Stealing now legal in Victorian public service

Thou shalt not steal, unless you steal 14 million dollars as an IT manager for the Victorian government, then nothing will happen and the weak-as-water IBAC ‘corruption commission’ wont even bother to name you (in case you have hurt feelings).

I suppose, after allowing someone to steal 14m, IBAC will launch a new round of worthless public sector staff ‘education’ and ‘training’ initiatives; whats the point when there’s no penalty for theft and they don’t even bother charging people?

The corruption, nepotism and waste in Victoria’s closed shop public sector is beyond belief. Its more than time for a total cleanout. It is just insulting for taxpayers to be forced to pay for a little club of mates and relatives where thieving is now legal (and has been for some time).


The real issue

If you read the Age or fairfax, particularly their ‘only published because they pay’ subscribers, then all the problems of the world are caused by ‘neoliberalism’ etc etc. If they dont start out blaming this, pretty much every comment thread quickly devolves into how the free market is all a conspiracy to make the rich richer and the poor poorer etc.

If you read the Heraldsun, then its all ‘socialist dan’s’ fault, (and climate change is all rubbish as well).

Thats it. Pick a side. Very frustrating, and wrong. And keeps the real problems going.

The ‘sides’ in our economy are not either a rampaging free market or a state controlled economy. The division is between the well connected rorters and the rest of us.

A perfect example: the Pharmacy Guild. Since 1990, they have had a policy of restricting areas pharmacies can services, euphemistically call the ‘community pharmacy location rules’ (competition prevention rules, more like). This means they can block new entrants who want to set up within 1.5km of an existing pharmacy. This has been a massive goldmine for the existing pharmacy holders, so that most of them no longer have to work, they can just employ their $25 an hour casuals to slave away for them. They are laughing and enjoying the monopoly. This is what was behind the pharmacy guild making an approach to the One Nation Party, to protect their lurk.

These type of arrangements are repeated virtually everywhere else in the economy. A protected elite, using government to tilt the rules in their favor.

And that story sums up the real division in Australia. Its not between ‘business’ and the ‘worker’. its between the insiders, like the Pharmacy Guild, who’ve managed to get a government rort for their members that makes them billions for nothing, and the rest of us. The miners, (who dig minerals out of the ground, pay 5% (if they feel like it) and wont even have a proper bidding scheme for the rights) and the rest of us. Get the picture? Its the people who’ve rigged the free market lording it over everyone else.

Thats what we should be focused on. We all have a common issue, if we put away our labels, of squaring up to the monopolies and rorts that put all our costs up.

But sadly, apart from what is usually way-off-base criticism of bankers, it all gets drawn back to either blaming the ‘neoliberial’ LNP (as if they are anyway) or ‘socialist Dan’ (very odd socialists whose privatized stuff that would make Jeff blush). When the real crooks, the ones that have rigged the business system for their monopoly, are laughing.

Try it yourself. So blaming one side or another, and look at who actually benefits from govt decisions. .Transurban, the Pharmacy Guild ; and who’s really shelling out the donations. The Age readers and Herald Sun commenters might discover a common enemy hiding in plain sight. Its a real game of mates, as the book says.


Victoria was a failed state well before the virus.

The Andrews government in Victoria is a monumental con. Far to the right of Jeff Kennett, they have privatized the port (a monopoly asset, of course); and the titles office (also a monopoly). Roads have been outsourced (literally) to Transurban with vast private royalty flows five times the cost of just building them ourselves. And dont get me started on how they import hundreds of thousands of migrants, grab 40k off them upfront in stamp duty (at the most), then dump them in new outer suburbs and leave the 300k each migrant needs in lifetime infrastructure for future generations to pay.

All the while doing this, they’ve skillfully saturated the media and gullible journalists (ie, all of them) with chinwobbling social justice messaging and virtue signalling, making Victoria out to be a caring, sharing, politically correct nirvana, while all the while, in the real world, privatizing everything in sight. It’s quite an achievement.

The state was going into heavy deficit well before the virus. This is a combination of (a) wasteful public spending (armies of useless government bureaucrats) (b) idiotic privatization deals (ie getting private providers to build roads and hospitals and either paying inflated access charges locked in for forty years or just bailing them out if they go broke (thus paying for the same asset three times) (c) bloated spending on ‘consultancies’ (hiring useless big four accounting firms to tell you the time and get you to spend more on their services) and (d) running a population ponzi, where you get migrants coming in (who ultimately cost 300k plus in infrastructure each), grab 40k or so off them in stamp duty, and dump them in outer suburb seats while building nothing and letting future taxpayers pay for it.

It really is amazing. The virus, in a way, is the best thing to happen to the Andrews government, as it will enable them to (momentarily) cover up the stupendous waste of simultaneously flogging everything off, paying for it three times over in the most inefficient way possible, importing people in an upfront scam and STILL going broke.

As always, the media are to blame. I well remember just as the Andrews govt. flogged off the Land Titles office, (selling something that had worked well for 160+ years), they distracted the press gallery with a simultaneous ‘announcement’ of a mythical outer rail loop for Melbourne. At the time, I thought the media couldn’t be so stupid to fall for such an obvious trick, but fall they did; all the media pundits and letterwriters started pontificating and chattering about a magical rail line that will never be built, while the irreversible land title privatization sailed through with virtually no comment. Oh well.

When the accounts are really done on the Andrews govt., nobody will believe the waste, but by then, all the ministers and their ‘advisers’ will be well into retirement on their lucrative super payouts and pensions.


Nanny State

Quick question: why do people who complain about the ‘Nanny State’ always want the state to pay for their nannies?


The press gallery has decided: any criticism of immigration is racist!

Australia’s press gallery are full of it. They virtually never discuss policies, and spend their lives being obsessed with trivia and made up nonsense (gay marriage, the republic) that nobody else in Australia or the real world has ever given a stuff about either way.

The press gallery actively HATE any discussion of policies, as this takes attention away from themselves, their ‘contacts’; and their little world of pointless personality based gossip; which (when all is stripped away) is the only thing they have to offer.

However, there is one issue the press gallery,as a group, do write about about, and unite upon. Immigration. By unquestioningly cheering on limitless numbers, the press gallery can delude themselves they are progressives while in fact overseeing a vast transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich (the latter group including, coincidentally of course, all of their proprietors and advertisers). And if anyone complains about it, well, there’s always the ‘R’ card….

Here are two predictable pieces by press gallery members. Remember, before the internet, stuff like this would just be published without any pushback (unless another hack disagreed with them, which never happens with immigration):

Both are in the standard press gallery tradition of pretending to be all wise and progressive by slavishly praising immigration, when in fact the consequence of it mean a screwed middle and lower class, on lower wages, worse infrastructure and locked out of the housing market, while all the benefits accrue to (purely coincidentally of course) their rich proprietors and advertisers.

Both pieces have the usual condescension toward ordinary people- they are all stupid, and possibly racist, they can’t possibly understand the complexities of immigration, we’re all benefiting from it really (well press gallery journalists and their proprietors are, not so much everyone else) etc etc blah blah.

If you get a chance, read Bramston’s bio, its hilarious how he values himself based on all the interviews with star politicians he’s conducted- note its not about the policies- but, as always with the press gallery, its about the personalities.

In fact, maybe, ironically migrants COULD be brought in to replace press gallery journalists? This might finally change a few press gallery minds. The migrants require the following skills:

  • Be completely innumerate (in particular they must not understand the concept ‘per capita’)
  • think as a group
  • be immune to facts and issues
  • focus solely on gossip (and their proprietor’s interests)

Actually, just kidding. Nobody’s that dumb!


All celebrity ‘controversies’ are publicity stunts

A reminder: Whenever you see a celebrity in the news for saying something ‘controversial’, it is a publicity stunt. There are only two exceptions to this rule:

  • When the celebrity is genuinely involved with a charity and speaks out. Fair enough. (Doesn’t happen much, though.)
  • When the celebrity genuinely mucks up and does something clearly career damaging (ie getting done for drink driving etc); a genuine outburst involving taboo words etc, that then kills their career for life. (Again, these are rare occurrences).

Everything else is a stunt. This is pretty much immediately obvious to anyone who’s worked even on the fringes of the media and knows how impossible it is to get publicity, or get anywhere without it.

So, when a radio announcer makes an ‘outrageous’ comment or claim and this ‘sparks debate’, the only thing its really sparking is the ratings. I suppose this is all quite benign when its commercial media engaging in a pointless publicity circus, but its particularly annoying when publicly funded media, like the ABC, get sucked in as well and start ‘discussing’ the ‘controversy’. Then you have public funds being spent so a radio star can keep their lucrative job, (instead of having to get a real one.)

Its also irritating because most of the time, the people making the ‘outrageous’ comments, don’t actually believe them anyway, it was just something cooked up between them and a producer.

Remember, next time a media personality says something ‘outrageous’ and you feel the urge to publicly condemn or comment, you’re being ‘played’ for ratings. Every time. It’s time journalists grew up about this.


Guest workers are citizens now?

How bloody dare they. Sally McManus, head of the trade union movement (a group that until a few decades ago was notionally committed to improving the lot of workers, but now exists to boost the careers of personally ambitious preselection-seeking virtue-signallers) has joined the rest of the elites in demanding that Australia’s visa workers receive the full benefits of the ‘Job Keeper’ $750 weekly payment, introduced during the course of the Coronavirus crisis.

The sheer chutzpah of this has to be appreciated. These foreign visa workers are overwhelmingly not ‘skilled’. They were brought in as cheap labor- people working 50-60 hours a week for wages south of $10 per hour. And because of that, the majority of Australian workers never wanted these ‘guestworkers’ here in the first place.

And despite this nonsense myth that they ‘were brought in to do the jobs Australians saw as beneath them” (which kind of contradicts the nonsense ‘they are skilled’ meme in the first place), in fact Australians still very much wanted to do these jobs, they just weren’t allowed to have them after the cheaper (and more importantly, more pliant) foreign workers were brought in.

Australians have never been given a vote or a choice on the mad overimmigration in place since the John Howard years. The reason is obvious- -they are overwhelmingly against it (not surprising when you have nearly a million citizens our of work anyway) and would vote it down in a second.

Now we are facing the biggest fiscal and job crisis of our lifetimes, where our taxes (and a big deficit) are being spent to prop Australian citizens up, and, the same elites (the press gallery (of course) the universities, big business, the unsackable ABC ‘journalists’) are all demanding that our tax money, Australian taxpayer money, be spent financially supporting the visa workers.

So, they originally forced visa workers on us to lower our wages. This put millions of Australians our of work well before there was any virus crisis. And now we are expected to put our country’s budget into deficit (and pay big taxes in the future) to finance the ongoing welfare of our (unwanted) replacements. And they were only invited here on the basis of them having a job while they were here.

No. No. No. No. No. No. No way. Not one cent of welfare is to be given to these visa workers. The rules were clear. We are NOT a welfare scheme to fund our replacements.

I sympathize with those 2m a year Vice Chancellors who need their visa proles to fund a new yacht next year; the smug press gallery ‘journalists’ who think they are being progressive by cheering on slave guestworker schemes (ironically pleasing their proprietors and big business) and Sally McManus, who loves to virtue signal in the hopes of getting preselected (even at the expense of her own members). Actually, I don’t sympathize, these people are appalling.

Granting these guestworkers full welfare rights is basically granting them citizenship, without the consent of, well, the actual citizens. This is forcing us to share our country with people who clearly came here as temporary work migrants to undercut our wages. Forcing us to put our country into ruinous deficit to fund our worker-bee replacements. I wonder if the next ‘policy’ to be pushed by the elites is to grant visa workers preference at hospitals (on the basis they are more productive than us anyway)? They might as well.

No. Enough is enough, elites. The visa workers were forced on us by you to lower our wages. No govt welfare for them. If the visa scheme conditions aren’t being met, they must return. Maybe they could take the elites with them?


Tax the miners more

Here we go again. Just saw a ludicrous popup ‘ad’ from the Minerals Council of Australia talking about how wonderful the miners are and making a ‘link’ between mining and scientific research into the Coronavirus (?).

The real reason for these ads, in case you were wondering, is to avoid paying more tax. The minerals council did the same after the bushfires, when the country suffered huge financial losses and there was a proposal to tax the miners more. Vague, ‘feelgood’ ads appeared which really send the signal ‘don’t tax our free diesel or our piddling 5% royalties’.

This is all pathetic and sad for two reasons:

First, apparently these type of ads aren’t really meant for the general population. They act as ‘signalling’ for the easily led elites (notably the press gallery and the canberra politicians) that the people love the mining companies, and they can’t possibly be taxed more (even though they are barely taxed now).

Surely the miners are wrong. The press gallery can’t be THAT gullible, surely, to be taken in by a special interest pleading for lower tax rates? I mean its not like the miners always hire an economic ‘consultancy’ to produce a rubbish report showing that, lo and behold, increasing the tax rate would make them actually pay less tax, or some other rubbish like that; and this ‘independent’ report is splashed uncritically across the news by basically innumerate press gallery hacks? Oops, thats exactly what happens. The press gallery ‘pre decide’ that the policy must be unpopular, as they are taken in by the laughable PR campaign and fancy reports. You can generally rely on the press gallery to side with what the elites want in opposition to what the vast majority want (see also mass immigration on this point). Taxing the miners has always been a wildly popular policy; but unfortunately not permitted by our elites.

Second, mining in Australia is criminally undertaxed. Criminally. They get tax free diesel. They pay a lousy 5% royalty (when they feel like it). They get huge, rorted, depreciation allowances which, for example, allows the gas industry to basically pay no tax. Its estimated that if the miners paid proper tax, every Australian household would be $20,000 per year richer. Imagine if I logged into your netbanking and stole 20k a year- would you be happy? And yet thats what we allow them to do. Could we all do with an extra 20k a year during this current crisis?. Hell yes. Or we could easily pump an additional 220bn a year into public health. Now that would be a good thing!

The solutions are very simple. We need a proper market bidding process for mining royalties. Lang Hancock flew over an iron deposit in the 1950s, claimed it for a lousy 5% royalty rate (for 90 years!), and they’ve been busy onselling the minerals until they are likely all gone in a decade or more. Gina Rinehart is now worth 50 billion plus (money obtained from clipping a ticket from a government resource given away virtually for nothing) while she implores us to work for $2 per hour. Gina Rinehart is also Australia’s biggest welfare bludger. Its not even close. You could add up all the money paid out in unemployment benefits, triple it, and she still extracts more than that a year.

They are our minerals, not theirs. Make them bid for it. See if BHP will offer a 7% royalty for Hammersly Iron (I bet they would) or Rio Tinto offer 15% (I’ll bet they would too!). Lets have a proper free market for these minerals, with people paying a proper rate.

Ironically, a free market is exactly what the miners and the IPA etc etc oppose- they think they should be entitled for life for a government monopoly sweetheart deal. Not any more.


A modest proposal for Public sector job and wage cuts

With the deficit skyrocketing, most Australians are doing it tough. Most. However, there are a few protected areas that have surprisingly escaped much scrutiny.

The most obvious are public sector workers. Now, straight off, I’m going to draw a clear distinction between the actual, front line, ‘deal with the public’ workers, the nurses, the doctors, the orderlies, the police, the ambulance people, the teachers, the bus drivers etc, and the armies of backoffice bureaucrats that we have working in the state/federal bureaucracy- many of whom wouldn’t meet the general public in a fit in an average workday.

I have to say that because one of the chief distracting tactics of the public sector cheersquad is to conflate all cuts to public servants as cuts to front line, genuine workers, when of course that’s not what we’re talking about at all. Fairfax commenters (many of them public servants I wonder?) constantly make this false conflation. For the record; we’re talking about the back office clipboard loafers – of whom there are many.

Despite what many public sector defenders say, the ‘back office’ people are clearly distinguishable from the frontline workers, and always have been. So, yes, you can sack back office people without affecting the frontlines (and always could). And in fact one of the biggest impediments to people on the frontline are the backoffice people making up rules and regulations and sending out forms and surveys for the sake of it.

A good example is the Victorian Institute of Teaching. I can remember the old school inspectors, who would come to the school, and actually stand in class and observe. Tough for the teachers, but you had to respect the fact the inspectors made the trip. Now, we get a bunch of smug ‘tick the box’ bureaucrats, making ‘directives’ and collecting fees (and fining those who are late) who wouldn’t visit (or even know where a school was) in a pink fit. And every so often, at great public expense, they launch a ‘show prosecution’ (with a little group of overpaid barristers) to ban a teacher – in many cases running uncontested hearings (with barristers on 5k a day!) where the teacher has already handed in their license and said they have stopped working anyway(!). Time to simply shut the whole thing down.

Should also be noted that there are extreme levels of nepotism and favoritism in the public sector. Most jobs are given to mates or family members. Therefore its a bit odd to expect private sector workers to support payrises for jobs that are effectively denied to them, for life.

Victoria’s public sector wages bill is a staggering 26bn a year. It defies belief that there isn’t fat to cut from that, even after ringfencing frontline workers (which we should do). Here is a modest proposal to cut that fat, with the most obvious candidates at the start:

  • Complete and immediate sacking of all ‘ministerial advisers’ with no payout of benefits etc. These sackings would have the added benefit of immediately lifting government productivity. Bye bye, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet!
  • Immediate sacking of all media advisers, people who write press releases, ‘communication officers’, ‘Electorate officers’, PR officers, and all those bloody idiots who devise those pathetic government advertising campaigns (have you ‘swapped a stop’ to walk more to lose weight recently?).
  • Most of the corporate lawyers can go. And so can the ones that devise ‘corporate compliance’ (ie dreaming up more rules to confuse everyone with).
  • Anyone who works on indigenous issues who is not, on a daily basis, providing direct person to person care; is sacked. Bye bye Canberra bureaucrat who I saw enjoying her triple latte at Parliament House while flicking through her ‘Closing the gap’ glossy brochure with a pen marker!
  • All HR etc etc can be reduced to a simple ‘Personnel Officer’ (one person per department) who simply gathers and filters resumes for all PS positions. And, because nepotism and jobs for mates are a critical issue in the public sector, a simple global govt website which says ‘Job xrt221 at Dept of Lands was filled on 15th May 2020 by John Stubbins, who was previously a bureaucrat at Treasury’. Then we all know who’s getting the jobs, and why. Sunlight is the best disinfectant!.. And because we’ll change the law to allow people to be sacked as easily in the public sector as in the private, no more tribunals, ‘grievance committees’ etc etc and no. no. no. more jobs for life.
  • A complete, across the board upper wage cap across all govt and govt owned enterprises of 200k. Christine Holgate- leader of Australia Post on 3m a year? Sorry Christine, its 200k, take it or leave it. ABC star ‘luvvie’ who’s on a 500k package, you’re now on 200k; if you dont like it, leave. (You might have to sell your house in Glebe or North Melbourne. Oh well). This is everywhere- all heads of departments from the PM down.
  • 70% cut to ABC budget. Yep, I know you got your job when you were a Whitlam staffer, and I know you must have the right opinions because everyone else in the office agrees with you. But we haven’t time for you anymore. Out. ABC was set up as a basic news service so it needs a TV channel and a news website. And that’s it.
  • 80,000 of the most unneeded backoffice public servants to be sacked in Victoria. At an average total cost of 100k a year, that’s a saving of 8 billion a year- straight into the public health system! Imagine that replicated across the whole country- fantastic!
  • 40% across the board paycut for any backoffice public servants still left including all MPs.
  • The Victorian Institute of Teaching, Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, The Victorian Privacy Commissioner, The Victorian Law Foundation, The Legal Services board, AHPRA, all completely closed; all staff sacked; and the resulting 500m a year pumped straight into public health. Similar bodies in other states abolished (send me your suggestions!).
  • The Australia Council completely abolished- no more luxury trips to Venice for you! (and no more artists being funded to do burnouts in rolls royces in the outbacks to tell a message about oppression!)
  • All former backoffice staff on defined pensions to have those pensions reduced to a maximum of $450 a week (still very generous). Sticks in my craw to have smiling former bureaucrats boasting of their 1.5k a week incomes (plus! for life!) for being retired from a job where they never did anything anyway.
  • This is all just a start, what are your ideas? After this post, the other side of the ledger- a plan to finally make the miners pay their proper share of tax!


Turns out I’m useless, (and thats fine)

Firstly, kudos to our health workers, doctors nurses orderlies, grocery clerks, delivery drivers and all the others keeping us going. Its interesting who the real essential workers turn out to be; and compare that with how much they’re paid.

Unsurprisingly, I’m not one of them. Its a bit frightening (but not surprising) to discover that you belong to a job that in this current crisis is utterly useless.. Makes you want to retrain to do something practical. I’m sure there’s a lot of others looking at who we normally fawn over in the normal economy realizing that they just didn’t matter that much.