Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Why the Diary has been so quiet lately

Firstly, DH hasn't had anything personally to complain about with the Department of Housing lately.
  • Joe Tripodi and Cherie Burton are gone, and we do not yet know much about the new minister. Matt Brown.
  • Reshaping Public Housing will not really begin to bite until the first set of short-term leases are due.
  • She has always thought the water rates issue was the least of our problems and a furphy that people spent too much time worretting at, probably because it was measurable, adn hours cd be spent arguing over a dollar a week.
  • She is not opposed to devolution on ideological grounds , though she has some fears about a slippery slope to abandonment of a wholistic commitment to Public Housing, however flawed and monolithic some of the "social experiments" have been
  • Having worked in all kinds of large scale institutions over the years, she knows that reform has a huge administrative overhead, and change simply cannot happen over night
  • She has always believed in a strong public service, and a public service ethic. The Departmental staff she has met over the past 10 years have been really nice, with only 2 people she would call "bad apples", which is not a bad score. And this in a time of funding cutbacks from the Heartless Howardsters.
  • She has observed that the Department is making great efforts to modernise, albeit, being relatively new to Housing politics, she does not know the historical background.
[However, there have been some recurring issues in her area
  • The feeling that there is no immediate relief in sight for the lack of support for people with mental illness being dumped in public housing. This is detrimental to both people with mental health problems and their neighbours
  • A persistent pattern,  reported all over,  of DoH staff promising and then not returning calls. It is not clear whether the reasons are understaffing, poor administrative systems, poor management, lack of morale, or outdated work cultures.
  • Completely avoidable mishandling of the announcement of the Lilyfield redevelopment. Hopefully Matt Brown, will take a more responsible stance.
Secondly, she is discovering that even with a pseudonym, it's hard to be independant
She joined the Labor Party out of a sense that it was a civic duty, that she wanted to be on the side of reform, and just to keep her fingers on the neighbourhood pulse. However she learned over the last election, that you can't sit on 2 horses at once. Not for sinister motives - ie fear of being silenced or expelled, but simply because you grow attached to people, you form personal ties, and its hard to bucket them in public. This is the age-old dilemma of being mainstream and co-opted, or being outside the system, true to grand principles, but fairly powerless. See discussions below with Garry Mallard on this subject. She has not decided which way to go yet.
Thirdly, her"ventriloquist" gets tired of her and periodically threatens to evict her
Her ventriloquist reckons, that she, unlike DH,  is a balanced and reasonable human being, while DH uses up too much of her head space trying to think up new things to complain about.
Fourthly, between work stresses, doing a postgrad degree at night, being a carer, having various commitments to community groups, and being hounded and harassed by the evil-as-ever Kafkalink, she has been too tired at the end of the day to go near the computer.
So good night and good luck.

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