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It is not clear whether the reasons are understaffing, poor administrative systems, poor management, lack of morale, or outdated work cultures.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.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Mouse that Roared: Leichhardt Council's Excellent Middle Eastern Adventure

In a dazzling display of tripartisan unity, Leichhardt Council has catapulted itself beyond the mundane sphere of local politics right into the global arena. Growing impatient with their own parties' foreign policy platforms, Libs, Labs and Greens have voted unaminously to strike a blow for peace in the Middle East.

Council will be pointedly sticking it to Israel and throwing its support unilaterally behind the Palestinians by entering a Sister City arrangement with Hebron in the Palestinian Territories.

Leapfrogging right past local small-beer neediness such as tsunami-ravaged communities or starving Cambodian orphans in our immediate region (Boring!), they are going straight for the foreign policy jugular: "Armageddon or Bust".

This move is not without some risk of course. One shudders to think of the temptation a plump pink visiting alderman on a solidarity mission might offer to some Islamofascist splinter group dreaming of holding a hostage of its very own. Fortunately, showing great strategic foresight, Leichhardt Council has preempted this alarming contingency by making Hebron into a Clayton's Sister City, with no exchange of visiting dignitaries and no overseas junketing. The idea is that, instead, we send Hebron vital supplies such as Balmain Library's reject potboilers, maybe a couple of textbooks, the odd retired Council van, and a few hints on garbage disposal.

Another danger: Imagine the power plays within Fatah and Hamas, should they hear that a consignment of Margaret Fulton Cookbooks is on its way! Leichhardt Council might want to consider that this could seriously destabilise the fragile ceasefire between these two warring factions, which is now in its fifth hour.

Predictably, some ratepayers can already be heard grumbling that Leichhardt Council might better attend to such matters as expediting DA's, getting the grease marks off Balmain's grimy pavements, or even ceasing to terrorise locals with its rogue parking meters.

But how utterly typical of this unimaginative class of bourgeois landowners! These people want to be taking a moral stance! They want to look at the big picture. Why, they need to see that this is a masterstroke of genius! Can't they see that in a stunning strategic trifecta Leichhardt council has simultaneously
  • rid itself of a sizable waste disposal problem with the unsaleable leftovers from Balmain Library's book fair
  • struck a blow against the International "Zionist" Conspiracy, which as everyone knows, is the real culprit behind the Iraq war and possibly even September 11
  • captured the much-coveted voting bloc of the Socialist Alliance, by the simple expedient of stealing its entire platform!
Or here's a possiblity. Why stop with linking up with Marrickville Council? Why not get all the Inner Western Councils to link up and encircle Waverley Council, which everyone knows is controlled by Zionists, and push it into the sea?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Bugger all in budget for one MILLION Aussies in Housing Stress

Peter Costello: Housing crisis? What housing crisis?  Eh? Speak up Australia. Did someone say housing crisis?

Sunday, May 06, 2007


The most fun miners have had since the Road to Wigan Pier.
Hotbedding: the practise of shift workers taking turns to sleep in the same bed as they change shifts. Apparently happening in mining towns when insufficient infrastructure and housing is provided for a sudden influx of workers. 
And it's not just the miners who are doing it tough. DH heard at National Shelter's policy launch that long-standing residents of the new mining towns are also being squeezed out of their homes by the sudden rise in prices.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Weak as! ... Workchoices

Well may Joe Hockey say, "It was never our intention... " [to screw working Aussies]
How incomptent were Howard and Co if they couldn't foresee the results of their indiscriminate policy wrecking ball?
Let the patches begin. Ever tried to patch a system that springs leaks faster than you can fix 'em?
Expect to hear plenty Howard's mantra
  • I'm going to make no apology about [enter policy screw up of choice]
  • Now I make no apology for [enter policy screw up of choice]
The dirty unrepentant liars. They thought they could get away with it.
It looks like they won't unless Australian voters are irredeemably stupid. Let's hope not.