Australiaesque

On this past weekend, a friend of Spartacus was recounting his experience with local government when seeking to obtain a residential development application approval.  Not just dealing with Council “officials” but also “Councillors”.

It was a sad tale to hear and only 1 word came to mind when hearing it, Kafkaseque.

Kafkaeque is an expression coined from the writings of Franz Kafka, a German writer of the early 20th Century.  He wrote of people facing bizarre or surrealistic predicaments and incomprehensible social-bureaucratic powers.

Examples include instances in which bureaucracies overpower people, often in a surreal, nightmarish milieu which evokes feelings of senselessness, disorientation, and helplessness.

Bureaucracies overpowering people.  Senselessness, disorientation, and helplessness.  Does this sound familiar?  Anyone every dealt with the ATO or ASIC recently?

But take heart.  It’s only going to get worse.  More public money for school education for no purpose.  Higher and less reliable electricity for no purpose.  French submarines at twice the price for no additional benefit or purpose.

Perhaps a new expression should enter the lexicon – Australiaesque  – an ever growing state effecting policies in no-one’s interests leading to collective economic and social suicide.

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus

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39 Responses to Australiaesque

  1. The Deplorable Barking Toad

    And the new one for ASIC to battle phoenix companies.

    Directors will have to be ID’d with an identity code to become directors. The 100 points ID rule will apply – probably have to supply a TFN to be a director. Prior history may require a security deposit to the ATO.

    Australia Card all over again.

    Cutting red tape.

  2. Arnost

    Honestly – the hoops that the Council makes you jump through to get the DA approved is make work. Just justifying their own existence. No value add and no decision making power whatsoever. Should all be outsourced to an app.

    But what irritates me the most is that half of the rejections for minor renovations and additions are based on a subjective assessment that goes something like “not keeping in look/style of the neighbourhood” or worse the change the look good of the property itself. Of course they will happily force knock down the property to make way for a developer or road.

    (Disclosure: Going through DA request now)

  3. Alexi the Conservative Russian

    How about OzGovernesque

  4. OldOzzie

    Arnost

    I sympathise with you

    Brought across from thread – something-else-for-all-australians-to-be-proud-of

    and I will add to below – Bush Fire Report required from relevant “Bush” Fire Expert for DA for building application on Manly Beachfront – bureaucracy gone mad

    OldOzzie
    #2495797, posted on September 12, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    1 1/2 years for Daughter in Melbourne to get council approval for a simple second storey extension to existing Weatherboard Workers Cottage (Heritage listed of course) of which there have been many done in the local area – jumping thorough hoops and paying for multiple “Expert” Reports (no change to the frontal look of the property – one of the Heritage Requirements) but loads of fees and costs for no obvious reason.

    And you wonder how anything gets done in Australia.

    Similarly in Sydney, wanted to put a “supposedly” planning exempt Pool Cabana above our pool (which is infront yard) -still within boundary distance requirements, supplier suggest a quiet check with local council as reputation of being hard to get on with.

    Wife, anonymously, inquired with town planning female nazi at council town hall – was told, even though in theory the cabana was supposed to be able to be done as planning exempt, as in front yard – verboten – when mentioned other properties in Street with similar structures in Front Yards to front boundary – Garages etc, was told they should not be allowed – mentioned Big Trampolines in Front Yards (of which there are many in area) -again verboten – my wife left her with a final insult that the Tall Brick wall on Front Boundary would hide the proposed cabana as slope to pool would put cabana roof below Front Brick Wall Top – was again told that the front brick wall today would be verboten.

    Never mentioned where we lived in conversation.

  5. John Comnenus

    Venezaustraliaesque

  6. Robber Baron

    Power. These individuals love power. They weild power to show you they are important so take notice and kiss ass.

  7. John Comnenus

    Australians are just like Californians or Chicagoans – desperate to be poor and live in an over regulated, crime ridden ghetto.

  8. Diogenes

    Arnost,
    The worst excess i saw was friends of ours were restoring a heritage listed house, and they wanted to paintthe exterior in authentic colours, so they had a specialist take samples of the bottom most layer of paint, ie the colours the house was first painted, you can’t get more authentic than that. After the job was done council made them repaint in ‘approved’ ‘heritage’ colours. Went as far as the land & environment court, which was sympathetic to friend’s thinking, and their paint specialist demonstrated that no colour on the approved list had ever been applied to anywhere on the house, but rulez is rulez.

  9. Bruce

    This could be the new Australian National Anthem:

  10. max

    fascism at its heart is a philosophy of corporatism, the welding of the interests of governments and large business corporations, in which people with lots of supposed knowledge – we call them “experts” – gain the authority to force others to act in ways that fit the worldview of the “experts.” The State knows best, and those favored by the State – business firms that are politically-connected – are empowered to act in ways that benefit State agents. To make things worse, this corporatism is wrapped in a covering of so-called Populism, which is a fancy way of appealing to the resentments of others. Just as Adoph Hitler appealed to Germany’s poor and marginalized by sounding a Populist message and then creating a corporatist order, so does Elizabeth Warren.

    William L. Anderson

  11. max

    In the 1930s, Hitler was widely viewed as just another protectionist central planner who recognized the supposed failure of the free market and the need for nationally guided economic development. Proto-Keynesian socialist economist Joan Robinson wrote that “Hitler found a cure against unemployment before Keynes was finished explaining it.”
    What were those economic policies? He suspended the gold standard, embarked on huge public works programs like Autobahns, protected industry from foreign competition, expanded credit, instituted jobs programs, bullied the private sector on prices and production decisions, vastly expanded the military, enforced capital controls, instituted family planning, penalized smoking, brought about national health care and unemployment insurance, imposed education standards, and eventually ran huge deficits. The Nazi interventionist program was essential to the regime’s rejection of the market economy and its embrace of socialism in one country.

    Such programs remain widely praised today, even given their failures. They are features of every “capitalist” democracy. Keynes himself admired the Nazi economic program, writing in the foreword to the German edition to the General Theory: “[T]he theory of output as a whole, which is what the following book purports to provide, is much more easily adapted to the conditions of a totalitarian state, than is the theory of production and distribution of a given output produced under the conditions of free competition and a large measure of laissez-faire.”
    Lew Rockwell

  12. JohnA

    But take heart. It’s only going to get worse.

    So I took heart and lo, it DID get worse!

  13. A tree that’s on its way to destroying a pergola. Can’t remove it unless an equivalent replacement is planted in the same place. They get paid from our taxes & rates for wise decisions like this.

  14. stackja

    And Kev 07 then Juliar

    The government’s anti-carbon white paper is Kevin Rudd’s long, very long, national suicide note. It commits his government to a policy to destroy the economy, albeit by slow strangulation. But remorselessly, inevitably, nevertheless. To absolutely no purpose.
    Terry McCrann

  15. Vagabond

    We had a tree in the front garden that was obviously dead. Before being allowed to have it removed we had to get a death certificate from an approved arborist (more expensive than getting one for a human) and then a permit (more charges). The tree lopper was cheaper than an undertaker though. I’m burning the resultant firewood now, thus doing my bit for CO2 levels.

  16. ArthurB

    A recent experience: we had to get council approval for a small structure in our back yard. While the council employee was here, he noticed a retaining wall which we had built, to replace an old one made from railway sleepers. Unfortunately for us, the retaining wall was 50 cm high, and you need approval for anything over 40 cm. So: we had a consulting engineer come to inspect the wall, to make sure that it was sound, then the engineer noticed that we had made small changes in the level of soil, so we had to pay a surveyor to check the levels. This little exercise ended up costing us about $1500. I was not amused.

  17. Peter

    Every state needs to pass legislation to restrict the functions of local government to cleaning the streets, picking up garbage and dog catching. The regulatory impact of local government on households and the economy is eye watering and largely overlooked by state and federal government. It is a primary impediment to small business creation. Ideally we should get rid of local government altogether but no Australian state government has the balls to do it. Hence my suggestion – restrict their functions by law. Also restrict the rate of increase in their revenues through rates. In SA the rate of increase in council rates has been far above that of the CPI for many years allowing them to vote large pay increases for CEOs and other officials while expanding their functions far beyond what the public want or expect or need.

  18. Crossie

    but loads of fees and costs for no obvious reason.

    Of course there is an obvious reason, all those friends of councillors working in the council bureaucracy need to be paid their handsome salaries. Patronage is not cheap.

    Decades ago when I wanted to go back to work once the kids were in school I first checked with the local council and was told that there were no vacancies. When I mentioned it to a friend she said I had to know someone on the council to get a job there, she said that’s how her husband got his job there. That changed my view of our council and explained a few things.

  19. serene tiger

    We had septic tanks in our area. We built a granny flat. My son lives in the main house and I live in the granny flat. The newly built houses in our area have to have waste recycling systems running on electricity in spite of the septic tanks do the job perfectly. Ours is not not newly built, however the Council FORCED us to to install a $10.000 system, because – I don’t know because of what! Something to do with the number of bedrooms. Just sheer madness – but a very expensive madness. Now, every time there is a power black out the system gets damaged. The company who maintains it have to be paid yearly. Life is very frustrating these days.

  20. max

    Peter
    #2496177, posted on September 13, 2017 at 8:18 am :

    name of the game is globalism ( one world government )

    you can not control what happens in Canberra.
    you can not control what happens in ( Victoria, NSW … )
    you have more chance to control your local council — that is why all taxes and decisions should be made there

    all around world and in history — small countries, city states get richer and better managed than whole states —because smaller is easier to control.

    in your family you know if some one is good or bad, or your church, club, small village — but in big city or state, with big power.

  21. Rabz

    Every state needs to pass legislation to restrict the functions of local government to cleaning the streets, picking up garbage and dog catching. The regulatory impact of local government on households and the economy is eye watering and largely overlooked by state and federal government.

    Excellent points.

  22. John Bayley

    I had a chat the other day with a friend who moved permanently to Espiritu Santo (Vanuatu) a couple of years ago. He and his wife have since built a house there so I asked how difficult that was.
    He said that the sole condition the local elders (sort of proto-council) requested was that the “the house must be nice”.
    Maybe we should try that with our councils here in Australia?

  23. Stan

    Vanuatu is sounding like a better and better option. No income tax as well.

  24. duncanm

    Vanuatu is sounding like a better and better option. No income tax as well.

    don’t be so sure:

    Location:
    Port Vila, Vanuatu
    INFLUENCE TRANSFORMATIONAL CHANGE WITH OXFAM

    Job Description:

    Oxfam is seeking a passionate gender justice advocate and skilled program manager to lead our Gender Justice and Livelihoods program.

  25. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    Just don’t let Council know what you are doing if it is something minor and you are in an old house where the provenance of renovations is hard to determine. They will always find a way to make you pay them money if you invite them near your property.

    And don’t get me started on Councils and trees. Same applies. Keep them off your property, and keep your trees under control while they are smallish and attract no attention. Tree Nazis abound on local Councils, because largely the ‘residents’ groups are all greenies of some sort of another and they think they are saving the planet one tree at a time. They hire completely lunatic ‘aborists’. We had one tell us we could remove a couple of twigs on a Jacaranda, but only one finger’s width, that were abutting our upstairs verandah and poking out visitors’ eyes. Very generous of this hideous little know-it-all female weasel. We had a big storm and it turned out to have very fat fingers.

    We await the next big storm with great anticipation.

  26. old bloke

    Kafkaeque is an expression coined from the writings of Franz Kafka, a German writer of the early 20th Century.

    Kafka wrote in German but he was a Czech J ew from Prague.

    Local governments used to be understandable, the councillors were corrupt local real estate agents whose sole purpose was to rezone land for their mates for a small consideration, nowadays the councillors are an odd assortment of greenies and other strange radicals who want to implement the Local 21 agenda.

    I think the old days of graft were better.

  27. JonSan

    My story from a couple of year ago building on an acreage: Council insisted that we had to have a bushfire assessment. Sure enough, it comes back as “extreme” so we had to fork out an addition $12,000 for stainless steel screens on all windows, tempered glass on all windows, gutter guards, ember shields on doors etc. I spoke to my next door neighbours after we finished the build and moved in and found out that their bushfire assessments came back as “low risk” even though they are closer to, and upslope of extensive bushland. There is a saying that “one is born every minute”. I think that applies to me…

  28. Sparkle Motion

    Just a heads up for anyone concerned with the lack of productivity from the higher education sector, The University of Sydney staff are on strike today.

    Pretty sure most of you noticed, normal service will resume tomorrow.

  29. Diogenes

    I just hit another “Australiaesque” today – at state level.

    I was making some enquiries about getting teacher registration in Qld, as part of my cunning plan to summer in NSW & winter in Qld. So I know I need to be registered in Qld and looked at the process – beautiful I can apply for mutual recognition, a very easy and straightforward process.

    Whoa not so fast – MR does not apply to NSW as it does not have a teacher’s registration authority, but it has a teacher accreditation authority . Don’t ask me what the difference is – I have no idea. We are accredited to the same teaching standards, and actually have tighter requirements to teach, and do more to retain our registration accreditation than another state, yet MR does not apply, and I have to apply using the same process a newly graduated teacher does with a coupe of extra wrinkles. As I am off sick today, I have started assembling what they want, already have a wodge of documents that are straining the plastic sleeve they are in.

    Bangs head on table slowly but rhythmically,

  30. H B Bear

    NAZIs used their brown shirts. Australian regulators use their brown cardigans.

  31. Tim Neilson

    Hence my suggestion – restrict their functions by law. Also restrict the rate of increase in their revenues through rates. In SA the rate of increase in council rates has been far above that of the CPI for many years allowing them to vote large pay increases for CEOs and other officials while expanding their functions far beyond what the public want or expect or need.

    Here in CFMEUistan we’ve had exactly the same track record from our local councils. Dan the CFMEU sock puppet legislated a cap on council rate increases (2% or 2.5% per year), and the People’s Republic of Yarra proposed to start charging people a garbage collection fee in addition to rates so they could increase their total money grab by about 10% – public backlash forced them to drop the idea, and they’ve had to stick within the cap.
    They’re crying poor – but they still propose to spend ratepayers’ money on some monument to the “stolen generations”. Restricting their functions by law is a great idea – but needs to be backed up with the right of any ratepayer to sue individual councillors to recover (for the municipality) ultra vires expenditure that the councillor voted for.

  32. Alex Davidson

    Like others I have several stories to tell about the harm done to me and others by a council drunk with power. While these examples are useful to prove the point, we need to be thinking about how to turn things around.

    We all know it’s possible to remove a tree branch by branch, but unless you get rid of the root it is quite likely to sprout again, especially if it’s an Australian tree. In the case in point, the root is the idea that the government owns us and our property, and that’s what we need to be challenging.
    Of course when dealing with the front line troops, the first response is likely to be along the lines of the Nuremberg defence: “I’m just doing my job”. One can then enquire as to whether they are being forced to do it, or do they believe in what they are doing.

    Moving on, the next response is likely to be something about “there has to be rules, we can’t just have open slather” … well yes, provided we are talking about the rule of law, and not simply the rule of men and women. That opens the way for pointing out that the rule of law means respecting property rights and the concept of ownership, something largely absent from their rules and regulations, except when it comes to deciding who to target for plunder.

    Finally comes the coup-de-tat: a lecture on property rights; how it evolved as a peaceful means of determining who has, and who does not have, the right to exercise control over economic resources; how it is the foundation of law and all free and prosperous societies; how the council and government attempts at separating control from ownership is undermining that foundation and replacing it with nothing more than ‘might is right’, taking us further and further down the road to serfdom.

    If enough of us are prepared to stand our ground and adopt this approach we might get somewhere. No bureaucrat likes to deal with difficult proles. And given that they all talk among themselves, what better way of spreading our message?

  33. duncanm

    Yarras a great example.

    From their 2015/16 annual report
    – 170M income
    – 76M (47%) on salaries

    They report that the top 5 ratepayer’s concetrns are (quite reasonably)
    – car parking
    – building/development
    – traffic management
    – parks
    – walking & cycling tracks

    Their satisfaction rating on simple things like garbage is down to 58% (from 82% the previous year).

    So they give $10k to some sort of circus project for Aborignal Elders (work that one out!), another $10k to foster ‘community connectedness (sic)’ with prostitutes (I’m guessing its not handing out vouchers to locals for their services), $20k for a ‘black harmony gathering’, and a bunch of other shit adding up to over $2M.

    Councillors spend anywhere from $27k to $65k on ‘unclassified’ expenses, one managed to spend nearly $13k on computer equipment.

    There’s a council staff of over 1100 – that’s more than 1 per 100 head of population in Yarra, or 1 for every 30 households. They have a dedicated ‘gender equity policy advisor’

    It takes a median 4 months (up 11 days from previous year) to decide planning applications, with less than 45% decided within 2 months.

    Senior councillor remuneration is up to $280k (1). There are 7 above $200k, 34 above $150k. Just 50 execs were paid $8.3M

    Council satisfaction is below 70%.

    To give you a comparison, my (suburban) council has a similar income ($190M), yet managed to spend $43M (< 25%) on salaries

  34. OldOzzie

    Alex Davidson
    #2496464, posted on September 13, 2017 at 12:50 pm
    Like others I have several stories to tell about the harm done to me and others by a council drunk with power. While these examples are useful to prove the point, we need to be thinking about how to turn things around.

    Of course when dealing with the front line troops, the first response is likely to be along the lines of the Nuremberg defence: “I’m just doing my job”. One can then enquire as to whether they are being forced to do it, or do they believe in what they are doing.

    Does not work with the front line troops – speaking with supremo female planning nazi in same local council, late 80s on behalf of street residents fighting State Government development of ex-roads land, said the proposal being supported by Council Planning Staff would screw Residents with traffic.

    Senior Planning Lady’s response to the Petition of Residents of our Local Area against the plan, was “I could not give a stuff about the Local Residents, I don’t live in the Council Area”.

    Pointed out we paid her salary as Local Council Ratepayers, did not matter a damn.

    PS – We the Residents won over Council and the State Government backed off their proposal and went with ours.

  35. Senior councillor remuneration is up to $280k (1). There are 7 above $200k, 34 above $150k. Just 50 execs were paid $8.3M

    My father was a councillor in the city of Bayswater in Perth in the late 80s/early 90s.

    There was no remuneration. It was volunteer.

  36. duncanm

    Senior councillor remuneration

    my bad — I meant executive.

  37. Pyrmonter

    ASIC? Threatening? A 17yo 50kg 160cm tall female Arts antifa fresher at Sydney could teach them something about effective threats. Can’t regulate their way out of a damp paper bag. Fraud and abuse of statutory powers are rampant; they can barely muster the strength to “de-authorize” bankrupts from acting as company directors, auditors and authorized representatives.

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