Vicki Campion guest post. It’s a one-sided match

IT takes a special person from inner Sydney who can construct a brief for a minister about an issue in Bourke – but that is exactly how we staff our public servants in Australia. Does it make sense that the Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications Department only has two per cent of staff (53) in regional areas, with the remaining 95 per cent in Canberra, central Melbourne and central Sydney?

Or that the Agriculture and Environment portfolio, home to 9608 staff tasked with understanding the country, only has 1236 (13 per cent) in regional Australia with the rest in the CBD capitals?

This could be why regional Australians wait for three weeks for a doctor’s appointment, have to drive to the nearest capital to get cancer treatment, and getting internet or phone signal requires a high ridge and good luck.

Police say thieves steal what they can see, unfortunately, the more politicians see of Canberra, the more advice they take from it.

Of any state or territory it is only Canberra, home to most of our public servants who compile and write the ministerial briefs, which many a dozy minister sleepwalks through signing, that has voted to create a Green-Labor Coalition.

Only five people (0.08 per cent) in the Health portfolio are employed in regional Australia and none of them are writing briefs for a minister to sign. It’s easy to advocate for wind towers when you never need to live next to one – like the City of Sydney which rather than living beside wind factories themselves, encourages them to be built over NSW farms.

In country areas there is a growing discussion about Australia being powered by nuclear, but not in Canberra where the Green-Labor Coalition government is surveying owners about forcing solar power on tenanted properties.

Nearly 90 per cent of public servants in the Education department work in the three main capitals, with just one per cent (59 staff) in regional areas.

That could be why uni students are being asked to turn in assignments on our need for a global government, while kids are indoctrinated with the idea that we are all inherently racist, male students must apologise for being male and, above all, the planet is dying and we are at fault.

This has a morbid correlation with a sky-high teen suicide rate, and youth mental illness is at an all-time high. Perhaps a more positive message might help.

One in three Australians live in the regions but the people in the departments who are instrumental in governing the country overwhelmingly do not.

The vast majority of the nearly 150,000 public servants who send briefs to ministers who change the culture of Australia, work in either Canberra, central Sydney or central Melbourne. If you told them they would have to live in Julia Creek or Rooty Hill, forget about global warming, they would meltdown all by themselves. Dictating policy from the CBD creates a government of the inner-city for the inner city.

The juxtaposition of this was Wednesday, when masses drove thousands of kilometres to Townsville, where league is celebrated with religious zeal, imprinting a picture of a terrace of impassioned maroons in regional North Queensland to State of Origin memory.

The great new stadium itself is a cultural reflection of North Queensland communities, the other stadium in Canberra, called Parliament House, not so much.

Few of the cheering, booing, swearing maroons would have been able to name half of Australia’s cabinet, but they could name the whole team, where they played, and probably the other side.

In Canberra, their pre-game entertainment is the fascination of the 2050 zero emissions target, but how many driving from Mount Isa to the new stadium were talking about that?

If people could go to Question Time and yell playing advice from the gallery as they did from North Queensland’s grandstands, then what fascinates the mostly grey players in Canberra’s pit might be different.

On Flinders St, Townsville, amid the passion for footy and the pride in hosting the State of Origin for the first time, you did not hear a whisper of the climate conference at Glasgow – and they wouldn’t care unless the stadium of Canberra imposed their world view upon them. But it does and that is the problem.

To understand an issue enough to develop national policy, we must live it. Only a regional experience erases a CBD prejudice.

You don’t play Origin unless you are the best – that’s why tens of thousands turn up to watch and why advertising during the game is so expensive – if the Origin coaches picked their team the way Canberra picked cabinet, the centre would be a plump, little, bald bloke who was owed a few preselection favours.

Origin prides itself on players coming from every corner of the state, bureaucracy picks from a handful of suburbs.

No TV station has a bidding war on Question Time, it struggles to pull an audience even when it’s there for free – maybe it’s because the game they are playing is one the footy fans feel they have no skin in.

On the field they are loud and heard, but to take their issues to Canberra? Nobody listens anyway.

This entry was posted in Australian Story, Guest Post. Bookmark the permalink.

51 Responses to Vicki Campion guest post. It’s a one-sided match

  1. Petros says:

    This is the stuff that the Nationals used to own. Not so in Queensland anymore since Springborg killed them off with the merger with the Liberals.

  2. Angus Black says:

    Absolutely nailed it, Vicki.

    Though you forgot to mention that these same inner-city based public servants (and their media enablers) utterly despise rural and regional communities and everything dear to them.

    It’s not just pig ignorance and “out of sight, out of mind” – there’s a level of deep loathing too.

  3. John Brumble says:

    Tbf, most of the QLD team did play like plump little bald blokes.

  4. egg_ says:

    How many retards in the bush are ex City slickers?
    Sorry, but I’ve experienced my share of white anting bush numpties.
    The City attracts the best of the best from all over, which is NOT the case in the bush.

  5. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    Trump famously tried to move public servants out of DC. The screeching and howling was awesome! Mostly he gave up, but he did manage to get a part of the Department of Agriculture to move to Kansas, where there’s slightly more agriculture going on than in Washington DC. And in a rare case of not overturning the orange one Joe isn’t moving them back.

    Transplanted USDA agencies will stay in Kansas City, says Vilsack (27 Apr)

    Despite complaints the Trump administration needlessly uprooted them, two USDA research agencies will stay in Kansas City rather than return to the D.C. area, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Monday.

    Not sure how long this will last – selfless government scientists do like their perks.

    So yes there’re good reasons to get the public servants to be near to their coalfaces (can I say that?) Agriculture should be moved to Wagga Wagga, Environment to Tassie, Indigenous Affairs to Alice Springs, Defence to Singleton and Treasury to Kalgoorlie where they can meditate on how to extract actual wealth before their houses fall into the Super Pit.

  6. John Brumble says:

    So as a competent representative of the bush, you’d be advocating for reduced regulation, reduce waste in the cities and increased freedoms then. No? Just more of OPM? Righto.

  7. Roger says:

    Most of what is wrong with our federation stems from Canberra’s arrogation of income tax rights from the states under the pretext of the war emergency in 1942.

    Defund and devolve the Leviathan.

    If we must put up with government incompetence, let it be at the most local level possible.

  8. Rosie says:

    How many of these city based public servants grew up in the bush?

    By all means move them all to Tamworth.

    It won’t make an iota of difference to Dubbo but whatever.

    Country good.
    City bad.

  9. Des Deskperson says:

    Wishful thinking. There is no evidence that expensive and disruptive relocation of APS employees to ‘rural and regional’ Australia would improve the quality of policy advice.

    It’s the Ministers and the government these days that ‘change the culture of Australia.’ APS employees can put up as many briefs as they like, it won’t matter if Ministers don’t like what they are being told, and I’ve already posted here the about the stuff I’m hearing all over Canberra now about senior APS people ‘massaging’ briefs and advice to make sure they contain nothing that might disturb the Minister.

    So it doesn’t matter if an APS employee lives in Braddon or Bourke, if they keep putting stuff up that the Minister doesn’t want to hear, they will find themselves in a spot of bother.

    Ms Campion might gain a better idea of the contemporary balance of power between bureaucrats and Ministers if she asks her current partner about what happened to Paul Grimes, former head of the Department of Agriculture, in 2015.

  10. Mother Lode says:

    I am sorry, but without the predominance of the sophisticated urbanites you would not have plans to create bicycle lanes from Katoomba to Broken Hill.

    And parking meters all along the highway between Lithgow and Dubbo with (and here is the genius) loading zones every 500 metres so people parking there can be fined even more.

    They believe they can get the roads to pay for themselves – and a float at the gay Mardi Gras.

  11. Primer says:

    Who is more dangerous to the life, liberty and property of the citizenry….Parliamentary Staffers or Public Servants (sic)? There is no clear winner I believe.

  12. Roger W says:

    I particularly enjoyed this quote:
    “You don’t play Origin unless you are the best – that’s why tens of thousands turn up to watch and why advertising during the game is so expensive – if the Origin coaches picked their team the way Canberra picked cabinet, the centre would be a plump, little, bald bloke who was owed a few preselection favours.”

    I know I would want the best brain surgeon if I had to have brain surgery but that’s just quirky old me. I can now see the New World Order is around the corner, the above quote is a prediction and I eagerly await my turn to captain Australia in an Ashes series and pull on the baggy green cap.

  13. Gassius says:

    A few commenters here have missed the point that was being made about getting the white collars into the regions. Services such as improved health care would follow the population increase and the white collar types can be very influential in getting things done and also getting the funding to do it.

    Canberra should have been given the State of Origin game. You would have see some old fashioned rugby league with snow and hail falling, an air temperature of three degrees and a ground temperarture of minus 1. Just joking.

  14. Farmer Gez says:

    Country people look at the absurd overreaction of the medical bureaucracy to Covid and compare it to the constant neglect of adequate medical facilities in the bush, leading to unnecessary deaths every year, not just in a pandemic.

    Rolling out the vaccine is slow in country towns as the few doctors have to put it on top of their already full work schedule. Bush nursing hospitals don’t have enough qualified nursing staff to run clinics, like the big regional centres.

    If your unlucky and have a reaction to the vaccine in a small remote town, then your chances of receiving timely medical assistance is low and the quick test for blood clotting will be unavailable, except after a long drive or flight.

    Reluctance to the Astra Zeneca jab in the bush is partly based on a shrewd calculation of known factors that are not on your favour.

  15. Tel says:

    For equity reasons it’s necessary that every country town has its own Sydney Harbour, and Opera House. This spending will stimulate the economy even better than lockdown.

    So as a competent representative of the bush, you’d be advocating for reduced regulation, reduce waste in the cities and increased freedoms then. No? Just more of OPM? Righto.

    Agrarian socialism will work this time around!

  16. Spurgeon Monkfish III says:

    There is no evidence that expensive and disruptive relocation of APS employees to ‘rural and regional’ Australia would improve the quality of policy advice.

    How exactly, could their wondrous “policy advice” get any worse? Given the obscene perks and taxpayers’ money they endlessly hoover (for producing absolutely nothing of any value whatsoever) they deserve to be forcibly shoved out into the middle of nowhere.

    If they don’t like it, then they can continue to hoover taxpayers’ money, but at a far lower rate (i.e. jobseeker), get a job at McDonald’s or take up windscreen washing at their nearest intersection.

  17. Eyrie says:

    If they don’t like it, then they can continue to hoover taxpayers’ money, but at a far lower rate (i.e. jobseeker), get a job at McDonald’s or take up windscreen washing at their nearest intersection.

    Exactly. PS departments should be located in remote god forsaken places so nobody wants to apply for the job. Australia will be better off.

  18. jupes says:

    It’s the Ministers and the government these days that ‘change the culture of Australia.’ APS employees can put up as many briefs as they like, it won’t matter if Ministers don’t like what they are being told, and I’ve already posted here the about the stuff I’m hearing all over Canberra now about senior APS people ‘massaging’ briefs and advice to make sure they contain nothing that might disturb the Minister.

    So you are saying the APS people no longer give ‘frank and fearless advice’. A reason for that is that they live in the Canberra bubble. Everyone they know is on the same page on the fashionable lunacies such as climate change. They don’t hear the counter argument themselves.

    I believe Vicki’s point is that there is much more chance that the minister will hear ‘frank and fearless advice’ from the APS, if they themselves are hearing that ‘frank and fearless advice’ from the people out bush.

    I agree with Vicki.

  19. Old School Conservative says:

    Don’t move Federal public servants to the bush.
    Slash the federal departments back by 60%, down to Constitution-sized levels, and return income taxing powers to the states.
    Then there would be no need for the bloated bureaucracy in Canberra or anywhere at all.

  20. RobK says:

    Decentralisation was a hot topic when I was a kid in the 1960s, Perth. The Green movement with developers seems to favour infill and centralisation combined with an increased regulatory grip on a far reaching hinterland. That’s the only way to buttress
    the edifice of Perth, it seems.. WA is so under-developed it had to resort to fly in-fly out thanks largely to Fringe Benefit Tax from the Feds and the added risks of environmental flack .
    We really need to encourage permanent (sustained) development to secure our future.
    There’s a wealth of potential that needs urgent attention or we will lose it.

  21. Tel says:

    There is no evidence that expensive and disruptive relocation of APS employees to ‘rural and regional’ Australia would improve the quality of policy advice.

    Obviously it won’t improve the quality of their policy advice … but hopefully the extended distance might make it more difficult for anyone to hear that advice.

    I thought policy came from Parliament anyhow.

  22. Des Deskperson says:

    ‘So you are saying the APS people no longer give ‘frank and fearless advice’. A reason for that is that they live in the Canberra bubble. ‘

    No, I am saying that Ministers these days seem to be increasingly reluctant to take advice from APS employees if that advice is unpalatable to them. Therefore, senior APS people come under increasing pressure to massage the advice they put up and some reportedly succumb to this pressure – in prima facie breach of their obligations under legislation.

    Where they live and who they talk to would make no difference whatever to this situation. You can be as woke as all get up, live in Braddon, hang around the Kingston foreshore, never go further west than Deakin, only mingle with ANU graduate Greens voters, you will still be expected – if you want any sort of career – to tell the government of the day what it wants to hear.

  23. Des Deskperson says:

    I should add, of course that governments, in implementing their policies, are under no obligation to take into account advice provided by APS employees on the development and implementation of those policies.

  24. Tombell says:

    Remember when Julia dragged the troops to Rooty Hill? And every now and then some cabinet/ shadow cabinet infests a regional town for a photo op before pissing off. So long as Canberra controls the purse strings ( with the acquiescence of the States) we will remain utterly Canberra-centric with some crumbs thrown to SYD/MEL. That said young Brittany Higgins could do well in Kalgoorlie.

  25. Terry says:

    ‘The City attracts the best of the best from all over…’
    A brief observation of Canberra, Macquarie Street, and Spring Street would seem to indicate precisely the opposite.

  26. Terry says:

    John Brumble says:
    June 12, 2021 at 8:13 am
    ‘So as a competent representative of the bush, you’d be advocating for reduced regulation, reduce waste in the cities and increased freedoms then. No? Just more of OPM? Righto.’

    John nails it.

    ‘…has two per cent of staff (53) in regional areas, with the remaining 95 per cent in Canberra, central Melbourne and central Sydney?’

    Seems to be missing 3%. What are they doing? Red-shirting for Dan? Getting ready to help Kamala in 2024? Maybe they’re working on Xi’s colonisation project?

    Actually. Better question. What are the 95% doing (Reeeeaaalllly doing)?
    ‘…tasked with understanding the country…’ – yep, doing a great job!

    Why do we need so many (any) bureaucrats in these mislabeled departments?

    As an interim, I would grant a redress of the percentage imbalance; keep the 53 regional staff (2% apparently) and then lose around 2,600 glorified dole bludgers from the “city” contingent immediately (while we figure out exactly why we need the department at all).

    ‘Agriculture and Environment portfolio’ you say.
    ‘home to 9608 staff’ you say.

    Looks like more low-hanging fruit to me.
    See, Australia’s “regional problems” all come back to not enough fruit pickers.
    Should be able to fix that for about $25 per hour in cash (a lot less than those departments are flushing down the Murray).

    Agrarian Socialism is not the answer.

  27. Terry says:

    Gassius says:
    June 12, 2021 at 9:01 am
    ‘…health care would follow the population increase…’

    Ah, yes. The same stupid argument that claims a pay increase for public servants will stimulate the economy…

  28. Terry says:

    ‘jupes says:
    June 12, 2021 at 9:46 am
    So you are saying the APS people no longer give ‘frank and fearless advice’. ‘

    Des Deskperson says:
    June 12, 2021 at 10:26 am
    No, I am saying that Ministers these days seem to be increasingly reluctant to take advice from APS employees if that advice is unpalatable to them. Therefore, senior APS people come under increasing pressure to massage the advice they put up and some reportedly succumb to this pressure
    Yes.

  29. Boambee John says:

    There is no evidence that expensive and disruptive relocation of APS employees to ‘rural and regional’ Australia would improve the quality of policy advice.

    Des D

    Then clearly there is no further need for policy advice from the bureaucracy. Policy advisers tend to be the high priced help. Abolish them all, reduce the APS to an implementation organisation, staffed with accountants and pure administrators, on much more modest remuneration packsges.

  30. Tom says:

    I believe Vicki’s point is that there is much more chance that the minister will hear ‘frank and fearless advice’ from the APS, if they themselves are hearing that ‘frank and fearless advice’ from the people out bush.

    Exactly.

    Watch their ministerial briefs change if public servants have to live with the consequences of their policy advice — especially if they are required to live among the lesser mortals they loathe.

    Excellent column, Vikki. And it’s a bullseye getting it published in the Sydney Daily Telegraph, whose readership has little idea of the consequences of city policies being imposed on the bush.

  31. Des Deskperson says:

    ‘Then clearly there is no further need for policy advice from the bureaucracy’

    In an argument between APS employee and a Ministerial adviser over policy advice, the Adviser will almost always win.

    So yes, we might as well rationalise this, and save a lot of money in the process.

  32. RobK says:

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-06-12/australia-carrot-exports-hit-100-million-dollars-during-pandemic/100206420
    Mr Coote said more than 110,000 tonnes of carrots were exported last year with the majority sent to Asia and the Middle East.

    He said Western Australia accounted for 85 per cent of carrot exports.

    “Carrot exports have continued to grow, especially in the past couple of years,” Mr Coote said.
    I tip my hat in respect to the Tana family for having the grit and discipline to take on the best of them and come up trumps. Many try but fall by the wayside.

  33. Des Deskperson says:

    ‘I believe Vicki’s point is that there is much more chance that the minister will hear ‘frank and fearless advice’ from the APS, if they themselves are hearing that ‘frank and fearless advice’ from the people out bush.’

    As I have posted many times, the responsibility of APS employees is to assist the government of the day to implement its policies.

    It is not their responsibility to gratuitously inject what they perceive to be the views and interest of the locals – be they a farming community or an ethnic enclave – into this process. That’s what the community’s elected representatives are supposed to be doing.

    Ms Campion and her supporters subscribe to the type of evidence-free wishful thinking that we rightly deride when, say, Mr Whitaker attempts to defend compulsory voting.

    And Tom, I was a senior adviser – SES Band 1 – in a central policy agency and I have always lived among the ‘mortals’ that you claim we ‘loathe’. My neighbours out here in Weston Creek include carpenters, builders, electricians, motor mechanic, park rangers, truckies, shop assistants and criminals.

  34. Timothy Neilson says:

    It is not their responsibility to gratuitously inject what they perceive to be the views and interest of the locals – be they a farming community or an ethnic enclave – into this process. That’s what the community’s elected representatives are supposed to be doing.

    Des, I don’t think that’s what people are suggesting.
    As an example, in his autobiography John Button told of how in the months during which Keating’s recession was building up he would travel round Australia and be warned by business people what was happening, then he’d get back to Canberra and express concern, only to have Treasury officials sneer at him and proclaim to him (and Keating et hoc generis) that the business people were just LARPing.
    Maybe if the Treasury people actually met some private enterprise types when they took their kids to school sport they would have wondered whether maybe the economy wasn’t doing as brilliantly as their theoretical modelling suggested it was.

    My neighbours out here in Weston Creek include carpenters, builders, electricians, motor mechanic, park rangers, truckies, shop assistants and criminals.

    I didn’t know any of the ALP caucus lived in Weston Creek.

  35. johanna says:

    Des is correct.

    Bureaucrats don’t decide policy – politicians do. No bureaucrat can overrule a Minister, especially now that the Minister can sack the Department head for any or no reason.

    As for decentralisation, it has the perverse effect of lowering the quality of advice, because regional offices tend to become inbred sinecures. Hardly anyone ever resigns or transfers, as it means giving up a secure job and/or uprooting the family to move somewhere else. Once there, they tend to stay for life. This means few promotion opportunities or opportunities for professional development, so these jobs don’t attract the best talent. I have worked with regional offices and know of what I speak.

    I am not defending the public service per se, but remember that a large Department is a status symbol for Ministers. They are the ones who approve the expansion of their empires via the Budget process.

    There is indeed no good reason for the massive Federal health and education bureaucracies, except that their Ministers over the years have wished it to be so. The bureaucrats are hardly going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

  36. Des Deskperson says:

    ‘As for decentralisation, it has the perverse effect of lowering the quality of advice, because regional offices tend to become inbred sinecures.’

    Good point, Johanna.

    Its also my – admittedly anecdotal – experience that corrupt practices tend to surface in particular in the regions where supervision is remote and APS employees are rubbing shoulders socially with locals after favours.

  37. Mick Gold Coast QLD says:

    Familiar territory this, from the days of the enlightenment with Comrade Great Oarsman Gough’s Department of Urban Development and the development corporations onwards. Des Deskperson will remember Comrade Minister Uren of the communist left distributing the largesse to Albury and Orange and via the Regional Employment Development scheme.

    Every new leader has a tonk at decentralisation for a couple of years, gets bored when it doesn’t generate more faves more rapidly and turns the attention back to earnestly drafting laws banning “batsman” and enabling compensation to ambitious young public servantesses when they jag a dud root en route to their destiny.

    Carr did his damndest – fencing off huge tracts throughout NSW to be quarantined for feral cat breeding and safe harbour for pests which come down at night to nibble the green shoots and devour the new born lambs. An utter mongrel who rarely ventured out of the Eastern Suburbs.

    The bush hasn’t had a fair go since Black Jack McEwen growled on its behalf and Doug Anthony charmed the lifeblood out of anyone who got in his way. Sir Joh looked after it real well in Queensland, as did Wal Murray in NSW. He held the whole of the Western Division¹ plus some (near half of the State) for 20 years and crafted a decent share of expenditure for country voters.

    Barnaby did alright for a bit:

    “Shutting down the Murray-Darling Basin so Southeast Asia feeds us rather than we feed them is so naive it is culpable ” on June 1, 2011

    and at about the same time he posted this erudite description of weather anxiety:

    “As a hair is to a kilometre – so is Australia’s contribution to what the PM calls Carbon Pollution”

    He and his constituents suffered, though, from the same phenomenon as Tony Abbott. The party colleagues who rode to riches on his coat tails provided no support. The moment they secured their handsome parliamentary income they set about, with the Liberals, to plot his assassination.

    For the bush since Doug Anthony? Nothing. Mining of anything is forbidden, the Murray Valley salad / fruit bowl is aboriginalised, local hospitals get a single senior nurse with 5 years experience, fixed expenditure plus £5 10s 6d petty cash allowance per week. If Pink or Yassmin Magpie cries and whimpers the politicians immediately shut down live beef exports and send the graziers to Centrelink. The slag from Altona and Bill Ludwig’s pointless son deliberately destroyed country peoples lives.

    ¹ I consulted Wikipedia about the seat of Barwon. In so doing I came across “Squatting (Australian history)”. Wikipedia now defines squatters / Crown lessees as intruders and thieves of aboriginal peopleses and nationses lands! It advises readers three times that Nicole Kidman is of the evil squatter Sir Sydney Kidman’s family, which is important to know, evidently.

  38. Boambee John says:

    johanna

    There is indeed no good reason for the massive Federal health and education bureaucracies, except that their Ministers over the years have wished it to be so. The bureaucrats are hardly going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

    Two simple examples drawn from Defence.

    The 1911 Universal Training Scheme was a policy taken to an election. When elected, the government selected an officer (Major Gordon Legge), told him what was wanted, and to establish the scheme.

    The 1960s scheme, so beloved of Numbers, was again a political decision, contrary to Army advice. To its credit, told to make it work, the Army did.

    There was very little, if any, bureacratic “policy” advice in either case.

  39. Epicurious says:

    I live in the Oz tropics where I am pleased to say we hardly ever see a politician, public ‘servant’ or policy adviser. Lets keep it that way. Unfortunately we occasionally see Anasthesia Palace-Chook up here for a photo-op then quickly leave before someone asks a question that requires an answer requiring an IQ over 80 of which sadly Anaesthesia falls far short.

    P.S. The GBR is alive and well so don’t believe the BS you get from high flying over the reef voyeurs.

  40. RobK says:

    As for decentralisation, it has the perverse effect of lowering the quality of advice, because regional offices tend to become inbred sinecures. Hardly anyone ever resigns or transfers, as it means giving up a secure job and/or uprooting the family to move somewhere else. Once there, they tend to stay for life. This means few promotion opportunities or opportunities for professional development, so these jobs don’t attract the best talent. I have worked with regional offices and know of what I speak.
    Point taken Joanna but private enterprise would see this as a management issue and address it.

  41. Mick Gold Coast QLD says:

    Des Deskperson says at 2:11 pm:

    “…
    As I have posted many times, the responsibility of APS employees is to assist the government of the day to implement its policies.

    It is not their responsibility to gratuitously inject what they perceive to be the views and interest of the locals – be they a farming community or an ethnic enclave – into this process. That’s what the community’s elected representatives are supposed to be doing.

    … My neighbours out here in Weston Creek include carpenters, builders, electricians, motor mechanic, park rangers, truckies, shop assistants and criminals.”

    I understand and agree with your comments here.

    Well how about that! I lived in Burrendong Street, Duffy up the top in a schmick Pettit & Sevitt tri level, a walk through the neighbour at the rear and I could take my son into the pine forest on Eucumbene Drive. I used enjoy the peaceful drive to work, through Yarralumla around the lake to the Treasury buildings. Lunch on Fridays at the Wellington with the fellas I was brought in to train (I’d only just finished my cadetship myself) – good days.

    Royals Rugby down at Weston saved my life there in the late ’70s, Canberra was nothing like inner western Sydney. 😁 I met many good people, some of the younger blokes have remained in touch continuously since, but it was too cold – I lasted just one winter and stepped up another rung back to Sydney!

  42. johanna says:

    Very few medium to large companies have their HQ, or a majority of their staff, outside the capital cities. That is their way of dealing with the problem.

  43. RobK says:

    Very few medium to large companies have their HQ, or a majority of their staff, outside the capital cities. That is their way of dealing with the problem.

    …… because capital city offices don’t tend to become inbred sinecures?
    I think we might be getting to the crux of the problem .

  44. JC says:

    Des Deskperson says:
    June 12, 2021 at 1:57 pm

    ‘Then clearly there is no further need for policy advice from the bureaucracy’

    In an argument between APS employee and a Ministerial adviser over policy advice, the Adviser will almost always win.

    So yes, we might as well rationalise this, and save a lot of money in the process.

    Really Des. Let’s widen the scope a little. The ATO is a law onto itself. The ATO decides tax policy. Imagine the Liberal government reversing the powers of evidence currently enjoyed by the ATO.

    How about the ABC.?You argue they aren’t a law onto themselves?

  45. Rayvic says:

    It is not surprising that fanciful zero net emissions has been adopted by both major political parties, as their predominantly-city-slicker MPs capitulate to the Greenies that live in the capital cities and the climate change groupthink bureaucrats that dominate policy formulation in Canberra.

    Sadly, thanks to the ever-increasing adoption of unreliable renewable energy, country people are the ones who have to put up with the ugly, towering, heavily-subsidised, wind-driven contraptions that collectively supply a disproportionately small amount of power, while endangering human health and regularly killing birds in the process.

  46. Terry says:

    Epicurious says:
    June 12, 2021 at 4:06 pm
    ‘Lets keep it that way’

    If you could keep the deleterious effects of their bullshit policy clusterfucks similarly distant you would live a happy life, alas…

  47. Squirrel says:

    An enjoyable discussion, to which I will simply add my standing suggestion that the part of the federal Treasury which sets the Big Australia population targets should be relocated to one of those wonderfully vibrant and diverse areas of western Sydney or somewhere similar in Melbourne.

    Some of the other second-guessing and dabbling which happens in Canberra (or branch offices in Sydney and Melbourne) will presumably be cut back in a few years time, when fiscal reality hits – and then the relevant state and local government officials will be able to get on with stuffing things up without assistance from the feds.

  48. Boxcar says:

    What do these businesses have in common?
    abattoirs
    power stations
    farms
    piggeries
    mines
    other mineral processing
    smelters
    quarries
    solar farms
    wind farms
    ports
    logging
    Answers: Canberra knows nothing about them, has none of them, but loves them because they make jobs for bureaucrats.

  49. The Sheriff says:

    Relocate the Treasury to Broadmeadows, ideally next the the local mosque.

  50. Rebel with cause says:

    The better question is why is there a federal department of agriculture at all? Each state already has its own. Likewise why do the Feds have education and health when they run no schools or hospitals? The problem is Camera has all the money and none of the sense.

    Return income tax to the states.

  51. W Hogg says:

    What do these businesses have in common?
    abattoirs
    power stations
    farms
    piggeries
    mines
    other mineral processing
    smelters
    quarries
    solar farms
    wind farms
    ports
    logging
    Answers: Canberra knows nothing about them, has none of them, but loves them because they make jobs for bureaucrats.

    Canberra had at least 1 piggery.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.