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Aug 31, 2012

The costs and rewards of devolving public service functions

In contrast to Labor, the Coalition is thinking about alternatives to current ways of doing bureaucratic business.


The Coalition has sent two signals lately around its approach to public administration if it wins government.

The first, which received greater attention, related to the warm welcome extended to UK “Big Society” advocate Phillip Blond when he visited two weeks ago. Blond visited last year as well, and on both occasions met with senior Liberals.

Blond’s “Big Society” centres around the notion of empowering local communities to deliver services, rather than government. The problem is, it’s been taken up with gusto by David Cameron’s Coalition government in the UK and used as the pretext for extensive cuts to services in the aid of meeting George Osborne’s austerity targets. Blond’s defenders argue it’s not his fault his thinking has been exploited to justify cuts in services, and his ideas merit evaluation outside the context of Cameron’s government.

Blond’s thinking appeared to inform Tony Abbott’s “Plan for Stronger Communities” released in June, in which he emphasised “empowered communities” over “empowered government”.

The second related but separate signal came from Andrew Robb last week when he spoke about shifting oversight and administration of Commonwealth programs to the states. He spoke of a gradual process, working with co-operative state governments to hand responsibility for programs using Commonwealth money to the states, freeing up the Commonwealth to significantly reduce the number of public servants dedicated to running and overseeing programs.

This is significantly at odds with Abbott’s most strident position in Battlelines, in which he argued the federal government should override the states and take direct control of every area it turns its collective mind to, aided by a constitutional amendment that would remove any fetter on Commonwealth power. Then again, Battlelines was written while every state government was Labor and had frustrated the Howard government in areas like Abbott’s health portfolio. With all the major state governments now conservative and Abbott looking like the next Prime Minister, Abbott’s centralism has conveniently vanished.

But the Coalition, at least, appears to be thinking about public service delivery with less resources, at a point where, according to today’s Australian Financial Review, Labor is gearing up for yet another additional efficiency dividend on the public service to spare its fiscal blushes.

Apart from the obvious issue that Robb’s devolution of management and oversight is dependent on a co-operative relationship between federal and state governments, and thus prone to being overturned the moment an election changes a government, there’s a more substantial problem or two with it.

Imagine a devolved Commonwealth program, being managed by a state — or even one of Abbott’s “little platoons” of community-based service deliverers — which goes bad: say there’s a 3% complaint rate about it, or some shonky private contractor cuts corners, resulting in people being injured or killed.

In what world does anyone think it will be politically acceptable for the relevant federal minister to stand up in question time and say: “don’t look at me, it’s an issue for the XXX state government or the YYY volunteers’ association”? Or to plead they don’t have information about the scandal because state bureaucrats — who have no interest in assisting a minister in another jurisdiction unless their own minister’s office is breathing down their necks — haven’t yet provided it to her?

If it’s federal money, it’s federal responsibility, regardless of who is administering it. Federal ministers will be expected to be accountable.

That’s why, as Robb says, much of the existing Commonwealth public service primarily functions to “leave a paper trail, to cover backsides”. What he omits is that it’s political backsides being covered, not bureaucrats’, who don’t have to get up in question time or face the media when programs go awry.

Robb’s proposal thus needs a different type of politician, and a more mature public debate, in which we can talk sensibly about program implementation and accountability and politicians can resist the urge to exercise complete control over anything that may come back to bite them.

It may also afford the pretext for governments to abandon key regulatory functions that they wouldn’t necessarily want to publicly repeal. Imagine the Commonwealth handing environmental regulation to Campbell Newman after he has cut several hundred jobs from the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines. Environmental protection, while legislated at the Commonwealth and state level, would be a dead letter due to a dearth of anyone to enforce it.

But the Coalition, which normally talks the talk on “small government” but finds walking the walk politically inconvenient, at least is looking at the problem that 22 million Australians are hideously overgoverned and that key areas of public spending that are shared between levels of government — education and health, most significantly — are accompanied by elaborate bureaucratic structures designed to cover arses both in Canberra and in the relevant state capital.

In lieu of abolishing the states, there can only ever be partial, and temporary, fixes. But there are potentially significant rewards, especially given health is a priority area for identifying greater efficiencies.

Labor’s approach, meanwhile, seems to be to simply slap another cut on the public service.


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139 thoughts on “The costs and rewards of devolving public service functions

  1. Migraine

    Devolved responsibility a la Blond and Abbott sounds like a recipe for atomisation and alienation, further undermining people’s sense of community and doing even less for the idea of a ‘nation’.

  2. SBH

    It’s difficult to see how Robb’s proposal could be implemented without costing a lot more. Centralisation, whatever its ills, creates economies of scale that would start to fragment if pushed down to the states and territories to seperatly administer.

    And it’s equally difficult to believe anyone in Canberra doesn’t know that the first thing every premier, regardless of party, will ask – ‘where’s the money?’ and they’ll want more than they got before.

  3. rossmcg

    “Imagine a devolved Commonwealth program, being managed by a state — or even one of Abbott’s “little platoons” of community-based service deliverers — which goes bad: say there’s a 3% complaint rate about it, or some shonky private contractor cuts corners, resulting in people being injured or killed.”

    we don’t have to imagine … it only took 1 second for the case of the aboriginal elder in WA who died after being transported through the WA outback in an unairconditioned prison van by a private contractor. Ok that was a State government outsourcing but it is the perfect example of what happens when governments abrogate their responsibilities and had out the work to companies who put profit first.

  4. wilful

    All of the “pink batts deaths” could honestly be sheeted home to State OH&S regulation. All of the “school halls rorts” from teh BER could reliably be attributed to State education departments. That never stopped the coalition in Federal Parliament.

  5. Peter Ormonde

    Oh dear … here we go again. Those of us with more elephantine memories might recall Fraser’s “New Federalism” … funneling Commonwealth funds through all those totally responsible and more accountable States and the feds stepping back from the pointy end of responsibility.

    The result: a sprawling slow train wreck of a policy with services being increasingly unequal depending on lines drawn on maps. Queensland’s schools, NSW hospitals… all different, all failing, and the notion of equality of opportunity and living standards for Australians went out the window.

    Actually having watched the NSW Public Service up close, I have few issues with O’Barrell’s plans to set to the behemoth with a chainsaw … failed managements in roads, housing, health, education and community service… a failed State in terms of meeting public expectations and dealing with challenges of the 21st century. But I suspect O’Barrell will simply grab the cash – the temptation is overwhelming. It’s what happened with Fraser’s new federalism as well.

    Pity really – something really needs to change – but I don’t think importing our recycled failed ideas from the English will really help too much… just less and less and less. Pity. We could do with some decent imaginative policies and programs here. But we’d need politicians with a commitment to delivering results beyond securing preselections.

    When will someone start talking about really solving the problem and abolishing these absurd bureaucratic fiefdoms called the States?

  6. Suzanne Blake

    The richest suburb in Australia in terms of income per caita as per the census was in Canberra region.

    Jerrabomberra just across border in NSW.

    Wonder why?

    Public Servants nest there.

    Bet it will be No 1 in 2016.

  7. Peter Ormonde

    See what I mean Jimmy… just trash.

    Here’s some decent numbers: http://www.smartcompany.com.au/economy/20110729-revealed-australia-s-top-50-richest-suburbs.html

    They just make stuff up.

    I’m off for a shower now – just makes me feel a bit greasy reading this sludge.

  8. Peter Ormonde

    Jimmy, here’s another one… slightly better: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/in-search-of-the-new-rich/story-e6frgabx-1226450654336

    Ignorant, dumb and lazy. Not interested in facts. They just “know” … it has the feel of “truthiness” to it – and that’s enough.

    Now leave them alone and let them wither away on the edges of the world they so desperately try and attach themselves to…. the real one.

  9. Suzanne Blake

    IT’S always been regarded as a nice place to live, but 2011 census data has revealed Jerrabomberra has the highest median weekly …

    google it

    highest median weekly earnings as they define it

  10. Oscar Jones

    Blond’s stale and predictable theory is simply Thatcherism/Blairism and the Coalition devoid of real ideas is bound to lap it up.

    Thatcher proclaimed local councils could deal with the homeless rather than the government. This isn’t a policy, it’s an abrogation of duty and passing the buck.

    The result is what we see today in Britain : a massive decline in community housing (where the opposite is happening throughout Europe) and the transfer of taxpayer’s money to private hands, landlords housing the homeless for profit, an inevitable boom and bust cycle in housing costs.

    Exampled by how Britain now hands out billions$$ in housing subsidies even to the working poor, thus supplementing a generation of would be property developers and a problem they cannot solve : cut back on housing subsidies and property prices will collapse.

  11. Oscar Jones

    …and needless to say, an army of ‘consultants’ will be employed to make this happen.

  12. Holden Back

    Here comes the BIG Billy Goat Gruff to frighten the troll away!

  13. Jonathan Q

    Google it? Don’t know why, but I just did.

    “IT’S always been regarded as a nice place to live, but 2011 census data has revealed Jerrabomberra has the highest median weekly …”

    Sorry, but what is the next word in that sentence? That little snippet you quoted, comes from Google’s listing of an article in the Queanbeyan Age. The link is conveniently dead. I guess you didn’t quote the article directly because you couldn’t and didn’t read it.

    The only other place I can find info on “highest median weekly something” for Jerrabomberra is the ABS. And it only ever mentions highest median weekly RENTALS. Not quite the same thing is it?


  14. Owen Gary

    More new ideals pushed by the “free marketeers” give the public less services so they can achieve more. Full monetary control given to the likes of Campbell Newman so he can create more little family owned niches to funnel not millions but billions of taxpayer money into.

    It seems that Queensland residents have jumped from the frying pan into the fire.
    I would rather see the State Governments abolished than let them run riot with the nations wealth.
    The privateers would love to bypass public scrutiny of a federal authority in favour of State run Ponzi-scheme that has just that little hint of pork barrelling about it.

    Don’t you just love the terms the entrepreneurs of the NWO come up with (Big Society=Less Funding) they always amount to the exact opposite of the term used in much the same vein as the neo-cons like to use (i.e.) Workchoices.

  15. Peter Ormonde


    George Orwell got it right with the Ministry of Truth … everything is transformed into its opposite…. So Work Choices strips away choice, The Big Society makes us the less , the “empowered” people are impotent …. on and on it goes….

    Marketing slogans make poor policies I reckon. Bit harder than it looks doing this policy stuff well.

    But with empty slogans it all depends how many folks one can fool at a time, how short our memories are, how gullible we have become.

  16. Owen Gary


    “…and needless to say, an army of ‘consultants’ will be employed to make this happen.”

    Yes indeed Oscar & as that pie grows bigger as does that army.

  17. Jimmy

    Oscar Jones – “and needless to say, an army of ‘consultants’ will be employed to make this happen” I would say what will happen is the will make the public servant rendundant, pay them all nice big severance packages then hire them all back as contractors paying twice the hourly rate they used to, but tha number of public servants will be down, yippee!

  18. Bultaco Metrella

    I was an IT Consultant lured to Canberra by the then Howard Government scheme to “privatise’ the IT services to the Australian Public Service in Canberra. It fell flat on its face after a few years as it failed to achieve any objectives apart from making the consultants rich especially the Americans who planned the thing.

  19. Owen Gary


    ” The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.”

    -Thomas Jefferson

    Yes Peter the public has got so apathetic that it has entrusted it’s future to a hegemon that seeks to destroy them, very sad times indeed.

  20. GeeWizz

    Public servants need to be on pay-for-performance based contracts. It’s time to route the unions from OUR public servants just like what the most popular premier in Australian history, Campbell Newman is doing here in QLD.

  21. Owen Gary


    Yes we must look like such an easy blood donor to that great yankie “vampire squid”

  22. Jimmy

    SB –
    ROXBY Downs is home to the wealthiest people in South Australia.

    In the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, which reveal median weekly household income, the mining town topped the list with an income of $2756.
    “The data shows Jerrabomberra’s weekly median income to be $2,690

  23. Mobius Ecko

    Peter Ormonde touched on it. Inequality.

    Look at what’s happening with this model in the UK and the thing that stands out is the gross inequality it is engendering. And with that comes growing resentment and discontent.

    So are Abbott and co planning to devolve national security down to the local level as well so he can abrogate the large costs that will ensue as unrest grows.

    Also States at the local level are amalgamating councils and areas into super local authorities, now a Federal government wants to break them apart.

  24. Hamis Hill

    The costs and benefits of capitalists following their interest to deceive and oppress the public?
    The public want service ? Let them serve themselves!
    Count Otto Von Bismark noticed the public serving themselves to a orgy of property destruction during the 1848 depression and consequently set up the world’s first welfare state as insurance against the public serving themselves again in such a manner whenever capitalism stuffs up.
    Capitalists should be careful what they ask for.

  25. Owen Gary

    Troofie says

    “Public servants need to be on pay-for-performance based contracts. It’s time to route the unions from OUR public servants just like what the most popular premier in Australian history, Campbell Newman is doing here in QLD”

    Another quote from insignificance!!

    I would rather a poorly run public service than a cash cow for private enterprise, which amounts to nil service in the long run.

    Your mate Campbell Newman is already beginning to smell like a freshly laid dog turd in the garden, he wont last long but while he’s there I bet he raids the public coffers like there’s no tomorrow.

  26. Oscar Jones

    Jimmy & Owen : and that is exactly what’s happened in the UK. Civil servants taking huge redundancy packages and then re-employed by the private corporation that has purchased a government entity at knock down prices.

    One inevitable result is that, as in the UK the railways run at a loss (as they did before) but the owners take a huge profit and the taxpayer still subsidizes them.

  27. Owen Gary


    Yes unbridled corruption between the private sector & their contacts in government to get the ball rolling at the expense of the taxpayer (again)

    Campbell Newman setting up shop for this one very nicely in QLD.

  28. Clarke Steve

    A starting point is to accept the reality that there is not a snowflakes chance in hell of the States being abolished.
    Even minor changes to Australia’s constitution are difficult to implement because the inevitable scare campaigns against change work very well on the general public.

    That said, there are examples of federal systems around the world that are reasonably successful (e.g Germany and Canada). It is frustrating to watch the slow pace of reform between the states and the federal govt, but realistically it is the only option available.

  29. CML

    My understanding of the UK “Big Society” is that the government uses existing “voluteer” groups to take over much of the public services currently operated by one of the three levels of government. Especially in the social services sector, and particularly in existing community groups.
    I would be surprised if these volunteers would be stupid enough here in Oz to play along with such blatent exploitation.

  30. Owen Gary

    20,000 public service jobs gone in a blink of an eye, I wonder if Campbell has thought up enough names for his new companies yet.

  31. Bill Hilliger

    It is said the coalition plans to sell and privatise the major highways to toll road operators. The Hume, Pacific, Newell and New England highways arte being looked at. Wait till you have to pay toll on roads we taxpayers already own, what fun. Ha, ha,ha!

  32. Riley Calaby

    @Clarke Steve: I’d hardly call a federation in which one federal partner is constantly threatening to secede a roaring success.

  33. Clarke Steve

    @Riley: No it is not a roaring success. However it is all we have got to work with.
    WA will not secede, it is just talk that has been going on for decades. It has become a bit louder of late as Wayne Swan stirred them up with his handling of the taxes ( RSPT, and MRRT).

  34. Peter Ormonde

    I wouldn’t be too despondent re the abolition of states … just needs a few more like Campbell Newman and a Federal Government that refuses to bail them out when they hit the asphalt. Once people realise what they are getting for what they are paying I think the notion of states might be seen for what it is. Might need some examples – a few object lessons in modern economics and service delivery – a few slabs of red ink on the budget … but we’d be much much better for it.

  35. Patriot

    “My understanding of the UK “Big Society” is that the government uses existing “voluteer” groups to take over much of the public services currently operated by one of the three levels of government. Especially in the social services sector, and particularly in existing community groups.
    I would be surprised if these volunteers would be stupid enough here in Oz to play along with such blatent exploitation.

    How awfully cynical to equate community volunteer activity with stupidity and exploitation. What happened to helping others being its own reward? I’ve loved the concept of “big society” since I heard of it because I believe that the prevailing character of Australian society is one of decency and generosity. Many commenters here obviously don’t agree.

  36. CML

    @ PATRIOT – My point was that people who volunteer would not take kindly to being “used” as a replacement for paid workers currently employed by any/all governments. If you think that is a good idea, then you are the type of individual who wants to exploit people, not me. To that end, I think it is a stupid idea.

  37. Steve777

    Tony Abbott’s attitude to federalism is probably like his attitude to action on Climate Change. It depends upon which way the political winds are blowing.

  38. Hamis Hill

    The London Riots had something to do with this “Big Society” drivel surely?
    The era of British Australia where the settlers under the tyranny of distance were left to their own devices resulted in the co-operative movement, a British phenomenon, being used by British Australians in the British colonies which became the States, being used to undertake many of the tasks now undertaken by the “Public Service”.
    Given that conservatives consider co-operatives to be communist and the right wing religious dementoids (the Sons of Santamaria) believe anything British to be both protestant and “evil” then there is not much chance of the settler community self reliance being replicated eventhough this could be enhabced quite easily by the NBN.
    So get ready for a re-run of the rioting that inspired Bismark to set up the world’s first public service delivered “Welfare State”. Bismark, another evil protestant.
    The question is; is all this premeditated for some sinister hidden purpose or is it all just complete idiocy?

  39. izatso?

    The Ciaaolition is not thinking on this, it is taking it on board. Who did Wormtongue visit last month in London ? See guardian uk on enforced volunteerism, selling school sports fields, privatising (monetising, putting a price to,) National Parks ! &,& etc ….. all enacted in sly, under the radar, and swift fashion and with more than the usual willfull thoughtlessness…….

  40. Peter Ormonde

    Ah yes “Big Shopping” in the Big Society … a help yourself sort of strategy – works in the City innit?


    British???? What is this bizarre notion Mr Hill?

    Irish, Welsh and Scottish co-operatives yes but rarely very rarely English.

    Those folks who made it over here looked back home with nostalgia and bloody relief. They were free of the accursed English caste system with its proper values and its laws. And they made somewhere that would be different – where there was a fair go and the law did more than just protect the rich and their assets. An experiment of a place… where the courts sorted out industrial disputes rather than bobbies and bayonettes.

    But not British – never British.

    A myth of a place this Britain – always was and always will be a little English Empire built on the sweat and resources of the Scots, the Welsh and always the Irish. Sooner it falls apart the better.

  41. Liamj

    The Torys have been pillaging the State for decades now, Mr Blond is willingly or not just this years camoflage pattern. Local communities will never be handed any significant power, because central govt (and the codependant banksters) need ‘growth’/ever faster liquidation of the commons, which simple local selfinterest resists.

  42. David Hand

    Bernard, when you say, “What he omits is that it’s political backsides being covered, not bureaucrats’, who don’t have to get up in question time or face the media when programs go awry.” you omit Senate Estimates, a forum where public servants regularly take a grilling. Backside covering is mostly about that forum, as politicians can’t escape the forum of an election but public servants can.

  43. David Hand

    When a public servant in NSW is earning over $200,000 a year and still gets a rostered day off, there’s plenty of room for efficiency in the public service with no reduction in service delivery.

  44. izatso?

    code for ‘replace experience with subservience’….. thanks for the undermining of our P.S. …… works well in Qld ay ?

  45. Paddy Forsayeth

    Sorry Geewizz…Newman is far from ‘the most popular premier’. He is generally feared and loathed by even the conservatives I mix with. Newman is a slow moving disaster. He cancelled GoPrint, which used to print all the Gov. forms etc. Who is going to do it now?? I doubt that private firms will do it any cheaper. He has emasculated the dept. of mines and natural resources. No doubt to give more freedom to his mining mates. The Wild Rivers scheme is to be recinded. The list of destruction grows longer by the day. All predicated on an economic fudge concocted by Peter Costello.

  46. Hamis Hill

    Peter Ormonde. The Rochedale pioneers of the co-operative movement were in Rochedale, England in 1840.
    The Declaration of Arbroath referred to seven Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms in the centuries before the Norman Conquest, which did not extinguish that cultural heritage even after two hundred years of the Norman “Investment of Englishry” or suppression of Anglo-Saxon culture, not to mention the failure of the Conqueror to extinguish the Scandinavian heritage in Yorkshire.
    So, Peter what are you on about with your “English” identity fixation?
    The Norman French invaded under a papal banner and destroyed the Church , schools and colleges of Alfred the Great. The original “Anglican” church.
    They then invaded Wales and Ireland under the same papal banner destroying the Celtic churches.
    Yet you call these Norman French Catholics English?
    The Scottish National church was able to argue to the pope that the Norman French had no right to conquer the Scots as infidels because the Papacy well knew that the Celtic Christian Scots of Ulster had, as missionaries to the Franks, taught Europe how to read and write.
    So the Norman French Catholic ploy of reducing all of Britain to serfdom under the false accusation of being “Infidels” failed. So British, Peter, British, British, British whether you like or not.

  47. Owen Gary

    Yesss those bankster elite forever finding new ways to chip away at the federal pies of all countries, will always find devoted followers from the neo-right under the guise of “free marketeers”, just like the spivs that bankrupted a smooth running Icelandic economy that previously had no debt. Their system completely hijacked by the slick talking banksters. I suggest you watch the following:-

    Inside Job:- narrated by Matt Damon

    “The question remains; is all this premeditated for some sinister hidden purpose or is it all just complete idiocy”

    Yes Hamis this pattern of coincidence is certainly widespread around the globe & is still in motion as we both know. In fact we all know what it is yet some like to pretend it’s not happening easier to stick your head under the blankets in the hope that it will just go away. Unfortunately it will not, instead the juggernaut of the NWO must rape & pillage all economy’s to usher in the dawn of that brave new world, & you will need to be brave to survive in it.

    Can Humanity rise up & put paid to this monster or will we seek longer shopping hours & watch more reality TV??

  48. Peter Ormonde

    Nothing to do with churches, papists, Rome and the like Hamis… pure politics and economics.

    My lot were knocked off by the Normans when they swept across Ireland and up into Ulster… even made themselves “Earls of Ormonde” and built themselves a nice little castle. The modern Earls of Ormonde are in fact Butlers… But they weren’t knocked off by Churches – but by armies Hamis. One shouldn’t confangle the ideological rhetoric – the “divine mission” – with the reality … this was an economic land-grab. Britain was always an economic land-grab. Pure and simple. God just watched. As he always does.

    Depends a bit how one defines a “co-operative” … I think you might be looking at retail co-operatives … essentially in Australia a substitute for the lack of a capitalist class in mining and rural communities – no one would open a shop or extend credit. But there were predecessors… production co-operatives – that interfered in the market and improved prices and most importantly – extended credit to producers – mostly agricultural. Quite common amongst Australian farmers … common storage and milling facilities for example – no one had the money to build their own.

    Fenwick Scotland 1761 – first co-operative … the Fenwick Weavers Society. As usual the English pinched the notion. At least the English working class did – which is fine. The Owenites (a Welshman) established copoeratives as part of the utopian self managed worker owned socialism he espoused. That is the 1820s.

    As for here I grew up surrounded by co-ops on the Hunter Valley coal fields – Abermain, Pelaw Main, Kurri Kurri, Aberdeen, Cessnock, Wallsend, Aberdare …. full of co-ops, brass bands and eisteddfods…. a few Geordies about – I have an old mate who didn’t hear “English” till he went to school… but barely a plum accent-wise. That was the bosses’ accent. Still is.

  49. izatso?

    hey you pair, this is all good stuff, but what about the new norman leaders laying waste to whats left of old GB ………….? them tory gobshites are selling the turf from the schoolyards !

  50. izatso?

    Its the enclosure of the Commons all over, and Australia needs to know !

  51. Peter Ormonde

    You bet Mr So…. of course they are only selling school yards because there’s nothing left in Scotland and Wales to flog off – Maggie Thatcher cleaned out the silver draws pretty completely.

    Anyway look what happens when you edgerkate folks … they read and write and get ideas above their station… get stroppy and before you know it they’re off rioting and looting and threatening decent folks and their property. Schools and public edgerkation – another bloody Scottish idea!!! Always was something vaguely subversive about the whole business if you ask me.

  52. Owen Gary

    fuxsake cri-key moderated again.

  53. Peter Ormonde

    Yes Mr So,

    I reckon there’s a solid argument suggesting that the English are still coming to grips with the effect of the Enclosure Acts … the most naked piece of class-based theft in their history… always at it from the 1200s on they were, your Normans, nibbling away at good old Anglo-Saxon common property and communalism.

    Perhaps even the Tottenham shopping frenzy of 2011 has its roots back in that unilateral declaration of ownership.

    Something to think about every time you see someone putting up a fence.

  54. izatso?

    stuff the siver, they’re wanting to sell the National Parks, now ! we are going to see similar moves here, putting a price on the Priceless ………….

  55. Peter Ormonde

    Priceless??? What’s priceless? Everything’s got a price in the modern era. I’m looking forward to kiddie auctions – perhaps on eBay. Utilise those assets you aspirationals!!!!

    They know the price of everything and the value of nothing, to misquote Mr Wilde.

  56. Peter Ormonde

    There is only one thing worse than being misquoted – not being quoted at all.

  57. izatso?

    It is not for you to devalue yourself Peter, that is the privilege of your freinds.

  58. Hamis Hill

    If those UK conservatives took their devolution of centralised authority to extremes they might end up with the Home rule model of the late 1800’s which envisioned no less than ten regions getting the home rule demanded by the Irish catholic descendants of the conquering Norman French.
    Two world wars, a depression and a cold war intervened to put the kybosh on that but it would have and still could give The UK a federation of equal sized states. Good enough for OZ and Canada?
    And didn’t Bob Carr have a Total Catchment Management model of decentralisation based, like the 500 nations of the First Peoples, on obvious geographical boundaries?
    Perhaps some wunderkind could turn it all into some quasi-real computergame taking advantage of the NBN. But there is always the worship of the Sacred City be it Rome or London getting in the way.
    Peter’s “pure politics and economics” ?

  59. Peter Ormonde

    Friends???? I have sold all my friends. On eBay. That’s why I’m here chatting on Cr*key.

  60. Owen Gary

    Guys dont lose sight of the objective of the nefarious ones even if your details differ.

  61. Peter Ormonde

    Ah Hamis – Home Rule … Almost managed to get that through but for the accursed House of Lords.

    The English seem to think you can do these things without all that nasty French bloodshed. So they are still there … defending their interests, their traditions and their property rights.

    At least they threw Monckton out. I suppose that’s progress.

  62. Peter Ormonde

    Owen Gary….

    Come on which is it Owen or Gary?

    Nah… these are as you say mere quibbles and in no way should cause us to come to blows.

    This is the civilised sort of chat one can have here when the likes of Bleak, Troofie and the rest are at their coven meeting.

  63. Suzanne Blake

    @ Peter Ormonde

    “Friends???? I have sold all my friends. On eBay. That’s why I’m here chatting on Cr*key”, the lefties echo chamber

    Dont you have any friends in the Communist / Socialist Party? Gillard still loves you

  64. Owen Gary


    It is definitely Owen, & Suze is back from that meeting of the minds ala Troofie, Suze, Patriot, David Hand-job & Co, so I guess they weren’t there very long as you can see.

    Reds under the bed Suze, don’t you wish.

  65. Hamis Hill

    Peter, Christopher Hill’s “The World Turned Upside Down, A Century of Revolution, 1550 to 1660”
    showed that the Brits had it all underway long before the French.
    But yes, Owen Gary, the objectives of the nefarious ones are very much disturbed bythe NBN which threatens to, will?, turn their world upside down.
    All that information accumulated by public service but but suborned to private interests eg local councils and real estate speculators, might actually get into the hands of the nation’s best educated generations to use as they will.
    Redefines the Grass-roots of grass-roots participatory democracy.
    Not much room for ecological susutainability in those doomed, over stretched and soon to be riot torn suburban wastelands; present home of the soon to be liberated mortgage slaves.
    Most States already have their co-operatives legislation in place.
    The whole thing will have to be as well planned as transporting yourself to the other side of the globe in the Age of Sail. Now where would we get that example from? Not those terrible Brits!
    Leave these conservatives trailing in the wake of the future.
    Tomorrow certainly does not belong to those who live in the garbage bin of history.

  66. Peter Ormonde


    Yes just as it was getting interesting… like being dragged back into the primordial slime innit?

    I wonder why Cr*key keeps her on actually. I’m sure they could run to a decent sort of troll who can spell and knows the value of a well-placed apostrophe.

    Perhaps we could petition the crown at Cr*key for a more edgerkated class of troll. Or we could riot.

  67. Peter Ormonde


    Have a look at mondragon … you’ll have to google it because otherwise I will annoy the good sisters of Holy Moderation here … Enormous. Very successful. Grows every time there’s a recession in Spain. A very interesting model for the future.

  68. Suzanne Blake

    Dear Lefty Echo Chamber Colleagues

    Ten examples of decisions that the Gillard Government has made from its partnership with the Greens:

    1. Breaking its promise on a Carbon Tax;
    2. Breaking its promise on a Citizens’ Assembly;
    3. Establishing a $10 billion slush fund for favoured renewable energy projects;
    4. Cutting the private health insurance rebate;
    5. Reducing the childcare rebate at a time of skyrocketing childcare fees;
    6. Abolishing the Australian Building and Construction Commission – returning union militancy to the construction industry;
    7. Quietly dissolving the Work for the Dole scheme;
    8. Increasing Fringe Benefits Tax on vehicles;
    9. Establishing an inquiry into the media;
    10. Creating marine reserves without proper community consultation

  69. Suzanne Blake

    Check out Conroys snout in trough


    versus decisions he made on FTA TV etc

  70. izatso?

    typical. its been given someones prompts. fatuous cow.

  71. Hamis Hill

    Peter, The Hawke government ran some courses on Co-operative development in its first term.
    Found out about Mondragon there. But they should have mentioned the Fenwick Weavers’ society of 1761.
    The Rochedale Pioneers may have evolved the Co-operative principles though.
    Wonder what SB thinks about one share one vote and parliamentary rules of decision making.
    Probably far too Marxist for her taste.
    I remember when the National’s Gerry Peacocke was the NSW Minister For Co-operatives and negitiated a deal for the local wool co-op to send its wool to a Chinese co-operative to be made into yarn and then sent to an italaian co-op to be made into cloth.
    Should have been Party Leader but his suppoert for co-ops was seen to be too “communistic”.
    SB is probably of like mind, reactionary and offensively ignorant.

  72. Suzanne Blake

    Thanks right Hamis Hill

    Swan should be string up for allowing Cubbie to be sold to the Chinese.

    Complete outrage

  73. Owen Gary

    Yes Hamish,

    The NBN does scare the sh-ite out of those would be gods, thats why the cyber laws were recently passed unchallenged by our so called leaders (defenders of the faith) the only ones who bothered turning up were the Greens, I guess theres something to be learned by this.

    However (Talcum Churnbull) is doing his level best to turn the NBN into another 2nd rate service & making a few bucks at the same time. I do hope the current generation use this service for knowledge as well as facebook mania otherwise they are doomed.


    I don’t think it to long before I adopt a model of subsistence farming as this genetically poisoned crap has got the cancer rate up to 50% of which I am one, not good odds at all. The rubbish they are giving us is destroying our endocrine systems but I know there are also big environmental factors at play as well. With the new labeling laws saying that now things with 50% sugar is good (ministry of truth scenario) truth is in such short supply these days.

    I think co-ops in the agricultural area is one way of defeating the food hegemonistas as far as produce goes, if the public work together in small groups who knows what could be achieved. Under the “Codex Alimentarius” they will try & stop this as organic food is considered not safe by their determination. The drought they are experiencing in the U.S of the GM soy, corn & wheat is the best news Ive heard all year.

  74. Owen Gary

    Suze both major parties are sell outs why not try the Greens?

  75. Suzanne Blake

    @ Owen Gary

    The Greens are communists in camo clothes, eg Lea Rhiannon, with links to Communist Party and KGB.

    They want to make all of Australia looks like Tasmania – backward locked in the 70’s.

    They are goig backwards and have ben found out, which is why the NT election and Heffron they did really poorly as they are in the Polls. Milne will bury them, just like Lee did with the Democrats

  76. Suzanne Blake

    Interesting if you are a Greens MP you must have to donate 10 – 12% of your MP salary to the Greens in true communist fashion.

    Looks like Sarah Hanson Young has done OK, Qantas Chairmans Lounges and owns three properties.

    Milne cannot spell Qantas “Chairmans Lounge (Quantas) Membership”
    she got upgrades to First Class by Qantas to South Africa

  77. Andrew ( )

    Bit of a laugh how quick Suzie came out of hiding afer Peters comment. Are you stalking Peter or do you have a crush on him? And the Capitalist system that you keep on promoting is one reason the world is in a mess. Greed is rife especially in Australia. This can be seen in the excessive amount of gambling and property speculation.
    It is time more Australians started to use their money to invest in this country and build long term value. We have the capacity to do this but people must change their ‘get quick rich’ exploitation attitude.

  78. Suzanne Blake

    @ Andrew ( )

    You mean like the three houses your pin up Girl hanson Young has?


    Or the 6 the Labor MP for Robertson has. The biggest landlord in Parliament from the ones I checked.

    Do as I say, not as I do. You have been conned again it seems.

  79. Peter Ormonde


    I’m usually very careful about commenting on Cr*key when Ms Bleak’s about lest it prompt another email avalanche of unsolicited candid snaps featuring a disguised middle aged woman stooped over a glowing screen adorned in little else than a skimpy alfoil cap.

    It’s a strange world out there.

  80. Owen Gary

    Suze no pollies no matter what side of the house they are on are going to send themselves backwards, in their shoes would you?

    While your checking things out discriminately, why not start with the LNP their houses probably are estates.

    “They want to make all of Australia looks like Tasmania – backward locked in the 70’s.”

    What is wrong with a Tasmania that looks untrashed (i.e.) not pin cushioned with minesites??

    “Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.” ~ Cree Indian Proverb …

    Take heed Suze!!

  81. Owen Gary

    Suze no politician no matter what side of the house they are on are going to send themselves backwards, in their shoes would you?

    While your checking things out discriminately, why not start with the LNP their houses probably are estates.

    “They want to make all of Australia looks like Tasmania – backward locked in the 70’s.”
    What is wrong with a Tasmania that looks untrashed (i.e.) not pin cushioned with minesites??

    “Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.” ~ Cree Indian Proverb …

    Take heed Suze!!

  82. Suzanne Blake

    @ Owen Gary

    I went through almost all the 150 MP’s and the ones that has the most assets seems to be two from Labor. Stand to be corrected.

    There are lots of mines in Tassie?

  83. Owen Gary

    Yeah suze exactly “thats progress for you”

  84. Suzanne Blake

    Martin Ferguson took a trip on Gina Jet!!


  85. Andrew ( )

    @Peter – good to see you have a sense of humor. I enjoy reading the comments for the education or entertainment value depending on who posts them.
    @Owen- National MP Tim Fisher sold his property and company to Chinese Coal Mining interests for $100 Million.

  86. David Hand

    When I see you trendy lefties banging on about evil capitalism, I am reminded that you don’t know the meaning of the word.

    To assist with your education, Wikipedia defines capitalism as, “An economic system that is based on private ownership of the means of production and the creation of goods or services for profit.” That’s right guys, you can thank capitalism for the food you ate tonight, the computer you produce your angst filled diatribes on, the roof over your head and the car sitting outside where you live.

    Go to North Korea if you want to but I like it here.

  87. Patriot

    Peter and others seem to equate capitalism with anarchy and lawlessness for some reason. Expect one of his bizarre, nonsensical rants about Somalia in reply shortly.

  88. Peter Ormonde

    Yep … it’s just wonderful innit? Shaw nuff!!!

    All this stuff you can buy and you don’t even have to work up a sweat. We pays other folks to do thet fer us somewhere else like Red China where them isn’t free like us. Unless them live here in Port Pirie or somewhere like that – but hey that’s their choice innit? That’s what’s so good about it all – yer freedom of choice.

    Shaw youse can do silly dangerous stuff if’n youse wanna -like minin’ thet asbestos fer Gina’s old dead daddy. Betcha youse all wishing youser choosed different now innit … haw haw. Or youse kin snag yerself a nice quiet desk in an orifice somewhere’s and jest put yer feets up. Helps if youse bin to school and uni and stuff a bit – but heck thet’s whatcha got guvvermint faw innit? To give us all a decent start.

    Thet’s yer capitalism for yers – all freedom and choice – well at least fer us all. It’s in the bible anyways. It’s jest God’s laws thet’s all.

    Made any good choices lately?

  89. Patriot

    I think co-ops in the agricultural area is one way of defeating the food hegemonistas as far as produce goes, if the public work together in small groups who knows what could be achieved. Under the “Codex Alimentarius” they will try & stop this as organic food is considered not safe by their determination.

    It isn’t safe. Hear about all those people who died from eating organic sprouts from Germany? 31 dead thanks to organic farming. That incident alone makes it more deadly than nuclear power generation over the last 10 years.

  90. Owen Gary

    Yay the bozo brigade has finally arrived.


    Here is a little edyacayshun for ya, the live organism strains transplanted into roundup ready GM crops is Ecoli & since its introduction in the early 1980s the cancer rate has doubled. Although we cant attribute all cancers to this as there are environmental factors to consider, it gives a good indication to the nutritional value of this GM crap. Cancer takes hold in the body much easier where there is little nutritional value of food.

    The other question is why use a strain of Ecoli for a food source, nutritional value maybe?

    The actual source of the outbreak is still a mystery, but here is some info via wikileaks for yer consumption:-

    Wikileaks continues to rock the political world by shedding light on conspiracies, corruption and cover-ups. The latest batch of diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks reveals what can only be characterized as a U.S.-led conspiracy to force GMOs onto European countries by making those countries pay a steep price if they resist.

    The cable reveals the words of Craig Stapleton, the US ambassador to France, who was pushing the commercial interests of the biotech industry by attempting to force GMOs into France. In his own words (below), he expresses his frustration with the idea that France might pass environmental laws that would hamper the expansion of GMOs:

    “Europe is moving backwards not forwards on this issue with France playing a leading role, along with Austria, Italy and even the [European] Commission… Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voice.”

    Got that so far? His own words: “Retaliation” as a way to “make [it] clear” that resisting GMOs will have a price.

    Stapleton goes on to say something rather incredible:

    “Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits. The list should be measured rather than vicious and must be sustainable over the long term, since we should not expect an early victory…”

    As you read these words again, remember that these are the words of the U.S. ambassador to France who is suggesting the US “calibrate a target retaliation list” in order to “cause some pain across the EU” that must be “sustainable over the long term.”

    The global GMO conspiracy is no longer a theory
    Need we say anything more? This cable proves, once and for all, that there is a global GMO conspiracy where government operatives work in secret to push Monsanto’s GMO agenda while punishing opponents of GMOs and adding them to a “target retaliation list.”

    This cable also proves that NaturalNews has been right all along about the GMO conspiracy, and that GMO opponents such as Jeffrey Smith are battling what can only be called an evil conspiracy to control the world’s food supply. It also proves that when Alex Jones talks about the global conspiracy to control the world food supply, he’s not just ranting. He’s warning about the reality of the world in which we now live.

    As Jeffery Smith said today in a Democracy Now interview:

    “We’ve been saying for years that the United States government is joined at the hip with Monsanto and pushing GMOs as part of Monsanto’s agenda on the rest of the world. This lays bare the mechanics of that effort. We have Craig Stapleton, the former ambassador to France, specifically asking the U.S. government to retaliate and cause some harm throughout the European Union.”

    Two words patriot (codex alimentarius)

    “That incident alone makes it more deadly than nuclear power generation over the last 10 years.”

    I think you forgot Fukushima somehow!! (silly boy)

    Keep eating that frankenfood Patriot it’s obviously messing with yer head.

  91. Patriot

    Thanks for the cut and paste from conspiracy theorist and discredited quack Mike Adams, though I’m not sure it has much educational value. I’m only aware of 3 deaths at Fukushima due to the tsunami, and none of them involving radiation. How many do you believe died?

  92. Owen Gary


    You believe no one has died in Fukushima due to radiation.
    That is silly even for you, as for the GM:-


    Thats how much they love it in Europe, here it is not even labelled.

  93. izatso?

    thanks for the ongoing toxic fracking of aquifers/artesian basins across Oz also, freaks ! these unaccountable actions credit no-one. unless your a fracking patriotic un-polished turd……. indefencible, and yet it is happening now.

  94. Patriot

    From The Australian:

    “A MELBOURNE businessman facing terrоrіsm charges in the US should not be extradited because Attorney-General Nicola Roxon was too slow to complete the paperwork and did not properly consider the case, a Federal Court judge found yesterday.”

    A terrоrіst now walks off scot-free because our Attorney-General was busy picking a new colour for peoples cigarette packs. What an utter fiasco this government is.

  95. Liamj

    @ Patriot – seems you can’t see a difference between accused and convicted, and can’t see a benefit in curbing a deadly industry that kills far more than false flag ‘terrorism’ ever will. I hope your kids don’t smoke, and you don’t get to see it kill them. But do keep posting, we need the cautionary example you provide.

  96. Hamis Hill

    Adam Smith identified labour and capital, combined, as the source of wealth and argued that for wealth to continue to be produced that wealth had to be proportionately distributed, back, to both labour and capital.
    Capitalists ignore this reality and argue that all wealth production should be given as reward only to capital.
    When considering the costs and rewards of devolving public sevice functions in the original article
    the reactive ignoramuses argue that capital will provide these services when the reality of “capitalism” means that unless labour provides these services they will not be provided at all.
    When the modern co-operative movement, with its principles of using economic surpluses to fund their own services of health, housing, education and even banking, is argued as a solution to this question all certain posters can provide by way of contribution is to ignore the original article altogether.
    Veryifying Adam Smith’s assertion that “Capitalists have an interest to deceive and oppress the public”. Hence the intentionally disruptive postings of reactive ignoramuses.
    The Wealth of Nations can be downloaded from a site referencing “Gutenberg” and “Project”.
    With hints to SB patriot etc.

  97. Peter Ormonde

    Even worse Hamis, they expect us to respect them these capitalists – as though it is they who make us rich, who put food on our tables and give us jobs. We should kowtow and give them more of what they want – which of course is everything within arm’s reach.

    I’m actually a fan of producer co-ops myself – hence the interest in Mondragon… an interesting mix of an agricultural and manufacturing co-op that does far more than provide services and low margin retail outlets for members, but also provides a measure of respect and participatory management that is virtually absent and diminishing from the private sector here and elsewhere.

    Australia has always had a feeble excuse for a capitalist class, depending on the life support of tariffs and government largesse through land grants to its earliest days.

    Perhaps we will see a renewed interest in co-operatives to achieve better market leverage and get out from under the market duopoly that is crushing Australian agriculture – horticulture in particular.

    As for suggesting the local trolls go and read up on that most sensible of Scots Mr Smith – Buckleys and none I’m afraid. But it would be a good thing – for us all.

  98. Peter Ormonde

    Aw sh*t! I forgot it’s Sunday … and the Holy Sisters of Moderation are off at mass and family flagellation – together with all the vertical members of Cr*key’s staff. I shall have to wait until they creep out into the sunlight later in the afternoon nursing their hangovers.

    But Hamis, somewhere in limbo – awaiting the imprimatur of Mother Censorious – is an attempt to engage you in conversation re co-ops and Mr Smith.

  99. Patriot


    Documents filed by Mr Santhirarajah’s lawyers as part of a Federal Court challenge reveal he had engaged a US attorney to seek a “negotiated outcome” with prosecutors, but ran out of money to pay him. The documents show Mr Santhirarajah offered to give information to the AFP, who showed little interest, and ended up giving an extraordinary statement to the government, which failed to dissuade Ms Roxon from approving his extradition earlier this year. His lawyers say Mr Santhirarajah’s statement “makes it clear he does not deny involvement in the events which are the subject of the charges”.

    Seems you don’t understand the difference between accusation and confession.

  100. Owen Gary


    Yes well they have poisoned our food, the next logical attack was the water supply.
    Over 6oo chemicals & heavy metals pumped into the aquifers, apparently we are not privvy to what those chemicals are as lead, mercury, benzene etc are all intellectual property these days.

    Never mind when we get even sicker and are on deaths door, the petrochemical industry will call on the pharmaceutical industry (their buddies) to pump some more toxic drugs into us to finish us off & make a few $$ in the process.

    Yes those “free marketeers” with their “big society” slogans do have our best intersests at heart just so long as they can make those pesky regulatory peoples disappear.

  101. Patriot

    Have a look at w w w .australianterroristdatabase. com/atd/. Dare I say it, they all look the same!

  102. Peter Ormonde

    Only to the iggnerant Mr Paddy riot.

    Gee this bloke really likes hanging around in the slime covered end of the pond. Have a look at the website link he’s posted above. From there follow the links to Robert Sepncer – a hate grouper from the US who is gracing us with a speaking tour. If you’re a careful reader you’ll also see a mention to the Q Society of Australia – not a link – you’ll have to google it up… really ugly stupid anti-islamic stuff.

    I wonder what country these folks think they live in – where they think it is they “love” – these hate mongers.

    Cr*key should be ashamed to allow such anonymous vilifiers to publish this sort of shit on their pages while it’s “moderation” system relentlessly hunts down naughty words, or mention of folks with lawyers.

    Deeply pathetic on several counts.

  103. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    Suzanne Blake, way earlier in this comment section you raised 10 points about the Labor/Greens alliance including:
    “10. Creating marine reserves without proper community consultation”.
    I live in North Queensland quite close to the HQs of the (Commonwealth) Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) and the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS). Without much direct connection I have been aware for several years of the monitoring, assessment, reporting and public education about existing and proposed marine parks and the extensive and ongoing consultation with commercial, game and recreational fishers – especially since the expansion of Green Zones ages ago in the Howard years. There are several public documents doing the rounds about the Coral Sea Marine Park (eg.Ceccarelli, D. M. (2011) Australia’s Coral Sea: A Biophysical Profile) and local newspapers often report on some of the issues – with or without balance. The point I am making is that in this community at least, you’d have to have your head underwater to not know about and be able to avail yourself of information on the marine reserves plan. I don’t know what has happened in other parts of Australia but I would imagine that in every relevant locality (certainly metro capitals) some form of formal public announcement, invitation and consultation has taken place – at the very least with ‘stakeholder groups’, though of course that may not involve a letter box dropped pamphlet in every mailbox or placed in your hand personally by your Federal Member of Parliament. Of course it has always been up on the ‘net.
    Your point is not about consultation at all. It’s about what you think is “proper”. Since you have announced publicly that everything, without exception, to do with the Gillard government is improper it is unlikely that you will deviate from this self-imposed dogma when discussing national marine protected areas. I’m sorry you couldn’t take up the opportunity to contribute to the debate when it was conducted over the past few years but perhaps this is not an area where you often go?
    Also, I would have thought that the Greens “Denticare” policy, which now appears to be Gillard Labor government policy, could be fingered as a suitable No.11. Minority (chastened) Labor government is turning out to be a pretty good political compromise for these straitened times. What do you reckon?

  104. Patriot

    Calm yourself, Comrade Ormonde. All I linked to was a page of mugshots and CVs of “Australians” charged with terrorism. Where you went to from there was entirely your choice.

    Perhaps the findings of the Pew Research Centre meet your standards of rigour:

    “Majorities of MusIims in Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan and Nigeria say they would favor making harsh punishments such as stoning people who commit adultery; whippings and cutting off of hands for crimes like theft and robbery; and the death penalty for those who leave the MusIim religion the law in their country.

    About eight-in-ten MusIims in Egypt and Pakistan (82% each) endorse the stoning of people who commit adultery; 70% of Muslims in Jordan and 56% of Nigerian Muslims share this view. Muslims in Pakistan and Egypt are also the most supportive of whippings and cutting off of hands for crimes like theft and robbery; 82% in Pakistan and 77% in Egypt favor making this type of punishment the law in their countries, as do 65% of Muslims in Nigeria and 58% in Jordan.

    When asked about the death penalty for those who leave the Muslim religion, at least three-quarters of Muslims in Jordan (86%), Egypt (84%) and Pakistan (76%) say they would favor making it the law; in Nigeria, 51% of Muslims favor and 46% oppose it.

    Charming, peaceful people.

  105. Patriot

    To put that in perspective, letting apostates live is less popular over than voting for the ALP is down here.

  106. Patriot

    Big Mоsque, anyone? Take your time to think about it. There’s no leaving once you’ve signed up.

  107. fractious

    Someone somewhere above said something about public servants earning a quarter of a million$ or above and blathering some drivel about fat and holidays. It’s news to me that bus drivers, public elf nurses, teechaz, hospital cleaners, skool janitors and CityRail platform staff earn that much and I is shocked, shocked I tell yer.

    Sarcasm aside, in the last year the public srrvice has been ransacked – 20,000+ sacked in Qld, 15,000+ (the “upper limit” not disclosed) in Fatty O Barrell’s fiefdom, Dog nose how many in Baillieu’s bailiwick, 15,000 or more at Cth level plus undisclosed numbers in SA, WA and NT. That’s of the order of 150,000 or more people (I stress *PEOPLE*, not simply “bureaucrats” or “public servants”) who are now (or will be shortly) looking for work and reducing their spending and not contributing their expertise and knowledge and experience in the pursuit of government services and (largely) a better place to live in. And let’s not mention the post-grad quals, the extra-curricular knowledge, the years of hard-won experience and the personal dedication to their profession the majority of public service personnel generally exhibit.

    So Messrs Patriot, Blake, Whizz et al, when the trains derail and the buses don’t run and you’re stuck in a traffic jam on your way to a private hospital whose fees you can’t afford to get your sprog’s edumacashional difficulties looked at because they’re at a religious private school since the public education system collapsed and the smoke from the blazing building next to the road where you’re stuck is getting up your nose (the privatised fire brigade management is ignoring it cos it’s not big enough to make them any money) and the public services complaints hotline (outsourced to Mongolia as Sri Lanka is too expensive) is permanently engaged… who ya gonna call?

  108. fractious

    @ Peter Ormonde

    Love your work Peter, but can you please leave the English-bashing alone. It’s tiresome. And irrelevant.

  109. Owen Gary

    Pu*#y-riot or Pernicious Rot,

    Your friends at Monsanto etc are killing us off faster than any imaginary terrorist.

  110. fractious

    @ Suzanne Blake

    “Swan should be string up for allowing Cubbie to be sold to the Chinese.”

    Why? A lot of the coal and CSG is Chinese-owned and I don’t recall you objecting to either the Noalition or the Alternative Liberal Party when they sanctioned that.

  111. Hamis Hill

    As part of his contribution to the debate on the costs and rewards of devolving public service functions Patriot could give us the benefit of his wisdom on all things muslim and tell us all about Islamic Banking which has been very prominent in our near neighbour and Commonwealth partner Malaysia.
    Apparently Islamic Banking depends upon profits and not interest payments for the repayment of loans and favours training up co-operatives for the investment of loans and works to ensure the profitability so that loan repayments can be guaranteed.
    Whereas “Western Banking” requires collateral and interest and no banking loss on loan defaults except for the Great Big Global Financial Crisis.
    The Costs and Rewards of Devolving Public Service Functions, what everyone else is writing about Patriot.
    Can’t imagine you doing very well in a good old fashioned Town Hall Meeting, you know, Democracy?

  112. fractious

    @ “Patriot” (is this irony in action I ask myself)

    “Hear about all those people who died from eating organic sprouts from Germany? 31 dead thanks to organic farming.”

    All sprouts need washing before consumption. The packets even instruct purchasers to do so, whether organic or non-organic or for all I know inorganic. Several silly German consumers does not an adequate excuse for Fukushima fukups make, you silly boy.

  113. Owen Gary

    Wasn’t ole Barnaby jumping over the farmers fences to look into the CSG destruction of aquifers, obviously been gagged with a mouthful of $100 bills or maybe it just slipped his mind of late.

    I bet a lot of farmers are re-thinking their position on the Nationals, after being sold out time after time. The sooner most of them align themselves to the Greens the better off they will be.

  114. Patriot

    Fractious, you oaf, I do not value your opinion!

  115. Owen Gary


    Ahh yes the “big society global financial crisis/ponzi”

    check out:- Inside Job – narrated by Matt Damon

    See how big society worked for Iceland.

  116. fractious

    @ Patriot

    Really? Life is full of bitter disappointments…

  117. Patriot

    You’re more of an inane nuisance than a bitter disappointment.

  118. fractious

    “You’re more of an insane nuisance than a bitter disappointment.”

    There, FTFY.

    But really, if you were honest you’d have called yourself “Nationalist”.

  119. Patriot

    Yeah, whatever, child. If you can’t come up with a body count from the Fukushima reactors you should stop wasting my time and stick to posting inane giberrish on First Dog. He can summarily delete my comments when I make a fool of him and his minions like you.

  120. izatso?

    thats not it ….. check w/leaks page

  121. Peter Ormonde

    Mr Fractious,

    I will attempt to restrain my seething anger at the accursed English ruling class if it offends. It helps if I am not reading an Irish history of the famine which I have now finished. Still seething though.

    Not necessarily irrelevant while we still have notions of “our British heritage”, even Great Britain…Britain itself is a con of a notion, much less a nation. We got the best of Ireland, Scotland and Wales and the working bits of Northern England here … but the dross we brought in from the shop-keeper classes and worse … the folks who thought Dickens was a communist? … I wish we could send them all home.

  122. fractious

    @ Patriot (Can I call you Pat?)

    “If you can’t come up with a body count from the Fukushima reactors you should stop wasting my time…”

    But I enjoy wasting your time.

    “… and stick to posting inane giberrish on First Dog. He can summarily delete my comments when I make a fool of him and his minions like you.”

    Well I can’t speak for anyone else, but if you intend to make a fool of me, I have to tell you (a) to take a number and join the queue, and (b) you’re about 30 years too late.

    Best of luck, Pat.

  123. Peter Ormonde


    I live in a solid Nat seat. My neighbours face elections with a grim resignation…. “no one will do anything to help here but at least he’s a local and we know him”. It’s a despairing prospect.

    But interestingly I have not found a single local who has anything but scorn for Barnaby Bombastus Joyce. He is at best dismissed with a grunt or a snort.

    I’m hoping Barney gets into his stride and starts speaking out more openly on issues of public, national and global consequences. Makes Joh look rational and articulate.

    I just love the notion of these self-proclaimed free market fans like Barnaby leaping in to stop the administrators getting the best price they can for the failed Cubbie monster. I wonder if Abbott would be talking compensation to them for the loss. Not on your life. All bluster and phoney nationalism – but at the end of the exercise the Chinese value or farms more than we do. The ugly truth of it.

  124. Hamis Hill

    The information monopoly enjoyed by The Nats is about to be wiped out by the NBN, then those poor ba tards from the bush will be able to get a truer picture of things.

  125. Peter Ormonde

    Depends on how cleverly we use the NBN I suspect Hamis.

    The thing that upsets folks about here is watching the TV or listening to the radio, you wouldn’t think the bush really existed…. that the potholes and the dangerous bridges around here are too small for a national media to be bothered by.

    If we use it for narrowcasting – and for listening – it will be well worth it.

  126. Hamis Hill

    Peter, when I used to read The Brisbane Courier- Mail and Queensland Country Life down at the Good regional city library I noticed that there was absolutely no overlap between articles.
    Definitely the city and the bush.
    The city press breeds paranoia about the bush possibly as part of a real estate scam to push up prices.
    This whole minority rule by the conservatives ploy depends upon a coalition which in turn depends upon manipulating the country vote.
    Have a look at the former National party independents who denied the conservatives government.
    And mainly because of conservative opposition to the NBN.
    Needs to be nurtured and grown.
    I spent ten years working in the country while living in the city, spending half the time away from home. Saw the “Get Big or Get Out” banker debt scam more than decimate country communities so have an inkling of your position.

  127. Owen Gary


    I just love ole Barna’s attack dog style rant on national tv, to give the impression he’s really persecuting the big boys when in fact he is facilitating them. You would have a better Idea than me if he is your local gun dog.

    I just never hear anything of his so called proposals after the fact.

  128. Suzanne Blake

    Next Union Cab off the Rank

    “ONE of Australia’s largest unions is embroiled in a fresh finances scandal, with its president accused of spending thousands of dollars on allegedly “inappropriate” items.

    In another challenge to the union movement, Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU) national president Dan Dwyer is accused of spending tens of thousands of dollars “without explanation”.

    Senior officials in his own union also accuse him of “engaging in self-indulgence” and want Fair Work Australia to investigate, in shades of the Health Services Union scandal that has dogged the Gillard government.

    Documents obtained by The Daily Telegraph reveal the CEPU’s communications division – which represents Australia Post, Telstra and NBN workers – faces a damaging internal rift with Mr Dwyer, who is accused of “alleged inappropriate expenditure” since he was elected as the divisional secretary last year.

    Among a raft of “personal items”, Mr Dwyer is alleged to have purchased a Volkswagen Passat worth $39,000 “without authority”. The Daily Telegraph spoke to a number of CEPU officials – some of whom supported Mr Dwyer’s election campaign – who now want the FWA to examine “matters of concern”.

    These include spending on air fares, “unknown cash reimbursements”, consultant expenses, Qantas Club membership, salary increases and “personal membership” fees.

    According to a February internal memo, Mr Dwyer was accused of “engaging in self-indulgence in approving such personal expenditure without authority and at the expense of the paying members of the union”.

    At a phone hook-up last Tuesday, officials raised “major concerns” over financial management and expenditure, and called for an “independent investigation and audit to take place”.” todays Tele

  129. izatso?

    good. Wall Street next ? great !

  130. JMNO

    A quick and not very developed comment:

    Robb’s approach misunderstands how our democracy works, I think.

    I spend quite a lot of time talking about governance to organisations set up by refugees who come from countries where there is no effective government, no rule of law, where who you know and how much you can pay can be the way you get something and in some cases where civil wars have been running so long that there is really no government at all.

    How to explain why it is important to comply with accountability requirements, for example to lodge that annual return with the associations’ incorporation authority?

    How to explain what role that financial return plays in the effective running of the association? (Accountability to members on how funds are spent)

    And more broadly where does the lodging of this return fit in our system of providing the freedom to people to set up and run associations without daily government interference? (Reassurance to funding bodies that the association can spend grants, etc responsibly, evidence to governments and other organisations that the association is being run lawfully, etc)

    (Some nation states don’t even have laws permitting the setting up of associations – the government sets up those it is prepared to permit.)

    I do it through explaining how the rule of law works, the importance of a paper trail to the administration of the rule of law and for those administering particular laws monitoring its legal administration.

    Associations law is state-based but the same principle applies at the Federal level. The Federal Parliament passes a law to enable a program to be run, public servants develop the paperwork to administer and monitor the effectiveness of program delivery. Once the law and the mechanisms for running a program are in place, then the program can (in an ideal world) be run accountably, according to the law and not subject to the caprices of political interference.

    That’s the beauty of democracy and the rule of law over other systems of government. And that is why federal bureaucrats must take responsibility for federal laws and programs.

    There can be arguments about how effectively and zealously they do it (sometimes over-zealously, or sometimes under-zealously eg the insulation program),, whether becoming more and more risk-averse means loading program-delivery organisations with an excess of reporting requirements, whether the processes for applying to deliver programs are too onerous (risk aversion again) and whether Canberra-based public servants are too remote from program and service-delivery to be able to do it effectively.

    This is probably what should be looked at, not shoving responsibility on to another level of government.

  131. Suzanne Blake

    Here you go Jimmy

    when you expect a lift with July Retail Sales

    ” release of worse-than-expected economic data”

    The drop came after Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data showed retail trade fell 0.8 per cent in July, which was worse than the market forecast of a 0.2 per cent rise”

  132. Jimmy

    SB –
    Maybe this has something to do with it “By contrast, online purchasing rose by 24 per cent to a record $11.7 billion over the year to July, according to the National Australia Bank online sales index, released last week. Online sales accounted for 5.3 per cent of the retail market, up from 4.9 per cent in January, NAB said”

  133. Owen Gary

    Yes Suze,

    The fall of Rome, Julia’s fault as well.


    “thats not it ….. check w/leaks page”

    What article am I looking for, Im really curious.

  134. Suzanne Blake

    @Owen Gary

    “The fall of” Labor, “Julia’s fault as well”.


    “thats not it �.. check w/leaks page”

    What article am I looking for, Im really curious.

  135. Hamis Hill

    “Empowering local communities to deliver services, rather than government”.
    You SB and crew are not committed to democracy when then cannot even address their own side of politic’s arguments in the original article.
    Those old town hall meetings that delivered regional hospitals which were built by local communities, did they have to put up with mindless, disruptive morons cursing everyone as communists?
    Those “parliamentary decision making procedures” which underpinned both old and new co-operative enterprises are all but extinct.
    The conservative war on democracy is always has the cry “they are all communists”.
    The end of all democracy debate.

  136. Suzanne Blake

    @ Hamis Hill

    You must be kidding?

    Labor record on democracy is shocking. Look at the issues at round 4 – 5 big Unions, is that democracy.

    Branch stacking the list goes on

  137. Hamis Hill

    SB Howierd and the Howierd Heir up to their necks branchstacking their totalitarian friends.
    Anti-democracy, thy name is conservative.
    “They’re all communists” is your catchcry SB because you are against democracy and debate.
    It is a totalitarian trait.

  138. izatso?

    soz, that would be Cable reveals extent of ‘Lapdogery from Swedish govt re Copyright Monopoly’ …… Falkvinge on Infopolicy …. this coertion by US interests needs compliant public service …. my c/paste moded cos luddite

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