Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Grilled Minister

Since Desperate Houso can't afford the theatre anymore, she reckons you can't go past a good Budget Estimates Committee Hearing for affordable high farce and drama.

DH arrived late at State Parliament, just in time to hear the excellent and conscientious Sylvia Hale (Greens), grilling the hapless Cherie Burton, (former Houso, now Minister for Housing) who has the humiliating task of selling out her houso forebears and defending Labor's new "Reshaping Public Housing" policy.

This is a policy that's shaping up to be the social engineering equivalent of the Titanic (where if you recall, the lower orders sank first, but most of the upper classes went not long after. Apparently management had thought to save money by failing to supply sufficient housi... err.. boating stock...).

"Misshaping Public Housing", as the new policy is affectionately known in houso circles, is apparently dedicated to 3R's

  1. Raising the average IQ of housos
    What on earth were the policy wonkers thinking when they introduced short term leases based on income?

    Desperate Houso scratched her head about this for a long time.

    Till it finally dawned that
    anyone brainless enough to trade in secure housing for an insecure wage in today's casualised workforce will end up leaving. Leaving behind those of us with half a brain left. Thus creating a better class of public housing tenant.

    Note to Howard and Patterson: Here's a perfect opportunity to strengthen Commonwealth/ State relations while cutting more people off the Centrelink payload. How about threatening to turf any public housing tenant accepting low paid or part-time work off the dole???
  • Reducing state revenue
    Us remaining brainy housos will need to be subsidised to the hilt. Especially as we wont be able to afford to maintain our properties.
  • Recouping lost revenue by hiking the rent and calling it "responsible water management"
    since most houses are not metered, there is no incentive to save water whatever.
[DH has just received the transcripts of the meeting she attended. While she matches up her recollections with what was actually said, she is pulling her comments about the performance of the housing minister in case they were unfair.]

OK, so now DH knows what happens at Budget Estimates Committees. Government policy gets to face some pretty canny scrutiny, and ministers can end up with egg on their face. But what happens next? Not a lot as far as DH can make out. Despite Reshaping Public Housing being a counter-productive lose-lose policy full of more holes than a sieve, the Jumblies of State Parliament are intending to set sail in it anyhow.

Friday, September 16, 2005

DH has to live off $195.20 per FORTNIGHT

The dust has settled, and here's how DOH and Centrelink have DH caught between their pincers... 
Per fortnight ...
Carer Payment                    488.90
Pharmaceutical                       5.80
DOH rent and repayment      231.10
Debt to Centrelink                  68.40
Total fortnightly income $195.20
These debts ... Centrelink gives and and then Centrelink takes away. Who can understand how or why? Any actuaries out there?  Why have the Federal Liberals made everything so complicated???    Apart from wanting to remake the whole nation into stunted accountants in their own image.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Call Centre Legends

For the past few weeks, DH has been terrorised by 2 milk cartons of paperwork lurking in the corner of her bedroom/office. It's not that she is lazy or resistant to the patriotic notion of being remade in the image of an accountant to appease "The Taxpayer" (of which she was one, if you'll recall, until the D'oH 'reforms' made her position untenable). It's just that she is afraid that if she shifts the paperwork she may find a grinning little bandy-legged gremlin with an uncanny resemblance to John Howard under the pile, which if unleashed will run around wreaking who knows what further havoc.
But Energy Australia could not be put off any longer, so with sinking heart, made heavy by the thought of the imminent trip to smelly old Vinnies to eat humble pie, be patronised by reformed alcoholics, and beg for a few EAPA vouchers, she dialled Energy Australia and settled in for the long wait
Now DH has had quite a whinge about the state of this country's institutions, but she is always overawed by the sheer goodness of the call centre staff who have to pick up the pieces, and so it proved today, so thank you to the lovely young woman at Energy Australia, Leanne, who made an unpleasant chore friendly and bearable! 
These people are the front line troops doing the dirty work of Howard, his miserable crew, and their bloated CEO mates. DH reckons they're all heros and legends, and their front line work absorbing all the anger and frustration that's out there may well be all that's holding this country together.
So DH reckon nobody should be allowed to make social policy without being forced to spend at least one day a week in a call centre answering calls from desperados like herself.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Does New Orleans have anything to teach us?

We need to understand what the costs are if the welfare state is dismantled

Dreams unrealized
By Billy Sothern


While it may be easy for American tourists to turn a blind eye to their own third world, a steady stream of young Australians and Europeans have been coming to Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and the rest of the deep South for years to serve the needs of the indigent people throughout these states. [Snip] it is always mildly surprising and embarrassing to me to hear these bright and passionate people explain that they are applying either to work for the poor in the criminal justice system in Texas or to help build shelters in Guatemala, and are unable to determine where the needs are greater. What seems most shocking to our volunteers is the complete disregard that the U.S. government has paid our clients throughout their lives, failing to provide housing, healthcare, education and other basic needs.

Given that our government, the richest in the world, has failed to provide the basic tools for its citizens for generations, we should not now be surprised that the poor and stranded in New Orleans have no reasonable expectation that the government will do anything to serve them and have taken things into their own hands. Perhaps if the government had made adequate investment in our citizens and our city's infrastructure in the first place, we could have avoided this mess.

Dont Worry, John Brogden

But never mind, if you do hit rock bottom, and never quite recover, and your family and friends desert you, you can always go on the public housing waiting list!

Could take a while, but...

A wake up call to all politicans who lose sight of why public housing is important, and how easy it really is for anyone to slip off the tightrope.

With the greatest sympathy for your awful ordeal, when cold fish like Howard and Ruddock prosper by using racism as a finely honed wedge. Your disgrace is nothing compared to theirs. Pity you didnt wait for them to resign first.

Well, its always sad to see a Balmain Boy gone wrong. You shdda satisfied your amibitions by staying in the Labor Party. You could have followed in the footsteps of Bob Hawke and no-one wd have batted an eyelid.