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The Forum > Article Comments > All for a better, bigger picture ... > Comments

All for a better, bigger picture ... : Comments

By Sandra Bilson, published 10/8/2007

How ministers, staffers, bureaucrats, and policy analysts work as they strive for power, change and the 'Response'.

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Sandra, I wonder if you are reading this thread?

I particularly noted the extent of your qualifications, and tried to imagine the consequences of being a part of the political culture and structure that you describe.

Call me naive, but I got the impression of a system of government that is not strong, but vulnerable and weak. Weak because it allows for all manner of subversions by unnacountable people who wish to push their own agendas. Weak because the simple truth hardly stands a chance of falling through the cracks.

Is it any wonder that corporate lobbyists get to have so much influence? Is it any wonder that the "war on terror" got so much traction? You could grow a unicorn in soil so rich. You could penetrate and subvert this system with ease, especially if you were a wealthy and influential foreign government who happens to share it's intelligence with us (I use the word "intelligence" guardedly here).

I think Helen Ester's piece in today's OLO:
http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=6222
- makes a good companion to yours.

Only lies and liars need so much secrecy and protection. Truth is always seditious. Any politician who lies, or who can be coerced into lying, is lost, because lies are such high-maintenance beasts. And lies pile up, because they must pile up in the service of one another - exponentially.

Then even an unelected minion can precipitate an avalanche with a well timed pebble.

Maybe here we can get a clue to what happened to Dr Haneef, "Mad Mick" Keelty and silly old Kevin Andrews.

- what do you think of my thesis?

(further inspiration: John Pilger on Democracy Now):
http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/08/07/130258
Posted by Chris Shaw, Carisbrook 3464, Friday, 10 August 2007 12:06:51 PM
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i think the key phrase was about building policy- after election. that figures..

we don't have to put up with this standard of management, but when the people are sheep, they will be ruled by dogs. now the dogs are devolving to wolves.

much as i would like to tell you how to improve things, i can't think of a way, that doesn't involve getting off your bums and working for democracy. not done here, so wait till the coppers break into your house, looking for terrorists, or leakers, or bearded men, or the proscribed opposition, or anyone that inconveniences our masters.
Posted by DEMOS, Friday, 10 August 2007 3:56:00 PM
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As somebody who is trying to challenge the process I wouldn't mind some tips and advice.

What has become clear is that the process requires that the complainant produce everything in writing at the outset. Then this information is presented to the Department/person that you are complaining about as they have the right of reply. They then write a report and take leave. They take leave so that nobody can ask questions about the report.

The person who has been allocated to make enquries about the matter (from the same Department) then reads the report, accepts the excuses/information on face value, as they have not seen anything else and donít have anything to compare, and on the basis of what is put before them they deem the matter dealt with and closed. Never to be re-opened again. From then on these documents are placed in a folder and they represent the process and if anybody asks questions they are presented with a copy of the process that deemed the matter closed. If the complainant continues to persue justice they can be branded vexatious and correspondence from them filed away.

Procedural fairness and natural justice doesn't exist and there appears to be no avenue to hold the process and procedures used by our Government/public service to account even if they breach their own Policies and codes of conduct.

Surely excuses or explanations have to be seen as reasonable to the ordinary person, especially since they are coming from the mouth of those that are being accused. Surely if there are misrepresenation and lies being told that would indicate that somethign sinister is going on?

Education - Keeping them Honest
http://jolandachallita.typepad.com/education/
Our children deserve better
Posted by Jolanda, Friday, 10 August 2007 4:23:36 PM
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The greatest bulk of regulation is drafted an approved by unelected people - the bureaucrats themselves who are well-known for pulling the same policy hobbyhorses out of the drawer for both sides of government.

True, the minister arrives with a number of ideological imperatives but these are easily circumvented by the very clever and very persistent bureacrats he has to deal with.

The SES is filled with Prince Machevellis and every last one of them has his/her entrenched opinion of what is best for Australia and for their own empire building (and not necessarily in that order). It is also true that bureaucrats form networks that work tirelessly and secretly for goals that may be the opposite of that desired by parliament.

Yes, Prime Minister is uncomfortably close to reality, except of course for the paranoid secrecy of the Liberal government.
Posted by Cornflower, Saturday, 11 August 2007 9:35:57 AM
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Sandra you understand the system in all of its current dysfunctionality.
You catalogue the breakdown of the Westminster System, the exercise of power and the prevailing fear and cynicism within the political and bureaucratic processes in Canberra.
This knowledge and understanding gives you at one and the same moment, power within and perhaps over aspects of the current system and a responsibility toward the Australian people and democracy.It gives you the resources to comply and prosper or challenge and... Which way will you jump?
You might also have mentioned in your article the lack of accountability in Defence procurement proceedures,of the Immigration Department, the AFP and the lack of proper oversight of ASIS and ASIO.
Bruce Haigh
Posted by Bruce Haigh, Saturday, 11 August 2007 10:25:37 AM
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how can you have 'proper oversight ' in a society wherein ordinary people have the political status of sheep?
Posted by DEMOS, Sunday, 12 August 2007 8:46:08 AM
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