Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Job Network wrecked by Howard "reforms"

Remember the good old days when the "Reform" meant "Structural improvement towards a better society" instead of "Infrastructure Destruction"?

When the Howard government came in 1996, DH was horrified at the damage being wreaked. But after decades of conservative disinformation belittling anyone with a social conscience as wussy liberals and out-of-touch latte-quaffing chattering elites, DH was humble enough to consider that she and her ilk had somehow got it wrong, that somehow, however counter-intuitive it might seem, a leaner and meaner Australia would deliver a better and happier Australia.

But after 10 years of this horrid social experiment, the results are coming in, and they're not looking good.

The government's much trumpeted "Child Care" reforms have led to unaffordable and unnattainable child care. Public education is reeling, while plummy public schools waste educational funds on landscape gardening.

The Lucky Country is being turned into Workhouse Nation, with the armies of the working poor losing pay and conditions, and the middle classes hanging in by the scruff of their credit cards...

And now for the latest policy failure: DH's alltime favorite journo, Adele Horin, writes in today's SMH, that Job Network is, as was predicted way back when the Howard Brigands were trumpetting their "reforms", an inefficient nightmare in which the poor buggers on the staff have to spend more time covering their arses than looking after the unemployed

Some choice extracts from a survey of over 1100 case managers:

  • JOB NETWORK staff of are sick of having to focus on the demands of the Federal Government, rather than on the needs of their clients.
  • Job seekers are seen "purely as a potential outcome, not as a person in need of guidance or help"
  • the focus on outcomes meant staff concentrated their efforts on the most job-ready people to the detriment of the most disadvantaged.
  • the Dept of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) actually called the clients "stock"!

Nice quote: It's not unlike processing 'cattle', or should I say 'stock', which was the term DEWR sed at the start of the contract to describe their unemployed clients," another case manager said.

Charming, innit?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

How much longer will Howard allow David Hicks to be tortured?

If you come, wear ORANGE

Sydney Town Hall, Saturday 15th July, 12pm.

DH apologises for this break in the steady stream of bad news about D'OH and KafkaLink. But remember that bad things happen when good people remain silent.

Sure an example needs to be made of stupid boys with more testosterone than brains, who in their naivety think that joining a terrorist organisation is the best way to build a better world.

But David Hicks has been tortured long enough.
DH's stomach turns when she reads of his years of solitary confinement in Gulag Guantanamo.
Bring the poor bugger home, for God's sake!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The mystery solved

The mystery object on the left is a transverse section of the Department of Housing's response to an account inquiry by DH, listing 6 months of rental transactions. Extraordinarily for a department that DH knows spent a fortune on a state of the art computer data warehousing system not so long ago, it appears that after decades of advances in computer technology, the Department doesn't appear to be capable of creating a simple report.
The document you see on the right is a full frontal view of the "mystery object". It's a series of screen dumps painstaking glued together by Housing Department staff. Despite their efforts, it is pretty much unintelligible, even by Department staff.

DH made the request because she has a tribunal order to pay back rent arrears at $150 a fortnight. She was just about to make another payment when it occurred to her that the debt might be paid off already. Inquiries with various housing department help lines, gave her 3 different responses, including
  1. You are 4 weeks in arrears
  2. That's funny. According to this you should owe us $2000 (DH nearly had a heart attack at this point.
  3. You are $50 ahead

Finally, it turned out that DH was right. She was $50 ahead. Hurrah!

However: She wonders what would have happened if she was, say, learning disabled, poorly educated, unable to speak up for herself, etc etc. How long might she have gone on paying back arrears at a rate causing her serious hardship before anyone at D'oH noticed?

It's quite extraordinary that the Department's procedures and formulae for working out rent due are so arcane that their own staff must spend an hour working out something that ought to be accomplished at the push of a button!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Guessing comp clue: Think Evolution!

Since there hasn't been a single correct entry, I'm giving you hopeless mob one more pictorial clue.
Think Evolution!

No, not the the evolution of a typical housing minister from spineless jellyfish to polyp on the body politic to running dog to dragon lady/ paper tiger, though must admit it does look like it.

Clue: think evolution of DoH's state-of-the-art rental account inquiry system

Hurry. You only have one more day to win this versatile artform!

Guessing Competition: Identify the mystery object

EUUGGHH! What on EARTH is it???

  • A new marine life-form
  • A new logo for intellectually challenged White Supremacists
  • An installation at the Sydney Biennale
  • An occupational therapy project for the rehabilitation of burnt-out D'oH staff
  • Creative project of the D'oH Craft Club
  • D'oH standard format for a Freedom of Information request

First correct answer gets a genuine replica of the item, to hang over their mantelpiece, use as a light fitting, baby mobile, whatever.

Answer tomorrow