future planning and adherence to traditional policies and outdated, inculcated thinking. We have major infrastructure bottlenecks that stop us from taking advantage of the boom times and the talent of our nation. Local governments, and their patronising state governments, are bloated and over paid. A local government CEO can earn almost as much as the Prime Minister or a Minister of government or a major corporation. They are focused on short term, parochial interests and are managed by the very average in their communities. The Australian Capital Territory legislature is nothing more than an overpaid local government entity, with a bureaucracy rivalling Australia's largest corporations, yet it carries on as if it is a body of substance and modern government practice. The same people are recycled across our local, state, territory and federal governments arenas, every election period and the same stifling theories and policies contribute to a myriad of problems. Risk averse, self interested politics, and maintenance of the status quo, has resulted in sectors of Australia being denied the opportunities to achieve what it might have otherwise achieved within our institutions, communities, society and economy.

A LACK OF INFRASTRUCTURE

This hardly needs explanation. State, and federal governments, have become slaves to the market's demands for a surplus. Thus the state and federal Treasury has captured the political agenda. The modern labor and liberal political leader babbles the mantra by rote and in doing so ensures that productivity is second to their political interests of remaining in office. The ordinary citizen believes the diatribe that the party in government is squandering the electorates money. Every election there is a black hole that mysteriously can only be seen by the incoming government. Through tricks of policy magic and accounting, fear mongering and the sword of slash and burn, they save the day. The cycle of misrepresentation, smoke and mirrors continues on.

HOUSING SHORTAGE AND AFFORDABILITY

This vital sector of the nation's social fabric and economy is totally manipulated. The shortage and high prices are maintained through a mix of deliberate action by vested interests and extraordinarily short sighted policy and action by local and state governments. The wealth of people is measured by the value of their homes and properties. Cheap money, and greed, has resulted in the politically unacceptable proposition of having to lower the value of the existing housing base, in terms of the wealth factor, and in some cases this will cause extensive defaults, mortgage stress and pain. Greed is across the spectrum. Local government planning, state government ineptitude in politics and bureaucracy has brought us here and continues to maintain a status quo that simply cannot exist forever. Low interest rates are required for political comfort. Thus we see the hysterical blather from the likes of Australia's Federal Treasurer when banks do not pass on the Reserve Bank lower rates. Informed people know that the Reserve Bank has little impact on housing mortgage affordability and rates but the politicians engage in lies and misrepresentation never the less. Australia's politicians need an ignorant gullible electorate to ensure their political interests and survival. LOUSY HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT AND PARASITIC BEHAVIOURS

Here vested interests collide in a gung ho mentality of one upmanship, brinkmanship and maintenance of the status quo. Every election period we get a new industrial relations scenario. The nature of the adversarial system of politics seeps into and corrodes the operation of every other part of our society and economy. The situation is exacerbated by the intertwining of union and politics - Australian Council of Trade Unions, Unions, The Australian labor party - the intertwining of liberal politics and business. Factions abound across all sectors and these factions maintain their individual systems of power and influence. Within this mix we find the mediocre working the factions. The parasites who live off the sweat and efforts of others. The influence of trade unions on labor is blasted, in return the warriors return fire against the corporate interests. The Greens and independents add to the degradation of possibility and talent. Being tough is the order of the day. Who can shout the loudest and cause the most mayhem and disruption. Fear and loathing is exploited in what too often is a pantomime of theatrics. The simple proposition is that Australia's employers (government and business) and the worker representatives (the unions and associations) are overall very poor at people management and talent harnessing.

DOING BUSINESS WITH GOVERNMENTS AND BUREAUCRACIES

Those who engage with governments every day know the dangers and pitfalls here, the time and the frustrations. It is difficult to propose anything beyond their policy frame and ideology. This is not a country where the government's and bureaucracies embrace and support "left of field" ideas. All to often risk aversion stymies ideas and innovation.

State and federal politicians, and their portfolio bureaucracies, waste hundreds of millions of dollars per year on maladministration and bureaucratic rubbish. Poorly crafted tenders, full of verbal diarrhea and risk avoidance, shifting accountability, IP transfer and commercial extortion. Politicians do not care how much is wasted in pursuit of their own political agenda. Would one sensibly do business with federal agencies like the Department of Environment, the New South Wales and Queensland's bureaucracies and governments given the history of the pink batts and solar programmes? The reality is that many businesses have no choice than to accept the manner in which Australia's governments, and their agencies, do business. What would be in the national interest and that of business would be for them all to say no. However solidarity, and trust, are not their strengths. Thus they bleat behind closed doors, or rush off to a Minister, and complain. The assumption that the politician cares is too often a misconception. Claims of "integrity and probity" put about by public service agencies, and their Ministers, are in many instances nothing more than elaborate window dressing and extremely questionable particularly just before an election as "pork barrelling" of millions even billions occurs.
SUBSIDIES AND PORK BARRELLING

We pay more for our cars, our food and other consumables, utilities, telecommunications and housing than most developed countries on earth. Despite our larger population our cars are dearer than New Zealand. The proposition that retail space in our cities should cost as much as or more than in Tokyo or New York is ludicruous. These costs are a direct outcome of the activities of our local, state and federal governments. Whilst publicly praising the virtues of free trade and market forces governments, at all levels, actively engage in subsidies and market manipulation for their own ends. This may be associated with maintaining employment (as in the car industry), maintaining property and investment prices as outlined previously, maintaining power collectives and sectional interests, the activities of rent seekers and others. Add to this the association interests set out below and we pay the price. THE EXORBITANT COST OF HEALTH IS A DIRECT RESULT OF PROVIDER INTERESTS

If one examines the books of a regional, or city hospital, dividing the costs into major elements one will find that somewhere between a third and a half of the funds will be going directly to the medical, and ancillary, service providers. The doctors are the biggest cost impost in a hospital. Reasonable you probably think until you start to look more closely and deeply. The general population probably thinks that doctors are employees of hospitals. They generally are not. They are taking the lion's share of the health budget and are usually doing it as if they have a right. They act with unfettered greed and avarice.

The bureaucrats take the majority of the balance and the primary health care delivery people, the nurses and hospital support staff make do with a paltry share. The arrogance of many of the medical profession to those hey work with, the nurses, is stultifying and obscene. Australia's politicians are afraid of the Australian Medical Association. The Association through a handful of lobbyists, political and industrial organisers (this is a high brow trade union masquerading as a professional body) with lucrative cash flows from supporting industries such as the drug manufacturers wields absolute control. What other enterprising soul can open a business and be assured of prosperity through "guaranteed cash flow payments" from a tax payer funded, and government owned entity, known as Medicare/Medibank? The major bodies controlling health - the practitioners and the health funds - resist change, control the entrants to the market and the manner of operation of the individuals within the health sector. The Health Funds are raising their prices whilst burying massive levels of fraud by the practitioners. A growing percentage of the annual payments members make for their health cover goes to embedded, acceptable fraud. The Preferred Provider Scheme is a significant market distorter but this is ignored by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

We see the mendacity, and intransigence, of the controllers of the health system every day. Those who work in the health sectors know all too well the veracity of my claims. If they speak out they will lose their jobs. And then there are the public examples which are ignored only to break forth. These we see in the death and mutilation of those who place their trust in the system. How many deaths, maimings and lives destroyed, does it take before anyone acts? Look to Queensland. What galvanise the government most to take action against Queensland Health? A doctor mutilating, and killing patients, or a public servant stealing $A16,000,000 from the Health Department? ("Preferred Providers in Australian Health Insurance Markets", Kevin Beck




Australia's Carbon Tax ... click




Going going gone, was the headline in one of the Australian political web site owned by Kevin R Beck. It referred to Mr. Kevin Rudd. It was posted fourteen days before the coup that knocked Kevin out of Prime Ministerial office.

In a similar vein I have
published, well before mainstream media, events and predictions of great import. ("The demise of Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister", Kevin Beck



Article: The Corrosion of Australia's Character
by Politics and Business

Article: Restoring Trust After Accountability Failures


PERCEPTIONS OF POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT IN AUSTRALIA
Unless otherwise attributed, the commentary and articles below are authored by Kevin R Beck, Australia


The Australian National University's democratic audit of Australia

"Australia may enjoy a global reputation for integrity in its government, but the public's ability to investigate and expose what corruption does occur is being severely curbed by unnecessary restrictions on access to information. If sunlight is the best disinfectant, then the mantras of privacy, security and trade secrets are being used increasingly inside government across Australia to justify keeping citizens in the dark. Spin-management by political staffers working for government ministers is one of the biggest hindrances to accounting for whatever corruption—including gross mismanagement—is happening. An increasingly politicized public service is learning that the best path to career advancement is to suppress, cover up and lie. As one retired major-general complained publicly this year, "The political staff will support their minister at all costs, including, probably, the cost of truth." (Author: Ross Coulhart)

The federal government has no independent standing "anti-corruption body", choosing instead to rely on such checks as departmental internal investigation sections to assist federal agencies in controlling fraud and corruption. But the lack of an independent and aggressive corruption watchdog has allowed excessive interference by political staff from ministerial offices, who are often far too predisposed to cover up scandals and corruption.

There is a limited form of independent oversight through the Commonwealth Ombudsman's Office," (extract source:
Australia: Corruption Notebook)

Senator Russell Trood a member of Australia's parliament and the governing liberal party is a highly qualified, and respected, internationalist. Give this one may well question why the nation as been saddled with an alternative and less qualified and talented Foreign Minister, in the person of Alexander Downer? The biographies, and publications, of both men's performance and career, seem to speak for themselves. Could it be that Alexander Downer is one of a number of carefully selected, factional politicians, from across the states, who ensure that John Howard remains unchallenged intellectually and politically? (Kevin Beck, "The Control of Australia's Governments By the Elite," Melbourne Australia 2012


POLITICAL TACTICS MASKING HYPOCRISY
- THE DOMINATION OF PERSONAL POLITICAL INTERESTS IN AUSTRALIA'S GOVERNMENTS


What is important to the nation in the long term? The political interests of the political elite and the factions within Australian politics or the quality of Australia's governance, the performance of governments, and parliaments, and the system of representation or dealing with the myriad of crises facing Australian society that require strong government intervention and action against individuals? Watch the activity in the daily press and the micro management of the media by governments.

The complex issues receive short shift in the media, and in what passes as debate in the public arena and in parliaments.

Complex matters and problems (emission trading scheme, national electricity competition model, climate change, privatisation, taxation, aboriginal, child abuse, quality of governments, economy - interest rates and inflation, how political candidates are appointed, require awareness, understanding and complex reasoning and education. The debates, and participation, are cut off, limited, controlled and managed. Simple solutions such as "economy and surplus" are adopted and wonders are achieved in financial accounting terms in the blink of an eye. Meanwhile the nation's infrastructure and long term visionary planning suffers neglect. Billions is wasted on personal political pursuits and objectives. Democracy is stolen by a few who create a facade of open government.



INFORMATION, AND RESOURCES, TO ASSIST YOUR UNDERSTANDING
AND DELIBERATIONS





ARTICLES ON CLIMATE CHANGE, CLEAN COAL, NUCLEAR, WEATHER AND MORE




KEVINRBECK MOSAIC NETWORK: INFORMATION ON CLIMATE CHANGE




HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
AUSTRALIA - CARBON POLLUTION REDUCTION SCHEME GREEN PAPER


Department of Climate Change, Australian Government, The Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Green Paper canvasses options and preferred approaches on issues, such as which industry sectors will be covered and how emission caps will be set. It also includes ways to address the impacts on Australian households, emissions-intensive trade-exposed industries and other strongly affected sectors.
Click Here



HOODWINKING THE PUBLIC ON CLIMATE CHANGE


Received Email: July 22 July 2008: To Kevin R Beck

With the release of the green paper today you will no doubt pursue recalcitrants who back the doom philosophy of that evil element carbon. The reference I gave you this morning presents a better approach to reducing the carbon excesses, viz. Ibbotson's Newcastle Protocol instead of Emissions Trading, if in fact this is what you may want to do.

You will also realise now, (after reading selected parts of Ibbotson), that anthropogenic CO2 is not even significant in global warming, particularly when you put water vapour into the equation. The experts do not want to talk about this because it is uncontrollable, (non-anthropogenic), and there are no easily available government funds to support the academics and scientists in R&D in this field.

To give you a snapshot of the specious nature and uselessness of this whole exercise I suggest you read some of the papers of Gary Novack.
Click Here

The public is really being hoodwinked and the pollies are sure to strut their stuff in their inimitable and puerile fashion. Do your homework and your platform will be technically unassailable.... Keith



Cancers eating democracy



Nicholas Stern made climate an economic issue for the Howard government


Broken systems of government in Australia


For all of their sophisticated use of media spin and psychological techniques the politicians, and their strategists, come across as fundamentally dishonest. Their efforts of manipulation are not as effective as they would believe. If it were not for the collusion of the two political parties and the structure of our voting system including its compulsory aspect the two major parties would find it very difficult to control the manner and operation of our democracy. The senior members of our political parties are aware of this. The people perceive the system is broken but are disengaged, and perhaps, angry yet powerless to doing anything about it. The governments ensure that they present complex and ponderous explanations to deter the ordinary citizen from wanting to look to closely or challenge them. Here is an example from Victoria.

A propensity for self delusion or a lie?

"Open and accountable Government is part of my government's commitment to the people of Victoria. One way we are delivering on this commitment is through the provision of first class online information and services. We believe the best way forward for Victoria is a Government that consults, listens and works together with all Victorians, while providing leadership and decisive action." (extract from the web site of the Victorian government, Premier Steve Bracks).



The Australian Constitution establishes two types of government in Australia, federal and state. Territory government is a creation of the federal government and local government is a creation of the state government. The territory and local governments are not mentioned in the Australian Constitution. The federal government is dominated by the Australian liberal and National Parties, in coalition, and the states are governed by the Australian Labor Party. The most advanced of the major political parties, in terms of holistic strategies and sophisticated assessments and capabilities, including the ability to interact with a wide spectrum, is by far the federal liberal and national parties, with the liberal party being the more sophisticated. The least sophisticated in dealing with a complex world, coalescing interests and the rise of the "individual" as a player in politics are the liberal parties in the states and the labor party politicians, advisers and branches at state level. This may explain the success of the Howard government and it is likely that this is a unique time in Australian government. The Ministers and advisers of the federal government can set aside their grievances and suspicions and to achieve their objectives. The labor party cannot and it is thought to be more inward looking. The stellar performers of the party are forced to stand mute behind the failed lights that rarely shone bright who refuse to leave the stage.

I interact regularly with quite a number of public sector agencies. Over the years I have noted is a discernible decline in the sophistication, and quality, of the federal and state public services. This decline is in the middle management to senior levels. The retirement of career public servants, coupled with the regular, political opportunistic culling has deteriorated corporate knowledge and the skill base. Narrow education and experience has a damaging effect. Many of the current incumbents lack an awareness of the broad framework of "politics and power". Sometimes I think that they believe they can do anything as if they are immune to external pressure and impacts. One particular trait is the failure to honour agreements and to seek to avoid liability and accountability.

There is a plethora of information and research, and commentary, on this proposition within the
Mosaic Portal and its linked resource sites. The public services, unlike many political adviser in Ministries, appear not to see the networks of influence, the risks and their potential exposure in the broader context of modern political life today that can reach into their departments and workplaces. They seem to operate in a vacuum of disengagement. On every occasion that I have met with representatives it appears that they do not do their homework. They narrowly perceive agendas and have no idea as to what the individual is capable of achieving in terms of impacting and influencing public policy and government through the combined use of politics, technology, corporate and human networks. Whilst public servants purport to be a-political, claiming this as a Chinese wall, they operate in a very political internal environment of their own making. They devise systems and measurement processes to protect and justify. This is not to say that the public services, across the nation, does not deliver service, they do. Australia has one of the best operating models, and service provision systems and quality services on earth. In many areas they are innovative and conscientious. Where they do fall down is in their limited, or total lack of, awareness (myopia) of the motivation, interest and capability of the individuals with whom they deal beyond those that may appear obvious because of their status. The public service may not see itself in the same light as a private corporation with consumers of differing influence and capacities.

The owner of this web site, Kevin R Beck, experiences varying degrees of myopia every day. Modern communication technology allows any motivated party to research, learn and reach into the world of politics, government and the bureaucracy using the systems of parliament, government and legislation. These tools, resources and information are provided across the breadth of the Kevin R Beck Mosaic Portal.



DRAWING A LINE IN THE POLITICAL SAND



Watching the commentary on the demise of Kevin Rudd as leader of the labor party in government in Australia I noted the rush, by the commentators, to get on board and offer opinions and rationale. Perhaps one of the most common refrains from the "insider elite" is " no one knew" or "who could tell?" and "no one predicted this". Readers of this web site would know that someone definitely did know, and predict, the outcome. Similarly the economic watchers were caught flat footed on the global financial crisis, again justifying their lack of intuition by being part of the ignorant pack that claimed that it was not possible to predict. They simply did not know. Therefore generally the rest of us would not know. That also is not true. These are the things I do amongst others, assessing, analysing, predicting and implementing.

Politicians, political parties, government agencies, businesses, and corporations, could save a lot of money by reading, and studying, the content of my multiple topic web sites or by simply sounding me out in a conversation.

There is a lot more to
our arsenal of utilities and skills than blogging and commentary on the internet. Soon I will begin to examine Australia, through the eyes and mind, of the Prime Minister Julia Gillard. ("Noting voter sentiment in Australia", Kevin Beck)




Smokey Mirrors the Guru


OUT OF SITE OUT OF MIND


The Deepwater Horizon disaster off the coast of the USA caused headlines around the world, yet the people who live in the Niger Delta have had to live with environmental catastrophes for decades... ...about the Niger Delta disaster.


The day we discovered we had no leaders in the state of Victoria's government nor in the public service
It is not clear to me how the Victorian Police Minister Bob Cameron retains his Ministerial portfolio and why the government lead by John Brumby shows no remorse or shame for its dereliction and in some cases corruption of Victoria's governance. ("A dearth of quality Australian political leaders", Kevin Beck)
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SHORT TERMISM, THE POWER COLLECTIVE, DECLINING ETHICS,
GREED AND INCOMPETENCY CONSUMING AUSTRALIA
The fall from grace of politics, government, public service and business in Australia



Click: Ripping Australia's Consumers


Pandering to the middle and the average, nation building is not a core objective, or strength, of Australia's federal, state or territory governments.



Click: Corroding & Corrupting
Australia's Democracy



Australia's worst natural disaster


AUSTRALIA
Click: Australian governments,
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articles and commentary
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Breaching the separation of powers



Click: Political opportunism
the misery of refugees


Australia: Political, and Government, Performance


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Creating unsettling paradigms


through lateral thinking



CLIMATE CHANGE
Climate Change
Plus Carbon Tax
Go to Australia's Governments
& Public Service Commentary



Failing the brave and virtuous



SOME AUSTRALIAN LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
ARE IGNORANT, RIDICULOUS, EVEN DANGEROUS


August 2011: Along the eastern seaboard of Australia local governments are engaging in what, on the face of it, looks like unjustifiable policies and actions. They are implementing some highly questionable, and ridiculously stupid, state government directives. Directives based on spurious modelled predictions that the sea will rise 1 metre by 2100. The Kevin Rudd - Julia Gillard federal government is warning that a quarter of a million homes will be swallowed by the sea. Julia Gillard, and climate change proponents, occupying political and public office are proving themselves to be seriously fuddle minded and seriously dangerous. Does anyone not wonder why these people are so wedded to making predictions (fifty to a hundred years out) and acting on them? Did everyone lose their common sense overnight or was it a gradual decline in the sanity of politicians and bureaucrats? Is anyone else questioning what is going on in the minds of the people who are directing our lives and future? People's homes and businesses are devalued immediately. Federal Labor, and the Greens, along with their clones in state, territory and local governments, are destroying the nation's wealth.

Meanwhile federal Ministers Joe Ludwig, and Tony Burke, are proving that they are as inept as many of their of their colleagues. Water planning, management theories and action, initiated under another mediocre Minister, Ms. Penny Wong, trundles along as the labor government works assiduously towards the destruction of yet another sector of the economy, regional towns. Joe Ludwig has cost the livestock industry hundreds of millions of dollars. Now through ignorance other sectors of his portfolio languish under his failures stewardship and lack of intellectual fire power. The two senior agricultural ministers have not seemed to notice that the Australian Wool Industry is a pale shadow of its former self, in the glory days of old. It has great potential but not whilst these two are at the helm and not while the bureaucracy has their sway. The wool industry in Australia has been destroyed by political rent seekers, of all persuasions, pursuing their personal agendas. John Howard and his Ministers did nothing about its plight. It is mired in interventionist policies, poor management ground down the dead hand of bureaucracy. Ruined by decades of failed government policy, greed and hubris, it is continuing under another myopic Minister, Joe Ludwig. Does Joe know that the wool industry exists and what a bright, visionary and dedicated, Minister might achieve?

Tasmania, a state of great potential is in the grasp of the cancerous Greens. Scottsdale is a symbol of their cruel insensitivity and plague policies. Yet the Greens are in ascendancy rutting with the Labor Party at state, and federal, level. The Prime Minister, Treasurer and the two aforementioned Ministers have taken no action to assist the people whose lives are destroyed by political incompetence. Scottsdale is a state responsibility and the cowards of the federal castle will always invoke that gutless cant. Better for their political security to concentrate on the nebulous and the reapportioning of the national cake, than to actually engage in creating wealth through perceptive management, skilled administration and vision.

Wayne Swan wants another summit, on tax. He has had the Henry Review, the 2020 and the raft of worthless, and disregarded, studies of the previous Howard, Rudd and Gillard governments. Another summit because that makes someone, struggling with their job appear relevant and engaged. Swan and Gillard like to continually misrepresent the state of the nation pointing to the false claim of an unemployment rate below 5%. They are unable to come up with any inventive way of creating full time, long term highly skilled employment opportunities. They are wedded to the old hoary Labor
low competency skills training model.

On the opposition benches, in federal parliament, Tony Abbott has failed to recreate the vision and policy rigour of the liberal party. He has instead engaged in factional favours over inspired leadership. There is no evidence that Mr Abbott has the capacity to put an emphasis on policy rigour,integrity and thought provocation. The party lays dormant under his leadership. It suits the coterie of slavish parasites eating at the heart of this once great political party. Tony Abbott, man of slogans and picture opportunities.("Local government and Climate Change in Australia" Kevin Beck)



DID WE EVER HAVE A MORE DECEITFUL, AND INEPT FEDERAL GOVERNMENT?


As I look back over the previous federal governments in Australia I find it difficult to find one that is as inept and deceitful as the Gillard labor government.

The campaign for climate change, and the carbon tax regime case, orchestrated by Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard, and her senior advisers, and parliamentary colleagues, is closeted within selected facts, misinterpretations, shaped statistics, falsehoods, spin manipulation and sometimes lies. Ms Gillard is now lost in a maze of political deception and is compounding her situation and that of the government daily. Ms Gillard is of the belief that once she unveils the carbon tax regime, prices, impacts and social security benefits all will be well. The carbon tax will be craftily intertwined with tax reform making it even more complicated for the coalition opposition.

The labor government's continued use of deceptive tactics including crystal ball theoretical reports and visions out to 2020 and 2050 presented as fact (examples of selectivity and visionary claims without citing evidence : 2050 there will be more renewables, 2050 there will be more gas, the current floods and fires are all climate related, the seas will rise a metre and half along the coast line) is a scandal destroying the fabric of good government. Evidence is taken and distorted. The support television commercial featuring Australian artists and celebrities uses closed British power stations, belching out black smoke, not Australian power stations. Facts about
climate change are selectively chosen, and presented. The government's carbon tax plan is presented as something that will impact Australia's carbon emissions and in the long run somehow miraculously altering the course of Australia's climate. Federal Labor, and Ms Gillard, are now pursuing their own ideological interests and not that of the public interest by the manner in which our democracy and parliamentary processes are organised and controlled. Australians will,have no say until 2013. The Australian labor party (as is the case with all political parties) has lost sight of their fundamental obligation, ethics and morality.

The
Greens, as of July 2011 hold the balance of power in the Australian federal parliament. They are an exciting lot, continuously coming up with bizarre and sometimes outlandish concepts such as the end of coal mining by 2050 if not sooner, base load interesting. The Greens add variety and colour and some of their parliamentary members, (like the labor and liberal parties, well what can one say ....

All the while Tony Abbott is repeating his slogans and demanding an election. Poor Tony, in the absence of any real policies and arguments he presumes that this is an illegitimate government. He also presumes he would win an election. ("The Decay of the Australia's Federal Government Integrity", Kevin Beck)


THE THIEVES OF AUSTRALIA'S DEMOCRACY ARE A CANCER

WHAT MISFORTUNE OF FATE, AND COALESCENCE OF EVENTS AND UNFORTUNATE TIMING, COULD SADDLE AUSTRALIA
AT EVERY LEVEL OF GOVERNMENT AND ADMINISTRATION
WITH THE MOST INCOMPETENT, AND MEDIOCRE, MIX OF POLITICIANS, AND SOME SYCOPHANTIC AND INCOMPETENT SENIOR BUREAUCRATS, IN THE NATION'S HISTORY?




Are we, as a nation, so detached and stupid, indolent and uncaring, uneducated and immature, as to the value of our democracy and government, that we would allow this to happen? We need to rid the nation of the incumbents in our governments, the political career class of politician. But how do we do that? The quality of candidate not the best the nation has. The manipulation, corrosion and the corruption of our governance is entrenched. Australia is in the grip of parasites, at every level of government, local, territory, state and federal, who are career party politicians. They have no employment experience outside of the party and/or union machine. Those who are good and competent are slaves to the thugs, and craven leaders of their respective political machines. The time has come to end their control, and the March state election in NSW will demonstrate the loathing the people have for the modern Australian labor party. Let 2011 be a lesson for all political parties.


The Australian Labor Party


March 2011: Labor's record of corruption and corrosion of the system of government by the NSW labor party under the dead hand of career politicians. The products of a system of patronage and nepotism. The stench and impacts will linger for a long time to come. The labor party better hide from the sunlight.

Click image

"Stealing Australia's Democracy", Kevin Beck)




2010: Australia's Proposed Emission Trading Scheme
(Rudd labor government 2007 - 2010)


The Campaign To Stop The Rudd ETS


Climate Change, Carbon and Warming
Minister Wong (again) It's Not Absolutely True


"One of the enduring pillars of the climate change issue is that the temperature of the Earth is increasing at an unprecedented rate … we’ve heard it a million times over the past few decades. However, it is well known that the temperature of the Earth has not increased over the past decade, and the lack of recent warming is now receiving serious consideration in the leading scientific journals." (Source: World Climate Report, February 1, 2010)




What is to come of you, will you handle the Finance portfolio Minister Penny Wong?

Greg Combet The fixer (who made a botch of fixing the solar panel disaster has now taken over climate. And for him the message is the same - Minister it is not true. ("The climate change story in Australia" Kevin Beck





People working in governments in Australia, tend not to listen, usually will not look and too often pretend not to hear anyone who may contradict, or argue with, their beliefs, views, ideologies and fantasies. (Kevin Beck, the Political Dream Time in Australia)


7.30 Report, ABC Australia... click



CARBON PRICING DEBATE IN AUSTRALIA


Click here


ANNA BLIGH - A FUTURE PRIME MINISTER?




Unusual events will separate the real leaders from the "emperors".
Observe Anna Bligh in
Queensland.

Future PM
Is this a future Prime Minister?


NOW IT'S INSURANCE COMPANIES


January 2011: Bill Shorten is a Minister in the Gillard labor government. Like his boss he thinks that insurance companies should be charitable about paying out for the floods in Queensland, Western Australia, Victoria and NSW. The labor government, like all government's before, engages in bank bashing when it suits. Now they bash insurance. The definition of "flood" has been a long debate and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has been sucking its thumb over the definition, and prattling with insurance companies for years about it. No hurry there hey? Then the floods hit and Brisbane disappears under water.

For decades governments have failed to control development and have passed control to councils except where it suits political purpose and they intervene. Thus people and business have built on flood plains, have built along the coast and whole towns have been built where rivers once ran. Concrete has been laid and dams built. The water has had to find new courses and places to go.

"I love a sunburnt country, A land of sweeping plains, Of ragged mountain ranges, Of droughts and flooding rains. .... Core of my heart, my country! Her pitiless blue sky, When sick at heart, around us, We see the cattle die - But then the grey clouds gather, And we can bless again The drumming of an army, The steady, soaking rain. Core of my heart, my country! Land of the Rainbow Gold, For flood and fire and famine," My Country Dorothea Mackellar.

When Premier Anna Bligh said that the government would establish an independent body to determine if towns and houses would be built again, she was howled down. The affected want to rebuild where they are. People do not want to pay for flood insurance preferring the cheaper storm water damage type of policy. Then when denied their claim they bleat and the tax payer is asked to pick up the bill via a levy or to contribute to charitable funds. When will anyone ever learn? ("They said it would never rain again" Kevin Beck)



AUSTRALIAN BUSINESS FUMBLE LOTS


January 2011: Australia's largest retailers followed the poor advice of public relations consultants, spent $A200,000 on an advertising campaign and instead of the objective they wanted (to put pressure on governments) they got themselves in a nasty surprise. They are not well respected by consumers and Australia's state politicians dither and animals suffer horribly at hands of heartless business.... ... read more


AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S
APPALLING ADMINISTRATION AND MANAGEMENT SKILLS


Click here


FOOD, ENERGY, WATER AND STAPLE PRICES WILL RISE DRAMATICALLY
UNDER STATE LABOR STATE GOVERNMENTS AND FEDERAL LABOR PARTY POLICIES
The Australian Labor Government will use regulations and regulators to threaten critics



Click here



PRIME MINISTER GILLARD, AND ATTORNEY MCLELLAND, DAMAGE LABOR GOVERNMENT INTEGRITY


Several weeks back I wrote to a number of senior labor members of Australia's government, including the office of the Prime Minister and Attorney General. I indicated to them that in my considered opinion their public statements regarding Julian Assange, and Wikileaks, would come back to damage their credibility and integrity. It would render their government irreparably harmed and likely to trigger an election in 2011.

On my
Gillard government web site I ask how a government (Rudd and Gillard) can make so many blunders on almost every major action of their time in government? Of course one can never expect a reply to communications that warn, or criticise, from the members of any of Australia's governments because the ethos under which these people operate is "they are the font of all knowledge" and critics are to be dismissed, ridiculed and all too often threatened. Ms Gillard, and her senior Ministers, run a shockingly ethically challenged and grossly inexperienced government and yet despite time after time getting in a mess they blunder stubbornly on. One may offer assistance or guidance many times but it falls on deaf ears. (Kevin R Beck, Melbourne Australia "The Tin Ear" 2010

On December 6, 2010 prominent Australians wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister... I await her considered response and sadly expect it to be as ignorant as her, and the Attorney General's first set of utterances. I note that the leader of the opposition, Tony Abbott, and the conservative side of politics is silent, why is that? Could it be that Tony Abbott is no more of a statesman leader than the incumbents? Our choices of leader of the Australian government, at any one time, are extremely limited.

Dear Prime Minister,

We note with concern the increasingly violent rhetoric directed towards Julian Assange of WikiLeaks.

“We should treat Mr Assange the same way as other high-value terrorist targets: Kill him,” writes conservative columnist Jeffrey T Kuhner in the Washington Times. William Kristol, former chief of staff to vice president Dan Quayle, asks, “Why can’t we use our various assets to harass, snatch or neutralize Julian Assange and his collaborators, wherever they are?” “Why isn’t Julian Assange dead?” writes the prominent US pundit Jonah Goldberg.
“The CIA should have already killed Julian Assange,” says John Hawkins on the Right Wing News site.
Sarah Palin, a likely presidential candidate, compares Assange to an Al Qaeda leader; Rick Santorum, former Pennsylvania senator and potential presidential contender, accuses Assange of “terrorism”.
And so on and so forth.

Such calls cannot be dismissed as bluster. Over the last decade, we have seen the normalisation of extra judicial measures once unthinkable, from ‘extraordinary rendition’ (kidnapping) to ‘enhanced interrogation’ (torture). In that context, we now have grave concerns for Mr Assange’s wellbeing. Irrespective of the political controversies surrounding WikiLeaks, Mr Assange remains entitled to conduct his affairs in safety, and to receive procedural fairness in any legal proceedings against him. As is well known, Mr Assange is an Australian citizen.

We therefore call upon you to condemn, on behalf of the Australian Government, calls for physical harm to be inflicted upon Mr Assange, and to state publicly that you will ensure Mr Assange receives the rights and protections to which he is entitled, irrespective of whether the unlawful threats against him come from individuals or states. We urge you to confirm publicly Australia's commitment to freedom of political communication; to refrain from cancelling Mr Assange's passport, in the absence of clear proof that such a step is warranted; to provide assistance and advocacy to Mr Assange; and do everything in your power to ensure that any legal proceedings taken against him comply fully with the principles of law and procedural fairness. A statement by you to this effect should not be controversial it is a simple commitment to democratic principles and the rule of law. We believe this case represents something of a watershed, with implications that extend beyond Mr Assange and WikiLeaks. In many parts of the globe, death threats routinely silence those who would publish or disseminate controversial material. If these incitements to violence against Mr Assange, a recipient of Amnesty International’s Media Award, are allowed to stand, a disturbing new precedent will have been established in the English-speaking world. In this crucial time, a strong statement by you and your Government can make an important difference.

We look forward to your response.

Dr Jeff Sparrow, author and editor
Lizzie O’Shea, Social Justice Lawyer, Maurice Blackburn
Professor Noam Chomsky, writer and academic
Antony Loewenstein, journalist and author
Mungo MacCallum, journalist and writer
Professor Peter Singer, author and academic
Adam Bandt, MP
Senator Bob gold
Senator Scott Ludlam
Julian Burnside QC, barrister
Jeff Lawrence, Secretary, Australian Council of Trade Unions
Professor Raimond Gaita, author and academic
Rob Stary, lawyer
Lieutenant Colonel (ret) Lance Collins, Australian Intelligence Corps, writer
The Hon Alastair Nicholson AO RFD QC
Brian Walters SC, barrister
Professor Larissa Behrendt, academic
Emeritus Professor Stuart Rees, academic, Sydney Peace Foundation
Mary Kostakidis, Chair, Sydney Peace Foundation
Professor Wendy Bacon, journalist
Christos Tsiolkas, author
James Bradley, author and journalist
Julian Morrow, comedian and television producer
Louise Swinn, publisher
Helen Garner, novelist
Professor Dennis Altman, writer and academic
Dr Leslie Cannold, author, ethicist, commentator
John Birmingham, writer
Guy Rundle, writer
Alex Miller, writer
Sophie Cunningham, editor and author
Castan Centre for Human Rights Law
Professor Judith Brett, author and academic Stephen Keim SC, President of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights
Phil Lynch, Executive Director, Human Rights Law Resource Centre
Sylvia Hale, MLC
Sophie Black, editor
David Ritter, lawyer and historian
Dr Scott Burchill, writer and academic
Dr Mark Davis, author and academic
Henry Rosenbloom, publisher
Ben Naparstek, editor
Chris Feik, editor
Louise Swinn, publisher
Stephen Warne, barrister
Dr John Dwyer QC
Hilary McPhee, writer, publisher
Joan Dwyer OAM
Greg Barns, barrister
James Button, journalist
Owen Richardson, critic
Michelle Griffin, editor
John Timlin, literary Agent & producer
Ann Cunningham, lawyer and publisher
Alison Croggon, author, critic
Daniel Keene, playwright
Dr Nick Shimmin, editor/writer
Bill O'Shea, lawyer, former President, Law Institute of Victoria
Dianne Otto, Professor of Law, Melbourne Law School
Professor Frank Hutchinson,Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS), University of Sydney
Anthony Georgeff, editor
Max Gillies, actor
Shane Maloney, writer
Louis Armand, author and publisher
Jenna Price, academic and journalist
Tanja Kovac, National Cooordinator EMILY's List Australia
Dr Russell Grigg, academic
Dr Justin Clemens, writer and academic
Susan Morairty, Lawyer
David Hirsch, Barrister
Cr Anne O’Shea
Kathryn Crosby, Candidates Online
Dr Robert Sparrow, academic
Jennifer Mills, author
Foong Ling Kong, editor
Tim Norton, Online Campaigns Co-ordinator, Oxfam Australia
Elisabeth Wynhausen, writer
Ben Slade, Lawyer
Nikki Anderson, publisher
Dan Cass
Professor Diane Bell, author and academic
Dr Philipa Rothfield, academic
Gary Cazalet, academic
Dr David Coady, academic
Dr Matthew Sharpe, writer and academic
Dr Tamas Pataki, writer and academic
Miska Mandic
Associate Professor Jake Lynch, academic
Professor Simon During, academic
Michael Brull, writer
Dr Geoff Boucher, academic
Jacinda Woodhead, writer and editor
Dr Rjurik Davidson, writer and editor
Mic Looby, writer
Jane Gleeson-White, writer and editor
Alex Skutenko, editor
Associate Professor John Collins, academic
Professor Philip Pettit, academic
Dr Christopher Scanlon, writer and academic
Dr Lawrie Zion, journalist
Johannes Jakob, editor Sunili Govinnage, lawyer Michael Bates, lawyer
Bridget Maidment, editor
Bryce Ives, theatre director
Sarah Darmody, writer
Jill Sparrow, writer
Lyn Bender, psychologist
Meredith Rose, editor
Dr Ellie Rennie, President, Engage Media
Ryan Paine, editor
Simon Cooper, editor
Chris Haan, lawyer
Carmela Baranowska, journalist.
Clinton Ellicott, publisher
Dr Charles Richardson, writer and academic
Phillip Frazer, publisher
Geoff Lemon, journalist
Jaya Savige, poet and editor
Johannes Jakob, editor
Kate Bree Geyer; journalist
Chay-Ya Clancy, performer
Lisa Greenaway, editor, writer
Chris Kennett - screenwriter, journalist
Kasey Edwards, author
Dr. Janine Little, academic
Dr Andrew Milner, writer and academic
Patricia Cornelius, writer
Elisa Berg, publisher
Lily Keil, editor
Jenny Sinclair
Roselina Rose
Stephen Luntz
PM Newton
Bryan Cooke
Kristen Obaid
Ryan Haldane-Underwood
Patrick Gardner
Robert Sinnerbrink
Kathryn Millist
Anne Coombs
Karen Pickering
Sarah Mizrahi
Suzanne Ingleton
Jessica Crouch
Michael Ingleton
Matt Griffin
Jane Allen
Tom Curtis
John Connell
David Garland
Stuart Hall
Meredith Tucker-Evans
Phil Perkins
Alexandra Adsett
Tom Doig, editor
Beth Jackson
Peter Mattessi
Robert Sinnerbrink
Greg Black
Paul Ashton
Sigi Jottkandt
Kym Connell, lawyer
Silma Ihram
Nicole Papaleo, lawyer
Melissa Forbes
Matthew Ryan
Ben Gook
Daniel East
Bridget Ikin
Lisa O'Connell
Melissa Cranenburgh
John Bryson
Michael Farrell
Melissa Reeves
Dr Emma Cox
Michael Green
Margherita Tracanelli
David Carlin, writer
Bridget McDonnell
Geoff Page, writer
Rebecca Interdonato
Roxane Ludbrook-Ingleton
Stefan Caramia
Ash Plummer



NUMBING POLITICS IN AUSTRALIA


TONY ABBOTT AND JULIA GILLARD WERE NOT WANTED BY THE ELECTORATE (2010)


Tony Abbott muses that if the party had preselected candidates in NSW sooner, the outcome might have been different. He seems oblivious to the simple proposition that he was not the first choice to be Prime Minister and nor was Julia Gillard. The only reason that labor, and liberal, are sharing the spoils is the two party preferred preferential voting system and the laziness of the electorate to take an interest in how their parliament is made up. They slavishly vote as quickly as possible, they are donkeys. Over a million did not vote at all.

Neither party is deemed, by those who take an interest, to have any capacity for policy formulation or innovation. Those who spend a lot of their time trying to do business with governments know too well that there is a vacuum in the nation and that the politicians occupying senior roles, and their advisers, are largely ignorant of anything beyond their sphere of interest and awareness. Politics has killed the soul of the public service and they are denuded of the resources to challenge the apparatchiks who govern them.

Julia Gillard said just before the 2010 federal election that there would be no carbon tax, in this term, now she wants to work on getting one in. Why? Maybe Ms Gillard, and her poorly equipped advisers, are scrambling over Marius Kloppers (BHP) criticism. There is a proven inability, within the senior strategy sections of the labour government, to see ahead. They left education, indigenous affairs and other core elements, of policy management, out of the new Ministerial structure and then had to do a retro fit. The basic principles of good planing are alien to them. They turn to no ones else for ideas and thoughts condemning the nation to their mediocrity. Their egos, and self perceptions as to their abilities, seem to know no bounds.

According to the Greens we are killing our planet, business is the enemy and we should move to sustainable little garden plots, living in old growth tree houses with sack cloth, never turning on a light, never gambling, never drinking and all the while cuddling koalas listening to the whoosh of windmills in an endless sunshine. In the world of the do gooders there are people born whose task is to look after every aspect of our lives since we are incapable of self determination.

Australia is going along, in the mind numbing suburbs, oblivious to the productivity problems, the lack of infrastructure, poor tax policies and general lack of coherent government at state and federal levels. The Reserve Bank is worried about productivity and bottlenecks and the over reliance on China and India. The Business Council calls Ms Gillard's, and Mr Abbott's, rhetoric on population, and infrastructure, superficial posturing. According to Mr. Abbott, and the liberal camp, we can never afford to build anything. Tony Abbott has one single jingoism that has apparently embedded itself in his larynx - "No knew big taxes." That is the sum of his policy ideas and his debating response? He has no idea what a broadband is but he opposes it nonetheless. Tony's problem may be that he is a statistics man, at least he was when he was a Minister in the Howard government. He loved, and demanded, charts and statistics, particularly ones that could be massaged to present whatever he thought reality might be. Now he has no stats and is void of the foundations for thought, and argument, shaping and presentation. He may not yet have accepted that he is not the government. He may think that a good tactic is to simply make it hard enough and cause the government to fall sending us back to the polls and he may think that he will win. He is probably supported in this fallacious assumption by many others.

The labor government's tax summit is being manipulated by a mediocre political agenda and a "moderate" Treasurer, Wayne Swan. There is no will for reform as both parties focus on their own political power interests. Gillard's sustainable population is viewed by those who can actually see beyond the front door of their offices, a wider world of possibility, as a dangerous policy stifling Australia's growth. Gillard, like here advisers, is impervious to alternative logic and coherent arguments. They prefer "gut instinct" and political focus group voodoo theories.

There is a malaise, if not a cancer, gripping every sector of our federal government and public service. The public servants labour under the dead hand of a Prime Minister who seems unable to articulate a vision other than a sustainable Australia. A Prime Minister who cannot conceive reform because she has not demonstrated that she knows what reform actually is. Tony Abbott offers no scintillating alternative. A new school curricula? A new school building, a carbon tax, are they the extent of her reform agenda? The public service labours under the dead hand of leadership, or lack of it, where Secretaries blithely, or meekly accept the designated "political servant" roles. They have an inflated view of their position and deign to meet, and mingle, only with those of equal, or superior, status positions. The public service labours under the idiosyncrasies of some Ministers, who are novices learning on the job. They labour under the dead weight of parasitic advisers, and party hacks, within a vacuum of policy development and innovation.

When one meets with the bureaucrats they produce endless numbers of white papers to demonstrate that they have been doing things. When one questions issues like national security, fraud of public funds and hidden theft in the health insurance and payments sectors they produce white papers and frameworks. These are the currencies of our senior bureaucrats, and the fruits of the modern government.

The same old hoary policies, and actions are trotted, out year after year by the political parties. In South Australia, Treasurer Foley continues the modus openadi of cutting costs and the public service. One may ask how is it that the public service has grown under the labor government to such an extent that Foley would now claim credit, and brilliant policy, for wanting to cut it? Never mind the logic because these people are immune to the notion that they are the creators of the situations from which they will periodically save us. Foley trots out motherhood drivel: "The public sector will be more responsive, more efficient, more focused, better quality if the conditions that apply to companies in the privates sector are consistent with what we have in the public sector." When was it that he and the Premier and government captured this enlightened proposition? In Western Australia industry and the community are going to suffer massive gas shortages and price hikes. Whose fault is this? It is obvious. it is the labor and liberal party, that have failed to plan and invest and promote development beyond digging the ground up. They now posture on local gas prices versus world parity because they know that they are going to get a belting when the proverbial hits the fan.

In Victoria Bracks has built a white elephant desalination plant, because the Department of Sustainable development convinced him it would never rain again. The people of the state must pay if it is not used and it is environmentally nasty. The Grand Prix Corporation lost megamillions again ($50 million) but the spin merchants of government still lie about the benefits. Ballieu is annoyed because the public service reports all came out at once. That is his biggest worry and his rant to become Premier next November.

The nation drifts along in a mist behind a shadowy curtain - weaved by China and India, believing that two commodities iron ore and coal, with some other mining bits and pieces, are the panacea. China, and India, are our economic opiates. We have little if any investment in financial and other services, hardly any manufacturing and our physical man made tourism assets are dated, unattractive and worn out. State and federal governments will give tens of millions of dollars to the automobile manufacturing industry and tax relief, land and other subsidies to mining ventures that employ limited numbers of people. Yet they ignore tourism projects and refusing similar incentives, preferring to defer to tired, and sometimes quite idiotic tourism advertising campaigns like "where the bloody hell are you." Initiatives of short termism. The promoters of tourism destinations like the big banana, and the big pineapple, and the "dog sat on the tucker box" for the regional attraction, believing that Australia should mimmick American tacky. There are
pockets of excellence in Australia, driven by entrepreneurs, and local government, of visionary capacities, but not driven by state or federal support and vision. They work to prosper in spite of government and bureaucracy.

Australia needs a co-ordinated, national and local, comprehensive detailed, long term tourism strategy backed up with solid economic support policies and actions similar to the vehicle and mining sectors. We need broad research and development, not commercially focused but also
pure quality research. Something more than the CSIRO flagships that at government directive, presume everything shall be commercialised for the benefit of industry. We also need a well resourced technical, and higher, education policy set. Melding with a life long learning promotion policy that works to imbue a love of learning and ongoing education in Australians. These needs are as vital as climate change, but maybe more so. Unfortunately they are not as romantic, and politically attractive as simple "economic management and surpluses", from which apparently all things flow.

What have we got instead? A casserole of whatever fits into a three year timeframe and an ever changing set of new Ministries and associated bureaucracy, designed to reward the politically faithful, all fourty plus of them.

We also need to curb the ever growing bull shit .... many aspects of our politics, economy and business have fallen to the notion that ethics is a whatever we believe it to be, or feel is right. The notion that it is okay to spin the story, manipulate perception, frame the truth as we like, masquerade behind falsehoods and boostering, hyperbole and over statement. It is a modern trait, embedded into modern Australian society, that it is okay to overstate, misrepresent and to lie. We can, according to the advertising, now buy luxury for $A20.00, we are captive to slogans designed to fill our craving to buy things. Our stores are full of Chinese junk and feckless, self indulgent objects. The endless trail of the "next best, must have technology". Television once showed pictures now it shows an ever ending cavalcade of life's fulfilling experiences in 3D living plasma.

Soon the
>bubbles will start to burst >and the most significant pop will be the Australian housing bubble. With that will tumble retail and the rest. This is not something that Wayne and the rest of the government want to tell us or have us dwell on. Instead we must be fed a glass half full, a tonic for our senses. To be comfortable in our fantasy that the government knows best.


September 1, 2010: Ms. GILLARD'S SIN IS THAT SHE DOES NOT KNOW WHEN TO ADMIT SHE IS WRONG
AND HER LIMITATION IS SHE IS A CONVENTIONAL POLITICIAN AND THINKER.
BUT SHE WILL BE PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA IN 2010 - 2012.

DO THE COUNTRY A FAVOUR MR. ABBOTT GO AWAY.


Julia Gillard kept up a pretence for months, that her Building the Education Revolution, was a stunning success. She did this long past the time when her fiction and fantasies collided with truth. Like her colleagues, particularly Kevin Rudd, she did not see the signs and did not understand that events were being orchestrated beyond hers, and their control. Even today Ms Gillard and the senior strategists and politicians of the federal labor party are oblivious to how it was orchestrated. The greater number of people, in Australia and the world in fact, have limited lateral thinking capabilities. Something like 2% or less of any population are lateral thinkers. This means that the rest are conventional in the majority. They cannot comprehend complex, multifaceted causes and effects. So taking this to the political sphere it is assumed that all the political players are known or identifiable. So the media look at the obvious, the political parties, the unions, business and so on. This is the same way that most senior executives and people paid to create strategy look at the world.

New interest groups appear such as GET UP and they attract a modicum of attention. They too operate in conventional ways. Under conventional thinking the status quo is maintained. It is only when events create a conundrum like a hung parliament that we see the non conventional rise to the fore - in this case the independents. We can dismiss the Greens because they will be the instrument of their own demise much like the Democrats in Australia. They have no idea how to use power and influence. They have no idea of reality beyond their own limited vision and sense. If you listen to a Green member of parliament they speak of philosophy, of distractions and dreams, theories and notions of lore, and ideology, without the foundation of reality. They are the doomsday mantra groupies. The spoilers, and do gooders, that eventually the bulk of voters do not want to be with. They are shackled by their own idiosyncrasies and zeal.

Tony Abbott is in charge of the opposition federal liberal party, and by his side is Joe Hockey and Andrew Robb, Tony Smith and Julie Bishop. These people are not quality representatives they are worse than the Greens because they try to represent themselves as something else than they are. They are rat bags. Devoid when it comes to the challenge. look at their negotiation and strategies when it all goes to crap. They have no idea what to do. Such politicians wear the garb of convention, the business suit, they use the language of the "non speak" a meaningless jargon and thirty minute quick and glib line. They talk down to many people assuming that there are a lot of gullible, stupid and unaware types. They present that what they are telling us is not spin. And nor is it. It is lies and calculated, manipulative pretence. These modern politicians are the slugs that infest, slime and degrade our parliamentary processes. They are not only federal, they are state and territory politicians. When caught out they repeat their ignorance, providing fatuous arguments excuses. Ms Gillard's sin was she tried and made a botch of it. Mr. Abbott's sin is that he is probably too scared to try anything risky, play to the populist fear is his style. Thus will never botch it. He drones that under his leadership the economy will always be better. The government surplus will be bigger. Yes maybe it will, but we will all live a boring, aimless and shitfull existence, under the dead hand of convention, and mediocrity. Mr. Abbott's liberal party is a construct of a warped personality willing to do anything to win, bordering on a lack of ethical foundation and a bunch of missing moral compasses. When he says that he will stop the boats it is a statement without foundation. Is this harsh? Only an idiot would think so. Is he an idiot? No, thus it can be reasonably claimed he is may misrepresent in that regard. So what else does he misrepresent? The electorate has come to believe that all politicians lie for one purpose or another, if not then at the very least they are evasive.


NUMBING POLITICS IN AUSTRALIA


THE TWO MAJOR AUSTRALIAN POLITICAL PARTIES STILL DON'T GET IT


Below I foretold the demise of Kevin Rudd and also referred to the methodology used to predict electorate voting patterns. Now we have a hung federal parliament with power resting in the hands of a few independents. Time and time again I have written to various members of the labor and liberal parties commenting on strategy, policy and the likely outcomes if they continued with their current modus operandi. They never listen. This is not surprising, after all who am I? A single no body who does not work in politics, in a party or in a polling company. I am not in the media and have no credentials to speak of. So what if I do predict things? Either by guesswork, analysis and assessment or use a crystal ball. How is that of interest to those who are experts and whose job it is to advise and plan. To listen to or involve others would alter the status quo of power, influence and self interest even survival, within the closeted world of the political party and the parliamentary office.

But what if it went beyond prediction to actual
orchestration What if the blending of technology, human networks. Networks that traversed work where economy, jobs and career opportunities are provided? Networks of social and other interests. All of which are intrinsic within the design, and motivation, of the Mosaic Portal. What if such a set of strategies were actually reaching hundreds in an electorate, thousands in a state and millions in a nation or the world, and the interaction was a deliberate complex strategy that had been put in place years ago? What then? Is this just a glitch in the dominance of Australian politics and government by the duopoly or is it something more compelling, altering the nature of governments and the operations of parliaments in Australia? (Kevin R Beck, Melbourne, Australia)



tell KEVINRBECK Tell me about your members of local government and parliaments, gripes and concerns of your workplace, community and tell me about the behaviour of political and public officials. Your local campaigns gossip, interests, activism, your job, schools, hospitals, in fact anything in your community.


"If the consent of the governed is extorted through the manipulation of mass fears, or is embezzled with claims of divine guidance, democracy is impoverished. If the suspension of reason causes a significant proportion of the citizenry to lose confidence in the integrity of the process, democracy can be bankrupted." (Al Gore, "The Assault On Reason", Bloomsbury, 2007)

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PUBLIC VERSUS POLITICAL INTEREST - PUBLIC POLICY IN AUSTRALIA


Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott, is that the best we can hope for, for years to come?


Australia needs a new political party with a membership of diverse and innovative thinkers. One that operate at federal and state levels. One that can take the country forward to new heights and not back and forwards between hackneyed, insular policies and actions that are merely recycled by career politicians waiting on the merry go round for their turn. A party that is not inbred, and one that is not incestuous. I predict that in 2010 the decline of respect for Australia's two political parties (labor and liberal) will be extensive and spread quickly. The electorate has many sources of information and alternative opinions. They are tired of self serving egos and petty little men who think that they have all of the answers. Rudd and Abbott will learn the disdain the electorate has for them.

The first term of Kevin Rudd will be marred by the lack of ability of the Prime Minister who may not know his limitations. I do not think that he and his team are the smartest guys in the room. (Kevin R Beck, Melbourne, Australia)
Australia's Enron, Enron was a US based company that lead the market and was praised by all in sundry. It spectacularly fell, its history chronicled in a book, with a subtitle, the smartest guys in the room. Kevin Rudd and his people are not the smartest guys in the room, but who are?


Australia has an aging population. At least 40% of the nation's voters are in their fifties, yet you could not tell this when you look at the policies of governments, corporate advertising and the behaviour of decision makers. It is as if they think the people with money are the teens and the youth of the nation. Government, employers, sellers of good and services, commercial FM and digital media, are focused on the twenty to thirty age brackets. The focus is on an under educated, inexperienced and self absorbed lot whose ability to think deeply about anything is watching commercial news, Big Brother and Australia's Biggest Loser.


Australia is being consumed by its own stupidity and an unethical power collective. It is a rudderless country with poor, and corrupt, political and corporate senior people who lack the personal characteristics for inspiring, and ethical, leadership.

The liberal Treasurer, Peter Costello, once commented on the shortage of skills in Australia due to the myopic tradition of getting rid of workers who turned fifty, suggested that we "should now work till we dropped".

Poor
human resource management and employment practices, and even poorer public policy, developed and implemented by a short term focused, semi - literate, political duopoly (labor and liberal) brought us here. This is the quality of analysis, and commentary, from the person who aspires to be Prime Minister and whose stewardship of the Australian economy has created barriers to wealth creation and innovation through poor policy. Short term goals, and consumer riches, is the mantra of the Howard - Costello partnership. The Prime Minister said that older Australians might have to find other types of work and work and be managed by someone in their thirties. Over the years I have had a stint of being managed by wet behind the ears, thick, people of this vintage. Their experience, ability to think and to understand the world in which they are operating is limited to the concept that operate in a free - unfettered market place. In one organisation the Directors did not read newspapers, or educate themselves about the nation or the world. They generalised about their market sector and created organisational strategies, and actioned them, based on perceptions that had no research or factual base. They were adamant that the Australian economy, and workplace hiring practices, would move to large scale temporary employment. In their minds Australian employers would have a workforce, of the future (2006 and beyond) of contractors supplied by third parties. They would supply such workers. Based on their assumptions they hired, and sacked people, with regular monotony forever chasing their elusive objective. This switch to temporary would, according to them take place in the first quarter of 2006. Turnover of staff in the first half of 2006 is 85%. They often remarked to me that there was little work ethic in people today. They told staff that the new Work Choices Act of the federal government allowed them to sack them without the need to give a reason. I found most of their behaviour, propositions, comments, and their observations, about people who worked for them, to be an irony. There were no mirrors in the company. They were somewhat ignorant in general, the epitome of the proposition that Australian expertise, in management and generally, is "dumbing down". They are not alone in the Australian landscape and are the norm rather than the exception. They mirror Australia's public policy makers in many respects.

The Australian Labor party has a bare policy cupboard and the leadership is as narrowly focused as their liberal and national counterparts. Yet many of these people are in, or approaching, their fifth decade in life.
Tell them where to stick their mendacious vocabulary and absurdity.

The vocabulary of politics (politicians) and corporations (executives) is designed to camouflage information, hide intent and alter perception of performance. It is interesting how "managerial speak" travels the world and we are confronted with the language of babble and sophistry borrowed as if it were a disease. The jargon of politics, and business, is laced with mendacity. They claim "core values" but when the pressure is on they demonstrate in droves that these values are non existent. Their values are different to civilised and honourable people. Their values are the values of personal survival at any cost. The government or the corporation over the individual/s. They have game plans as if life and employment, career and for some, simply existing, are some form of sport to be played on a field called "Australian economy". The economic commentators, and the money market gamesters, are like gamblers in the casino. They add no value but rather are destructive, through betting the price. Bet a dollar or bet a million the effect is the same. It adds no extra value to the society in terms of shared income or profit. They love "lean and mean". They punish anyone who does not play their game. Their punishment can be career, and soul, destroying, yet they are not charged, and prosecuted, as the criminals many of them are. They do not have to be accountable. Governments emulate lean and mean. Spin manufactures our consent to accepting that failures of our governments, the politicians there in, the bureaucracy and the bureaucrats there in, the failure of boards and corporations and the performance of people there in are packaged as challenges, and opportunities, to be faced. Not by them, by others who wear the outcome. They can reinvent themselves much as a snake that sheds it skin, a grub can apparently become a butterfly and an incompetent can go from one position to another as if the history is erased.

These people are not prepared to exchange information but rather to demand that we interact on their terms yet they will all call us "clients" and "customers". High sounding words of hollow core, claims without merit or proof, "compromise". These people are debasing our ability to think and treating us as commodities, the collateral of the small mind and the "30 second" media grab. When you add government policies such as Work Choices the environments these people create and operate become horrible places to work for they value very little, least of all the people.


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What party should some federal labor members be in?


The Australian media loves a good political scrap and reports it in great detail. So when one factional group within the two major parties, decides to cull another factional group, the media rushes to the circus ring for the best seats. The Australian Labor Party began a scrap in 2006 and it escalated with sitting parliamentary members being ousted from standing for labor at the forthcoming state and federal elections.

None of Australia's political parties are actually representative of the nation. The bulk of representation is white, European. This is because the system breaks everything down to a two party preferred voting outcome. Participation in Australia's government and politics is micro - managed (controlled) by a handful of liberal and labor party members working in concert with the national party. This is a highly dangerous and corrosive management and Australian democracy is diminished under this methodology and system. Australia's politicians are one of the greatest threats to the national interest by limiting our political freedoms, choices and participation. Successive Australian governments have progressively weakened our institutions. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation Board is now an unbalanced membership which is unrepresentative of the national community. It is the "monkey of the organ grinder." Higher education is being commodified and placed under the rule of the market by a less than subtle process of globalisation and manipulated funding rules and systems. The Australian liberal party, once the broad church is now the political anti - church. The Australian Labor Party of old is now no more.

The electorate has been brain washed to think it knows what the liberal party, under John Howard, is all about. It is often described as the party of "business". Some claim that it is now the party of the battlers. Apparently it is a "broad church" to others. We know it contains, among other things, the ethically challenged, the mean and tricky and the seriously rich and greedy. We know that it is changing laws to control both houses of parliament and the ability of members to represent their electorates. We know its is changing the laws of political donations to hide the cronies who buy influence and decision. We know it is a corrupted entity.

Then again labor around Australia has a lot of these types and it is also corrupted. The electorate thinks it knows the greens and some voters like aspects of their policies. However the radical nature of the Greens and their inability to articulate and negotiate ensures that they are next to useless in giving a balance to Australia's democracy.

A great number of voters seem to have disregarded the democrats. Political commentators are predicting the end of the Democrat party at the 2007 federal election. If the Democrats were to present new and influential candidates they could resurrect themselves. Other voters have a flirtation with independents and a large number run hot and cold on the national party which is having problems being relevant and in some places its seats are disappearing. The National Party leadership is a negative in its longevity.

But as for the federal labor party, well there is a real quandary. They have a large quota of voters and share the political meal table with the liberal party. The Australian labor party is born out of the labour movement and much of its structure and representation, if not all, is controlled by factional elements within trade unions. The members of labor occupy little enclaves, the left, centre, right, hair brained, the nothing and and the seriously. Every labor member of parliament got there on the system managed by the trade union leadership. Some, having done so, have now decided that the union official influence should be reduced, or eradicated. They want a "nebulous" body called the "rank and file " to decide all things relative about who should be the candidate for the electoral seats. The problem here is that this proposition is somewhat disingenuous and silly. If they think that union influence should be diminished then they should form a different party with different management, and manipulative, influences, styles and processes. They could fill it with people of the same ilk. The people who apparently have taken on a different persona since being in parliament. They could call it the "rank and file" party.

Critics say that too many members of labor's ranks are from unions and labor party machinery backgrounds, they have narrow experience! They must therefore be incompetent, unaware, unrepresentative and suspect. This is indeed an irony of the bloody obvious, given that both major parties are unrepresentative. Why shouldn't they be? Why should the labor party (union party) have to change because a bunch of critics, and disgruntled types, believe that federal labor cannot win government or that they should, once in parliament, e rewarded for their loyalty rather than performance?

The critics really do not explain why every state and territory government in Australia has labor governments whilst the federal is a liberal/national coalition? Julia Gillard is apparently having a tilt at the leadership, displaying her credentials, whatever that might mean. She is barking, along with every other aspirant type and the current leader Kim Beazley is lambasted for not doing whatever it is the last labor member to rant, in any one moment, says he should. He apparently should take the system that put him, and them, into parliament, to task.

We know they cannot and will not. For that would require resources, money, organisation and structure. It would create another party on the periphery. They would not be in the main game occupied by the duopoly. Maybe the bulk of trade union officials do not actually want to win government! They may merely want to have a turn in parliament with all the neat benefits that go with it. So what are Ms Gillard, Mr. Crean and their compatriots really? Are they members of the Australian labor party, the party created for, and belonging, to the unions?

The opponents of the disenchanted say that the ones who do not like the system should pull their heads in and shut up. Critics say that disunity is political death. Fourty liberal members have just told Howard they do not like his child care policies. Others hate the government's immigration and detention policies, occupation in Iraq and much more. This is not disunity. Warren Mundine, the new folksy labor party president, thinks that they should have a cup of tea. Sit around the camp fire and chew bark. According to well placed sources, wherever they may be placed, Kim Beazley, the leader of the federal labor party, has from ten minutes to four months, to show us what he has and do everything for everyone or they (unidentified) will replace him with someone else of their liking. This is the same lot who gave Australia Mark Latham as leader and prime ministerial candidate. Perhaps someone in the Australian labor party (on the whingeing side) might like to tell us what party they should be in.


The government of Victoria, Australia is engaged in presenting the Commonwealth Games (March 2006). The streets and the river have been cleaned. The homeless have been shipped off to obscurity in short term accommodation out of sight. The city is being spruced up. This is a repeat of what the New South Wales government did for Sydney 2000 Olympics. The politicians of state governments of Victoria, like NSW, will point to their extraordinary abilities and achievements. Australians love a good parade and a bit of sport even if it is a cut down version where participation is limited to a monarchy, and organisation (the Royalty of England and the long gone British Empire of the Commonwealth) long past its use by date. Common - wealth is not one of its traits. Queensland's Premier, peter Beattie, ever the marketer rushed into the airports and blue - tacked tourism posters for his state everywhere.

The politicians of the governments of NSW and Victoria do not actually organise, and present, the games or any major event. They hire others for that. They think that the majority of people will become euphoric and overlook their inadequacies and we do. The governments of Victoria and NSW cannot actually run hospitals, health, community services, transport, utilities or most services with any effective performance but for the twenty or so days of another major event they will make out that this is the way Melbourne is. Well that is a always nice to clean house when visitors are going to come. Melbourne is a great city in spite of the politician's efforts to corrode and degrade with all their best intentions. The visitors will simply love Melbourne.

What is galling is that a number of pompous, and egotistical, parasites will laud themselves and spend public money making themselves and their chosen few, VIPs. They will then advertise how great they were and expect us to vote them back in on shallow gloss and facade. We will, because there is little alternative in a nation where the political process is carefully managed to exclude broad representation and quality of candidates.

The Victorian labor party is moving to put a high profile chosen candidate into parliament. Evan Thornley, the founder of internet company Looksmart, is to be stand for a safe upper house seat in the parliament. Mr. Thornley, we are told is a quality candidate who will bring a lot to the peoples' government. He is a risk taker having bet on his ability in the dot com boom. However he will not be contesting a marginal seat. He is to be given a smooth ride into Victoria's retirement home for politicians, the upper house. He will no doubt be given a ministry. We do not know what Mr. Thornley thinks, or will think, of his political colleagues. He is joining the ruling oligopoly, and is being given a comfy ride into the publicly funded clown house we euphemistically call parliament. Mr. Thornley is apparently not an independent thinker. If he is why did he join a party that makes its members goose step in tune?




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AUSTRALIA IN A FRAGMENTED, NODAL WORLD
Creeping Globalisation 1999 -


A Presentation by Kevin R Beck

at the Post Graduate Conference, University of Melbourne, Australia

24 July 1999

ABSTRACT

Australia is undergoing a period of high economic growth, a boom time, and yet this nation also has unacceptable levels of unemployment coupled with disillusionment, insecurity, apathy and alienation. Researchers are seeking to understand why.

Human capital is undervalued and much is wasted. Industry undergoes continued re-engineering and downsizing whilst slavishly following questionable management methods and practices. Political policy lacks a depth of research and debate.

Age and experience is too often disregarded in favour of youth. Deeper learning is being devalued by an over emphasis on competency based learning. Society is influenced by the moment, by what is immediately at hand, by the craft of images, perception and pervasive consumerism. Dissent is frowned upon, and practitioners are too often victimised or ridiculed while the lesser morality of business and politics is accepted as an every day part of life. The forces of global capitalism intrude, some would say, with a decaying effect.

This paper, among other sources takes, as its underlying theme, the research work of Richard Sennet, specifically his book titled "The Corrosion of Character". Sennett teaches sociology at the London School of Economics and New York University. He is the co-author of "The Hidden Injuries of Class" (1972) with Jonathan Cobb. In his latest work "The Corrosion of Character" (1998) he "explores the disorienting effects of new capitalism".

For him there are two worlds, the almost vanished rigid, hierarchical organisation, where what mattered was a sense of personal character and the new world of corporate re-engineering, risk, flexibility, networking and short term teamwork, where we must reinvent ourselves constantly. The presentation examines this work in the context of an Australian experience, extracting elements of Sennett’s story and asking you, the reader, to examine them in the light of your own beliefs, perceptions and experiences.

THE CORROSION OF CHARACTER©

Sennett defines character as "the ethical value we place on our own desires and on our relations to others. They are the personal traits that we value in ourselves and for which we seek to be valued by others."

Post war Australia, similarly to Sennett’s America, was a reasonably predictable environment where one took a single profession, career or job and expected to work for a given period to buy a house, raise children and retire. People had an idea when they would retire and how much money they would have. Regardless of station, the narrative of experience and place in the community provided a sense of self respect. Those who worked under these conditions could say "this is what I do and this is what I am responsible for." Today however there are many people that cannot offer the substance of work life as an example to others, or their children, of how they should conduct themselves ethically. The qualities of good work, according to Sennett, are not the qualities of good character.

The whole of the workforce is contingent, with jobs being replaced by projects and fields of work.1

And yet careers rather than jobs develop our characters. The short term, flexibility of new capialism precludes substantial narrative.

The economist Bennett Harrison believes the source of the hunger for constant change is impatient capital and the desire for rapid returns. Organisations are no longer pyramids, they are being conceived as networks which are lighter on their feet, more readily decomposable or re-definable than fixed assets (Powell). There is no long term and this, according to Sennett, is the principle that corrodes trust, loyalty and mutual commitment. The short time frame of modern institutions limits the ripening of informal trust. Fleeting forms of association are more useful to people than long term connections and strong social ties like loyalty have ceased to be compelling. The time dimension of the new capitalism, rather than high technology, the stock markets or free trade, most directly affects people’s emotional lives outside the workplace. This short term capitalism, according to Sennett, threatens to corrode the character of Rico, a central individual in the research, particularly those qualities of character which bind human beings to one another and furnishes each with a sense of sustainable self.

This modern world of work and politics is culturally conservative, there is a tendency to stereotype and to loathe social parasites embodied in the figure of the welfare recipient. Such philosophies appear to have permeated conservative governments that frame policies in political speak the "mutual contribution" requirement. The recent comments by Minister Tony Abbott, demonstrate and reinforce this attitude, whilst Mr. Abbott forgets that he is a servant of the people including those he condemns.

To explain such attitudes of government Sennett refers to Michael Albert’s theory of the Anglo-American model that stresses the state bureaucracy’s subordination to the economy, and thus a willingness to loosen the safety net provided by government.2

These regimes, with the exception of Australia, may have low levels of unemployment but they also have increasing wage inequality. Former Secretary of Labour in the United States, Reich says that America is on the way to becoming a two tiered society composed of a few winners and a larger group left behind.

The Chairman of the US Federal Reserve Bank, Alan Greenspan (1995) declared that unequal income would become a major threat to our society.3

Corporations are imbued with human characteristics, treating their ongoing existence as paramount to the interests of real human beings.

In this modern world there is nothing unfair about a corporation making itself tighter, leaner and even meaner or even reappearing in another form after they have failed. The representatives of business interests oppose legislators altering the corporations law to place workers rights and entitlements ahead of other creditors. Governments procrastinate while moral imperative would have them act immediately. A coal mine goes broke, the owner’s assets and directors, are protected from loss, the workers lose their jobs, their superannuation, their leave and their redundancy.

Downsizing, right sizing, or whatever desensitising language may be used to make it palatable, is something readily accepted by society, governments and the business community as a fact of life and a right of the owners of capital.

When IBM downsized, or as Schumpeter says, engaged in creative destruction, the characters in Sennett’s story took it upon themselves as their own burden having first overcome the shock of recrimination. They believed they should have foreseen the circumstances and should have planned for the contingency.

Paul Gollan, a lecturer in management at the Graduate School of Management, Macquarie University, says that companies that downsize destroy the experience network and the knowledge of what made the organisation tick, informal networks, cultures and trust relationships. Henry Mintzberg (1996) said "there is no re-engineering in the idea of re-engineering, just reification, just the same old notion that the new system will do their job".

Uncertainty today exists without any looming disaster, instead it is woven into the everyday practices of vigorous capitalism. Instability is meant to be normal. In modern capitalism those employed "experience a distinction between their own time and the employer’s time." 4

The modern manager, or owner of business, too often sees commitment to the firm as something beyond the separation of the two demanding that work take precedence as if the firm owns the employee’s time, at its will and command. The working week is now regularly over fifty hours often extending into periods of seven days, consistently. This causes conflict in the individual and a feeling that they are not in charge of their own lives. People are "surrendering life to capitalism" (Long, 1999). Sennett says the power that directs this world of work and time is now more subtle. He defines "the modern system of power" in three forms, the discontinuous reinvention of institutions, flexible specialisation of production and concentration of, without centralisation of, power. Reinvention is decisive and irrevocable. Technology is the primary tool.

Discontinuous re-invention, or if one prefers other terms, delayering, vertical disaggregation or re-engineering, gives employees many multiple tasks to perform. Sennett says that only in the fantasy life of consultants can large organisations define a new business plan, trim and re-engineer itself to suit, then stream forward to realise the new design.

Erik Clemens says many, if not most, re-engineering efforts fail. The American Management Association and the Wyatt Companies found that repeated down sizing produces lower profits and declining worker productivity. Craig Littler researching Australian firms holds a similar view, and has documented at least two thirds of firms that down sized did not achieve the targets or increased profitability.

Flexible specialisation tries to get more varied products ever more quickly to the market. The market may be consumer driven as never before in history.5 A strategy of permanent innovation: accommodation to ceaseless change, rather than an effort to control it.6 The concept of flexible specialisation suits high technology and it is favoured by the speed of modern communications.

The shifting demands of the outside world determine the inside structure of institutions. Sennett talks of his annual visits to Davos where the ‘kingdom of achievers’ owe their success to flexible specialisation. A place filled with ex communists extolling the virtues of free trade and conspicuous consumption. These people have the capacity to let go of their past and the confidence to accept fragmentation which are the "traits of people truly at home in the new capitalism". These same traits begetting spontaneity are more self destructive for those who work lower down in the flexible regime.

The three elements, discontinuos reinvention, flexible specialisation of production and concentration of without centralisation of power, according to Sennett, corrode the characters of more ordinary workers who try to play by the rules. Risk is a daily necessity being shouldered by the masses. To quote Sennet, "it is the driven man bent on proving his moral worth through his work". In the postmodern theories the notion of fragmentation of identity, not simply enstrangement but dislocation, according to Giddens (1990), comes about through ruptures in the discourse of modern knowledge and information.

Sennett further says that the driven man is intensely competitive but cannot enjoy what he gains. He refers to Max Weber’s (1947) observation that man is weighed down by the importance he has come to attach to work as being extremely relative to today.

According to Sennett, detachment and superficial co-operativeness are better armour for dealing with current realities than behaviour based on values of service and loyalty.

The older models of a learning organisation are now typified, in new concepts of organisational structure. Typified by subcontracting of work, reduction in salaries against the national average, individual worker commitment, the disappearance of union practices and unionised workplaces (Cardoso, 1998) and organisational entities are now heterogeneous networks of human and non human materials (Easton, 1996).

Modern production equipment enables less skilled workers to follow "iconised’ instructions and when the equipment (computer) stops they stop. These are not learning organisations.

This is "program dependent labour" with a shallow competency and increasing loss of knowledge in their work. The work is not legible.

Sennett uses the modern computerised manufacturing bakery as an example. When difficulty and resistance, an important source of mental stimulation, is diminished through the use of `fool proof’ technology uncritical and indifferent activity arises on the part of the worker. The engagement with work becomes superficial.



If this is the case, then re-engineering style, scientific process models, proposed by Champy and Hammer (1993,4,5), as tools of management, cannot capture the human elements of the absence of loyalty and values of service and will be doomed to failure in their objectives.



Certainty, in the past, available to one generation, is disappearing for the next. The most telling example is the loss of the security of a job for life and the shortening of the timeframe of work (Guillemard, 1993) "Over fifty and burned out"

Postmodernity has no single inherent meaning or value and it is a new social arena with a universe of events that is difficult to understand (Giddens, 1990). Those who can afford it educate themselves privately which undermines the public system of education (Probert, 1993). Governments, and employers, are making decisions that have long term ramifications. The population, struggling to exist and absorb this mosaic of change is left behind in the debate.

Education is being framed with the single dimensional objective of fitness for employment. Argyris and Schon (1978) termed this `single loop learning’. The need to understand learning better in all of its dimensions is now imperative says Argyris (1991). The purpose and the context of change have been lost to the practitioner.

The continued rhetoric and focus on words such as clever and intelligent signals we are in the process of creating a technological elite (Rohatyn, 1995) with growing inequality in terms of the value of technical skills. Raising the wages of people who produce planes and lower the wages of the unskilled with an attendant huge transfer of wealth from these lower skilled, middle class workers to the technological aristocracy. The jobs that are growing in Australia, according to the Australian Financial Review writer Stephen Long, Wednesday 16, December 1999, are casual and part time at the lower end of skills. Such climates promote extreme risk taking in our youth and despondency in the older members who may not want to embrace lifeless and unintelligent machines. In an unfettered world those in a position to grab everything do and will.

What value are corporations to community and how do they serve the civic interest rather than its own ledger of profit and loss?

Australia, its government and people mutually must define the common good. Are we in pursuit of unbridled free market ideologies, a few political restraints on wealth inequality but full employment or a balance between capital (corporate) interests, welfare, knowledge and job creation.


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