Friday, June 06, 2014

What the Dickens are Abbott & Co up to?

Now Abbott & Co are trying to privatise welfare by stealth. They want to bring back the good old days, when you had to put up with a religious lecture from some born-again alcoholic wowser in a smelly St Vincents backroom before you could get your hands on a couple of cans of beetroot, spam, and corn for your kids.

The government expects 550,000 applications for assistance, which will be delivered by charities in the form of food vouchers, transport or medications, household goods, clothing or by helping to pay rent or utility bills. Heaven forbid that the poor should have discretion in their spending, and blow what's left after bills on a bar of chocolate, or a new lipstick

PS. Have been thinking of restarting this blog after long absence. Just didn't know where to start, too busy ducking Abbott & Co's blitzkreig against the majority of Australian workers and those unable to work.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Is $6 too much to ask?

In a moment of misguided altruism brought on by endless browbeating by the resurgent Abbottist New Guard, DH was heard to opine that she would not minding paying $6 for a doctor's visit. All part of the New Social Responsibility, in which the conscientious welfare recipient is encouraged to march to the nearest cliff and jump off in order not to burden the nation's young.

Yes, DH knows we boomers are not dying off fast enough, especially those of us who can't afford the trip to Mexico for a bottle of horse-tranquilizer. 

So. Anyway. DH begs to revise her views on co-payments. Her underlying assumptions were that that 
  • one wouldn't need to be going to one's doctors more than about twice a week (one should only be so lucky!) and 
  • one would have secure rentals pegged at no more than 30% of one's income.

Otherwise, $18+ a week could push one over the edge. Not forgetting the cost of medications, prescription and non-prescription, the dentist... whoah ... but who on a pension indulges in dentistry these days? Let alone visit a specialist who charges $100 over the scheduled fee just to hold a can of liquid nitrogen to one's nose and go "squirt".

Of course it would be more rational if the powers-that-be stopped their hypocrisy and made voluntary euthanasia legal. Oddly enough, this hypocrisy comes from the very same Right Wing Economic Rats, who want to make our lives miserable by forcing us to be productive till we drop, though they secretly would prefer us dead. Yet they are the very ones insisting on keeping us alive, often in the name of Jesus, or, at least, the Jesus Vote.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Case of the Incredible Disappearing Housing Ministries

What Housing Ministries?

Knock Knock

Who's there?


Prue who?

Don't ask me, I'm only the Minister for the NoNames Department. I know Nothing about Nothing. Ask the new Minister for Finance, you know, Whatsisname, who replaced the previous guy, the one who got rolled for drinking. Or was it rorting? Or both.

Housing crisis? What housing crisis? You mean housing stocks fell again last year? Scuse me, must run, pressure of avoiding interviews, suppressing reports. Someone must have forgotten to make the housing waiting lists disappear. Along with any housos they can lay their hands on.


Knock Knock.

Who's there?


Prue Who?

I know Nothing. I'm only the Minister. BTW, any neighbours you'd like to dob in? Illegals? Unauthorised overstayers? How about understayers whose rooms may attract an "empty nest" tax.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sunday Sermon

To them that hath, shall be given. To them that hath not, even that little that they have been given, (under sufferance by the Federal Government), shall have between 25-30% taken away by the NSW government.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Hullo, sole parents back in vogue with Labor!

We sole parents have our uses it seems.

Brand differentiation from the Liberals for a start.

And it is rumoured that Labor raised more money from cutting the fingers off solo mothers clinging to pension lifelines, than they did from taxing miners.

DH is peeved having just worked herself into one hell of a Jeremiad on the topic of the Labor leadership candidates' massive hypocrisy about "The Vulnerable", when Albo took the wind out of her sails by accepting limited liability, (or was it "collective responsibility"?) for Slashing Sole Parents. By the afternoon, Bill Shorten had followed suit.

DH attended both candidates' Sydney launches. Both made much of being raised by "single mothers". Hoping no doubt to earn some Leftie brownie points, if there are any "lefties" left who still give a serious damn about the underclasses.  But neither candidate mentioned exactly what they did to single mothers while they were still in power. Don't mention Newstart or the words"$35 a day".

Bill Shorten did make a big to-do about ending domestic violence! Hullo? And when those mothers leave violent marriages, straight onto Newstart and homelessness?

So was this a cynical ploy at product differentiation and rehabilitating the Labor brand? Or was cognitive dissonance catching up with Shorten and Albanese and shaming them into acknowledging the recent past?

BTW, we solo mothers are not "vulnerable". As if vulnerability was some kind of individual personality flaw. We are made vulnerable by poor policy in housing, child care, and income support.

We are the strongest people we know who do it all: Work. Study. Child rearing. All with one hand tied behind our backs.

Just look at a selection of our achievements:

Note to self: next time, find list of female high-flyers raised by solo-flyer mothers. We can do better!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Lest we forget: The Howard Years

Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

And boy, are we Aussies a forgetful mob!

And so we have Dr No, Tony Abbott, Prime Minister for Woman, for Keeping Us in the Dark, Cuts and Slashes, Miners, and More, Worser Concentration Camps.

So put on your black armbands and hop into DH's time machine, back to the:

     The Lowlights of the Howard Decade    


Budget Bulimia
  • Bloating on money dragged out of the teeth of battlers then
  • Disgorging the lot to special interest groups in marginal seats at election time

Darwinism masquerading as Christianity
  • Jesus would turn in his grave to see how Howard and Co have created a dog-eat-dog, survival of the fittest, the-strong-shall-inherit-the-lot Australia, all in His name, meanwhile ...
  • Old fashioned Christian hypocrisy - the "Right to Life" for disabled people does not extend to the Right to a Good Life, which would require a decent level of disability funding

Centralism masquerading as Anti-Socialism
  • Liberalism used to mean opposition to Centralism. Howard had to be the most centralist PM we’ve ever had
  • He wanted to take over everything, no wasting money on planning or research, just dream something up overnight when the polls dip, and send in the army to back it up

Robbing the Poor to give to the Rich
  • the transfer of $3 BILLION from public housing into the pockets of private landlords: result: inflation
  • the "budget surplus" extracted from the nation's rotting teeth
  • the transfer of funding from the poorest schools to the richest based on the sham of postcode

Robbing Women and Children
  • gutting the childcare system set up by Labor. This policy has now coming to fruition with the collapse of ABC childcare
Robbing workers of hard won rights
  • Serfchoices
  • Welfare to Workhouse
  • fining individuals for striking
  • using the services of a repressive Muslim state (when it suits them) to secretly train strike breakers
  • the time-wasting conscription of disabled Australians into pointless low paid jobs
Pandering to religious extremists

  • for blurring the hard won boundaries between church and state
  • no worries about fundamentalist extremist lunatics if they're Exclusive Brethren adding to election coffers
  • allowing Hillsong to rip off the welfare system

Pandering to racists

  • thick as thieves with the loony anti-Semites of the League of Rights
  • Nazi Croat propagandist Lyenko Urbancic leading light of the Liberal party
  • playing the Muslim card when it suits them The Wedgie Portfolio

The Wedgie Portfolio
  • taking every opportunity to “divide and rule” by appealing to resentment, fear, downward envy, xenophobia
  • the harassment and vilification of battlers via Centrelink while pretending to be on their side

  • the deliverance of the effective CES (Commonwealth Employment Service) into the hands of unscrupulous private operators
  • Centrelink's punitive and humiliating regimes
  • the gutting of Centrelink’s administrative infrastructure subjecting welfare recipients to bungle after bungle and desperation-inducing delays in payment
  • miserable pensions that don’t keep up with the cost of living
  • breaching the weakest

The Big Lies
  • Is it $1 BILLION dollars of taxpayers money spent on Liberal Party advertising since they got in?
  • non-core promises
  • successfully slandering people with a social conscience as the “elites”, while the real elites have never been richer

Sending in the army
  • Iraq? Refugees? Aboriginals? No problem. No plan either.
  • And of course no two diggers can get together for a quiet beer without our egregious PM suddenly popping up between them to clap them on the shoulders

Muzzling the press

The Intervention
  • discrimination against Aboriginal people
  • control without proof of effectiveness

Shaming Australia
  • Toadying to the Imbecile Bush
  • Children overboard, lies, the Tampa,  lies to win an election
  • Christmas Island - detention centres run like concentration camps, incarcerating children, driving them into mental illness and self-harm
  • Refusal to act on Australian citizen David Hicks in Guantanamo Bay (however dumb Hicks was)
  • Haneef case

  • It just wasn't...

Bonus Howard-Speak Dictionary

Howard's linguistic legacy

How he changed the Aussie psyche and our language forever
Promise: Previously an absolute value, now variable. Divided into non-core for the benefit of mugs, and core promises for the benefit of insiders
Compassion:Formerly a Christlike virtue, now a dirty word.

Elites: Once referred to the aristocracy/ upper classes who had the gold and made the rules. Now refers to anyone who bases decisions on verifiable information and logic rather than resentment.

Reform: Once meant a political change for the better. Now means demolition
 Social security: Once a form of insurance paid by workers and collected by the government on their behalf. Intended to provide security in the event of illness, disability, old age. Meant to to be contributed to by the elites via taxes, but mostly they manage to wriggle out of it. Nowadays, a dirty word.

A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Poor from being a Burden to the Housing Ministers of the Nation

First published in 2007 in those heady days when we were lucky enough to even have Ministries for Housing, as opposed to Ministries for "Mention anything but the H-word".
DH had an Eureka! moment while tossing and turning in bed last night.
As is incumbent on all conscientious welfare dependants in these difficult times,she had been doing her daily moral stocktake:
  • Was I one of the Deserving Poor, or one of the Undeserving Poor today?
  • Are my children sufficiently disabled, or are they taking up a bedroom that should go to someone more in need?
  • When exactly does a Hand-up become a Hand-out?
  • And how can all this be measured accurately, so that the System Remains Fair?
It was then that DH began to dream.
Like, just imagine a world in which every houso got funding to develop their own Personal Housing Mission Statement in conjunction with their Department of Housing Team Leader!
Then they could simply fill in an FPR (Fortnightly Performance Report) on how they were meeting their Self-Reliance Objectives.
It would be easy enough to adapt Chairman John’s “Little Teal and Orange Workbook”, (that’s the “Dole Diary” to you, Sunshine) by appending a further couple of reams.
DH had just got to the really fun bit, dreaming up a host of great KPI’s to hold herself accountable to, e.g. “Today I took positive steps to keep the BMW hidden in the garage, lest it provoke the envy of the Taxpayer”, when she recalled that in fact the carport was already occupied by an ever-proliferating set of gaily colour-coded rubbish bins. This got her totally applauding the notion that every type of garbage requires its own special container…
And that’s when it happened… Suddenly, it was, like, …. EUREEEEEKA-A-A!!!
GARBAGE! The answer lay in Garbage!
Because everybody recognises that all the categories of waste need to be housed in their own appropriate containers. Nobody is ever downwardly envious of landfill.
After all, not even The Blessed Taxpayer, blames industrial waste for its own degradation. On the contrary all fair-minded folk recognises that waste is simply a necessary by-product of Progress.
The advantages are obvious!
Why not reframe the Housing Problem as a Waste Recyling Problem, rather than as a boring Social Justice Problem or a Moral Problem???
Why, with one fell swoop, we could eliminate vast tracts of ideological argy-bargy, which has been going on for far too man already with no resolution in sight!
Why not simply reclassify housos, not as failures, misfits, and moral outcasts but as …

The Human Waste Products of the C*p*talist Mode of Production!

(DH can't bring herself to utter the unfashionable C* word)
Thus your average houso might be rebadged as Human:
  • Waste: perhaps reduced to depression, alcoholism or "mental illness" by meaningless, underpaid work
  • Offcuts: Industrial reject material who for reasons of age, neurological difference, erratic bio-rhythms, learning difficulties, hyper- or hypo-activity, are simply superfluous to workplace requirements
  • By-product: rendered redundant by changing work practices, globalisation
  • Flotsam: a refugee created by globalisation
  • Mutants: born that way, disabled, or 2nd generation housos, psychologically mutated in the toxic wastelands of “housing of last resort”
Consider the advantages. For a start, everybody recognises that waste containers need to be appropriately insulated to prevent waste from polluting its neighbours.Thus, for instance, no-one would begrudge spending to provide proper sound insulation for apartment blocks where there are many tenants with mental illness.

And nobody thinks it is appropriate to simply dump waste in someone else’s backyard. Everyone expects governments to recycle waste and onsell it profitably as fertiliser. So governments can’t simply dump people with disabilities and mental illness into housing estates and hope the existing tenants will rehabilitate them. What is needed is an injection of energy into processing the pain of disadvantage and disability into cultural fertiliser. For instance, why not give housos grants to write film scripts about their redemptive journeys? As portrayed by Geoff Rush, or perhaps Nicole Kidman with blacked out teeth, and then export the lot to Hollywood to earn top dollar.
What’s more, we live in a market economy, right? So everything has its price, even the bad stuff like CO2... So surely even housos must be worth something? And then suddenly, it's, like, the opportunities for making a profit seemed endless! What with a Houso Futures Exchange, Houso Trading Schemes and Houso Emissions taxes and rebates…
Of course, there could be negative impacts. What if some future government, less tender-hearted than the current lot, decided it was more economical to simply bulldoze the waste into the estates that formerly housed it?
Or simply just containerise all the housos, and ship them off to some remote location, just outside territorial waters, and dump them. A solution already tried on excess populations in Europe with some success in the middle of 20th century.
Still, not to worry.
That can’t happen here in Australia, can it?

Thursday, September 05, 2013


I say, chaps, this 11th hour release of budget costings is a bit in our faces, eh what?

DH grants that all such projections are based on the Never Never anyway, on the assumptions of wishful thinking plus the hope that a butterfly wing won't flutter in a bank vault somewhere in Switzerland and create a financial tsunami here.

Or that Al Qaeda won't send some ambiguous tweet just for the fun of watching us go into lockdown!

But for the Libs to flaunt in our faces that they are so sure of winning, that they have no need to even pretend that they give a fig for public scrutiny!

A sign that they intend to be a law unto themselves from the get-go?

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

The Ministry for Managing Expectations

DH's pick for most likely new ministries in our parliament, come the new dawn on September 9*.

Whether we adjust our government or not on Saturday, the sad news is that we're going to have to adjust our minds.

The chatter in the system is that any pain experienced by the masses is not the fault of the government at all, but in the unrealistic, extravagant expectations of the underclasses.

So go gently into what "Better Future" may come, lest you be seen as a trouble-maker with ideas above your rapidly sinking station

DH's prediction:

Libs win: Julie "Death Stare" Bishop  ia guaranteed to wither any uppity impulse on the vine.

Labs win: Can't go past Jenny "I-can-live-on-$35-a-day" Macklin.

* OMG: Sep 9? ... 9/11? The first working day of the new government ??? Hope it's not an omen.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Christmas Carol for 2013

[Just discovered this post in my drafts folder. Better late than never...]

Don't celebrate yet just because the Mayans got it wrong.

Maybe the world didnt end. But with just one footstep away from the the edge of the Fiscal Cliff,  DH ventures a prophesy:

Hold onto your hats, ye lower middle-classes!

Things are going to just get worse and worse

An ominous sign: former passionate public housing advocates no longer agitate for more, better public housing. All the chatter is about "affordable housing for 'key' workers" now.

Housos are on the nose and can no longer be mentioned in polite company.  As middle-class people begin to panic as their jobs and wage rates go into free fall, there's no room for compassion. It's every man for themselves and let the devil take the hindmost. Unfortunately with the hindmost underclasses gone, the middle-classes will soon find out that the buffer zone between the lower middle class and rock bottom just got that much thinner.

With Labor haunted by the Ghost of Scrooges past, ie the phantasm of Howard's meanness disguised as "sound financial management", and having squandered their mandate to take a stand, every decency must be sacrificed, in the race to the bottom with Howard's legacy.

It's all becoming too Dickensian. Witness this quote from Wikipedia as Labor slashes the support from sole parents.

"Dickens wrote in the wake of British government changes to the welfare system known as the Poor Laws, changes that required among other things, welfare applicants to work on treadmills. Dickens asks, in effect, for people to recognise the plight of those whom the Industrial Revolution has displaced and driven into poverty, and the obligation of society to provide for them humanely. Failure to do so, the writer implies through the personification of Ignorance and Want as ghastly children, will result in an unnamed "Doom" "

... and it's already happened. At least they haven't brought back the treadmills.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Oh, hello...

Long time no blog ... Typical of the neurotic, self-destructive underclasses, who go into hiding at the first hint of success.

DH has not written a word since being invited by the National Library of Australia to be "archived in perpetuity" for being ... "An important part of the Nation's Documentary Heritage". Insert big Cheshire DH smiley here.

Be careful what you wish for, as the New Agey folk say. As stated somewhere way back in the beginning, DH's ambition for this blog was to be "a footnote in some future academic article on the death of the welfare state", whereas it should have been to sell the film rights to Hollywood and free up a place on the housing waiting list for someone more deserving than herself.

Besides, what is there to write about. Have the Liberals done a single thing for public housing since they got in to government. Halloooooooooooo Prue Goward ... anyone home?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

How many housos does it take to change a light-bulb?

Only one.

But first, you have to line up the following dignitaries:
  • An official from the Local Council to award a certificate of community service, and to apologise for the absence of the Mayor, who was keen to attend but found themselves unexpectedly delayed
  • a representative of TAFE to award statements of attainment
  • A bevy of community workers from local services to facilitate the awards ceremony
  • Interns trainee community workers to take notes and look sympathetic
  • HNSW staff:

  • to take complaints about maintenance on notice and promise to look into it and get back to the tenant 
  • to hand out leaflets on domestic violence and substance abuse
  • to collect evaluation sheets of the event 
  • to photograph the event for "Your Home" 
  • Then there should be a
  • a PhD student in search of an original qualitative research topic eg Tenant Resilience or Resistance? Funding Options For Empowering Tenant Lightbulb Change.
  • someone from the Cancer Council (not sure why)
  • the local MP to put on Serious Listening Face,  "really listen", and pass Tenants onto ...
  • The local MP's staffer to take complaints about maintenance on notice and promise to look into it and get back to the tenant

Friday, June 15, 2012

Vale Frank Walker

Innovative Housing Minister in the good old bad old days when Labor was still Labor. See The Brown Couch's obituary

Friday, May 18, 2012

El pueblo, vencido, jamas sera unido!

You heard me right.

But if you don't understand Spanish:

The people, defeated, will never be united!

Just sayin'

More indepth analysis to follow of a Labor budget that cuts single parents' miserable stipend by a further $120, deprives working class pensioners of the overseas holiday they've been scrimping and saving for all their lives, about the pig that wallowed in in the HSU trough while no-one noticed, and then got rewarded by the Federal Presidency of The ALP. And the alternative, Abbott and Hockey doing a Dutch auction on who can be the meanest toughest pensioner mugger on the block.

On the other hand maybe I'll just pull the covers over my head and not bother.

If you're wondering where DH got to. I've evicted her. HNSW won't allow me to sublet my brain for more than three weeks without notifying them.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Update on Rent Subsidy matter

A rent subsidy printout as
received by DH in 2006
Normally of course this blog only concerns itself with matters of pressing national and international import.

So apologies for parochialism, anecdotalism, and generally "belly-aching about my case".

But perhaps a case can be made that this update is something of a public service, as it appears to cast light on the state of HNSW current internal administrative ... the correct word would appear to be "woes" - judging by the inputs and outputs observed in that black box known as the regional HQ for DH's neighbourhood.

See preceding post for the first instalment of DH being thwarted in her attempt to pay more rent to HNSW.
Called HNSW again. Was advised that DH's revised rent subsidy application (submitted early Feb) had not been actioned because apparently there has been yet more staff turnover and another new CSO charged with managing DH's property would be starting on Monday. Further, DH was advised not to report a small additional amount of income of the amount of about $250 as it would not be worth the effort,  but that it was her choice. While thinking this was great, DH is terrified of being summarily sent an eviction notice, mindful that internal communications within HNSW are not that great, and she has already once had an agreement with one CSO ignored by another, leading to an eviction order,  a summons to the CTTT (the dreaded "Tribunal"), and her life on the lawn for a month in a state of extreme stress. (See this blog 2005-6). 

So she bargained for her constitutional right to pay more rent if she wanted to*, and it was agreed that she would report all her income at the next six-monthly review, due anytime soon. So you are once again DH's witnesses that this has happened.

The 2006 rent subsidy
report unfolded.
But seriously ...

*Some exaggeration here for humourous purposes nevertheless, the reality is that HNSW's income-based rental subsidy rules are too complicated for efficient rent management.  Time and again, interactions with staff show that they are mystified by the rules. Perhaps things have changed since DH reported this rental subsidy bungle in 2006 (as per accompanying illustrations) , but calculating rent for a casualised laborforce must be a nightmare.

For some interesting insights into the dilemmas of rent setting, check out papers from Shelter NSW' recent seminar "What's the rent?" earlier this year.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Let the world be a witness

Extract from submitted document
This is one of 6 documents submitted to HNSW Sussex St office on Feb 15th advising HNSW of a change to DH's income
On 2nd March DH followed up with a call to HNSW Burwood, to discover if the info had been received. The person on phone duty assured her that the information was received, but that the new manager of DH"s property had not yet gotten around to it.

Now it's nearly April.

Now if a tenant is so much as a week behind on rent, the letters start flying instantaneously .

Not that DH is particularly keen to pay more rent. But she would rather be paying it at the time the money was earned. Given that Newstart is just $235 a week, clearly, the extra money was spent catching up on necessities as soon as it was earned. There's nothing left now. So it would be a shame to fall behind, and find the dreaded eviction notice in the mail, which terrifying bolt from the blue was the reason this blog started in the first place.

It's tempting to start up an online registry of documents lodged by date and HNSW response date as a public service

DH is happy to blame the Liberal Government. Apparently their bright idea of splitting up HNSW between the Department of Family and Community Services and the Department of Finances and Services has proven to be a dog when it comes to efficiencies.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Precariat of the World Arise!

Precariat of the World arise from your slumbers!
You have nothing to lose but your chains.

Besides, it's nearly lunchtime already, so for gorsakes, get a grip and don't let yourselves go!

So you think you're not chained?

Then what do you call that invisible umbilical cord that ties you to your PC, and is even now pulling you towards, lest you fail to report to Kafkalink and lose even that $235 a week that you had, you wretches of the earth?

DH finds it hard to claim to be desperate when everything is crumbling around us. As a mostly unpaid  member of the Precariat despite a string of degrees, qualifications, references, high level computing skills, and an arguably charming personality to boot, DH can only tighten her belt and be grateful that she still has a roof over her head, unlike so many of her fellow over-qualified middle-aged men and women. And young people fresh out of courses without jobs attached. And immigrants. And all the rest,  people who are just unlucky, unnattractive,  plain average, or deficient in the requisite sharks teeth,  ie most of us..

Here's the latest body blow to the Precariat.  Read the The Aussie making a motza from offshoring white-collar jobs and be very afraid. It's no longer just big corporations that are outsourcing our jobs to a grateful third world. Now small business can get in on the act. Those bits and pieces of jobs that DH and her fellow Precarissimos scrape up from the bottom of the shrinking barrel at ever shrinking hourly rates will now decline further.

Now there's a job for the Labour Phoenix arising. How about going out in a blaze of glory by having the courage to change the taxation system that encourages the housing crisis, and do the right thing and have one pension for everyone, with extra on top for those with disabilities. Yes, we know the National Disability Insurance Scheme is coming and will cost. That's good. But the Newstart policy is creating more disability and homelessness as we type. Force those 3 mining louts, Gina Rinehart, Clive Palmer and Twiggy Forrest pay. And let's not forget the Faceless Criminals of the gambling industry. Confiscate their assets and send them packing. Talking about packing, think of the back tax the alltime gross-outs, the Packer family must owe.

Labor has not changed Howard's punitive regime of industrial conscription. Unemployed Australians

  • first have to lose their life savings before they can even get on the miserable Newstart of abt $240 a week for a single person.
  • can only earn $30 a week before starting to lose 50 cents in the dollar of their pension. What is appalling about this is that it is the same figure as it was 25 years ago, if DH remembers correctly.
  • even employers associations are now starting to think this is bad.
Is it any wonder that there are so many homeless?

Let's hope this isn't an excuse to divide and rule the underclasses by bashing people who live in public housing. Housos do not cause the housing shortage.

Change the unjust laws that positively encourage landlords to get away with highway robbery first!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Caveat housos: On "having your say"

Beware government departments, NGOs or academic institutions offering you the "free gift" of free speech via the opportunity to attend a dreary meeting to "have your say", possibly with the added incentive of a cup of International Roast and some No Frills assorted biscuits.  
You will find that you are letting in a Trojan horse from which will swarm a horde of consultans who will occupy your precious time for as many years it takes for you find out that there was no result for your earnest efforts, or if there was, someone else took the credit and the pay for your ideas.  
"Having your say" [noun phrase]
  1. [vernacular] Magging over the back fence with your neighbour Mrs Kaphoops
  2. [bureaucratese, code] We are a government agency and we want to tick boxes saying we have consulted with tenants. We are happy to claim any policy ideas you come up with as our own without acknowledging you or your intellectual property, and we will do our utmost to hose you down if you try to mention the M-word*
* M-word: It-that-must-not-be-named, aka Maintenance. See under: Maintenance, lack of
Free speech is already free. All you have to do is exercise it. And as they used to say in the women's movement, "Don't be too polite either, girls" ... and guys too.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Selflessness of the Filthy Rich

DH feels we do not give the filthy rich enough credit for their sacrifices for the common good of our great nation.

Imaging the ethical quandary this family of wealth north shore members of the horsey set endures every week.

These Royal Ascot worthies have no
relationship to the Fitznobbs of
our story. They are merely illustrative
of the sacrifices made by the filthy
rich as an example to us all.

They hire an east Asian cleaner, a hardworking woman who has not seen her kids in years, as she scrimps and saves to support the aged parents and children back home. She gets up at 5 for a long commute to the unaffordable suburbs where she must work. Meanwhile The Family zips around in its helicopter between its various properties.

But consider how the Fitznobbs must bleed every pay day. Yes, their heart breaks for her situation and they would love to pay her more than $22 an hour, and even the occasional taxi home after a late night's cleaning, to allow her to save for a visit to her family.

But consider what this would do to our economy! My lord, think of the inflationary pressures such a rash precedent might generate!

So they sacrifice themselves and lash themselves to the mast. Every cent is carefully counted out to the half-hour,  don't you worry about that. Our economy is safe thanks to the selflessness of our owning classes.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Tale of Two Tenancies: Public and Private

DH's street has public housing on one side, and privately owned single-storey workers' cottages dating back to what looks like the early 1900's, on the other.
It has been a stable community on both sides for over the dozen years since DH has lived there. But as the old home owners pass on, people who grew up in the street, the cottages, which are very tiny, hot and pokey inside,  are being bought up by speculators from a country which shall not be named, beginning with the letters Cashed-up, who have no love for quaintness of the Inner West, and who tart the cottages up cheaply in order to let.
Last year a lovely family with a 3 boys from baby to kinder age moved in. A new special chemistry between them and some of the houso families with little kids of their own. Every day, the street was filled with love and laughter. (Yeah, really!!  'Scuse sentimental tearing up as DH types).  Everyone sat on their stoops or the curb till dusk, watching, joining in or chatting as the littlies were taught cricket and other games by a couple of dads.

There hadn't been such joy in the street since about 7 years ago when the earlier cohort of neighbourhood kids finally grew up, went off to Uni or TAFE, or began brilliant careers. Yes, eat your hearts out, "Housos" fans, but our little street of just 8 houses, has already produced 5 Gen Y Uni and TAFE graduates or near-graduates, in Commerce, Arts, Music Management, Medicine, and Librarianship, plus a senior manager in a multinational corporation!
And all those kids gathered outside DH's house where a basket ball hoop was affixed to a wall by a neighbour.  For hours on end, every day, year after year, DH delighted in the regular thump, thump, thump of the ball hitting the wall, knowing that it meant the kids were alright, having a safe place to hang out. And they were so nice too, always asking "Are you sure you don't mind us being here?".
But with the new neighbours it was all to end, all too soon. Coming home one afternoon, DH saw removal vans. After just 6 months, the landlord decided he'd sell the place to make a profit, the private tenants were given notice. Being lucky enough to find another place at short notice, they were off.
It was so sad. The street has reverted to its quieter more insular ways, with only one cricketting dad left to lead the team to glory.
Thus do our rotten private tenancy laws destroy communities, on the whim of landlords eager for profit.
And what happened? The landlord changed his mind, the house didn't sell, and no-one will rent it because of the exorbitant rent he wants for this corrugated roofed hothouse. And there it has sat, empty, for the 2nd year in a row, in the middle of our city's housing crisis!

And the moral of this story is, as always:
Broken communities and housing shortages are not caused by houso wastrels wanting a "handout for life". All this is caused by governments who won't stand up to the landlords' lobby, and who will not enact fair tenure laws in the face of small-time investors who are free to prey on the needy.
"How simplistic of DH!", I hear you say. And no doubt it is, no doubt it is, in this best of all possible free-market worlds.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Seriously, is SBS Housos gunna give us housos a bad name?

There's no way but up... 
Besides, who sez only the upper crust is worthy of satire? (If you call fuck jokes satire...).

Seeeriously: As soon as you start treating any group as if they are fragile,  you run the risk of insulting their humanity, their collective capacity for self-reflection and action. Ever met anyone who feels good about being called "vulnerable"?

So if anything,this show may even defuse class struggle by giving downward envy an outlet.

It might get funnier too if we give it a chance. Some of it was funny, like the rap anthem.

But let's wait and see whether "Housos" incites lynch mobs of decent citizens to descend on our estates and sprinkle us like so many salt and pepper flakes around the better suburbs.  

If you are thinking of joining a lynch mob tho, just remember the structural problems (don't mention the "C" word*) that cause the family breakdowns, the mental illness, the dislocation, the wasted lives, the addictions, the gambling, etc etc that created us subprime folks. It could happen to you...


Someone should tell SBS they're being ripped of though. With every 3rd word being "fucken", they're only getting 20 minutes of script for every 30 they pay for.  


* Not that "C" word, dickheads!. The "Cap#@**$alism word.

For a really classy review of this show, check out the collective wisdom of the Brown Couch's Cultural Studies A-Team

SBS Housos: The Verdict: Subprime

Subprime slapstick about supposedly
subprime people for an even more
subprime audience in a deservedly
subprime timeslot.

SBS Housos: The Survey

DH's quiet enjoyment of her FB page was shattered by yet another questionaire yesterday.

Fair dinkum, is there no place where the damn sociologists and social workers can't find us??? 

Loik, there were no weren't no fair dinkum choices neither.

What about some fully sick options loik: 
  • F%!# off, oi ain't tellin the guvmint nuffink
  • F%!# off, oi don't want no trouble
  • F%!# off, oi've already done 3 Uni surveys and a Focus group this week, and all oi got in return was a cuppa International Roast and soggy Sao biscuits