@ Fred: There are great teachers who put in 110% …

Comment on With Gunner and Scullion, Batchelor doesn’t need Santa by John Bell.

@ Fred: There are great teachers who put in 110% on communities but they are pressured by the system.
The rotten apple here is the government grant system that fudges the results. Jack pinpoints it in education. I saw it over a lot of years in Aboriginal sports admin in Canberra. Low expectations and ticking KPI boxes that do not measure up.
The 2012 audit on $2.1 million in the Indigenous Marathon Project is a classic. When these issues are picked up in audits such as this one,
http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/foi%20122-1314
there is no transparency in head office.
Note the auditors’ concerns in Document 2 about enormous expenditure amounts in the funding columns headed “Attachment A: Expenses which do not appear to be for the purposes of the Indigenous Marathon Project” and “Attachment B: Payments for management services”.
A cover up occurs and a secretive departmental strategy is put in place to make the problem disappear as if by magic, such as this one which went all the way up to Minister Snowdon.
http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/foi-030-1516
Note in page 2 of Document 3 the First Assistant Secretary’s “issues of concern to which there is an imperative to respond without further delay”.
Note the two and a half pages of blacked out strategy that we mug punters will never be privy to.
An official new broom is put thru the old org and it is given a fresh start without Joe or Josephine Public ever being any the wiser.
The wasted, diverted and siphoned money gets lost in the wash, never to be seen again.
And the core problem stays in the system. A sub culture that will continue to re-occur, dudding everyone – Aboriginal students, sport lifestyle trainees, teachers, coaches et al.

[ED – We have offered the right of reply to the Indigenous Marathon.]

John Bell Also Commented

With Gunner and Scullion, Batchelor doesn’t need Santa
@ Fred. I can only speak from my own experience in project design and implementation across the Commonwealth public service in remote communities. Particularly in sports administration. Saw it in housing, education, health and general employment.
I was fortunate to be in Alice in 1967 when the Training Allowance Scheme was first implemented, leading to the tsunami of idealistic and impractical project implementation madness that blossomed under Whitlam and successive governments too frightened to blow the whistle. I then saw it entrenched in Canberra through the 1980s and 90s.
From what I have experienced, I have no doubt whatsoever that there remains a bureaucratic mindset that allows a soft, patronising approach to project design, the setting and meeting of ridiculous KPIs, the granting of huge amounts of public funding that is not properly monitored and too often written off in bad debts.
There is a cancer in the administrative system that too easily allows government departments to paper over and whitewash financial mismanagement and cost ineffectiveness that would see ordinary citizens facing allegations of fraud if shown the light of day.
So many of my old colleagues can cite examples that would not be believed by urbanites today.


With Gunner and Scullion, Batchelor doesn’t need Santa
@ Fred: It was the system at Territory Administrator level 1968-1973 in Darwin that turned a blind eye to phantom trainees on the payroll in most remote communities. Auditors John Glazebrook and Terry Oldroyd picked up 100 phantoms at a single community Docker River River circa 1970. Paid for two years. Hushed up. Buried.
Then it was the system that turned a blind eye everywhere in the Whitlam era in the Toyota Dreaming time. I saw the scandalous projects dreamed up and funded in their hundreds.
Who can ever forget the Angora Goat Project at Papunya? Those who saw it all unfolding and dared to protest were told to shut their mouths and labelled racist if they were white, Uncle Toms if they were black.
This mindset has been entrenched in the system in Canberra forever now. Meeting meaningful KPIs with due diligence and Departmental transparency in the monitoring of grants are just words.
Twisted to mean anything the system wants them to mean in any given, government-favoured project. A Wonderland fantasy.
Good people have been trying to eradicate this cancer in the system ever since I can remember, but I fear they are not winning.


With Gunner and Scullion, Batchelor doesn’t need Santa
NOT YET … see note to him.

@ Fred: There are great teachers who put in 110% on communities but they are pressured by the system.
The rotten apple here is the government grant system that fudges the results.
Jack pinpoints it in education. I saw it over a lot of years in Aboriginal sports administration in Canberra: Low expectations and ticking KPI boxes that do not measure up.
The 2012 audit on $2.1m in the Indigenous Marathon Project is a classic. When these issues are picked up, there is no transparency in head office.
A cover up occurs, a new broom is put through the old organisation and it is given a fresh start without Joe or Josephine Public being any the wiser.
The wasted, diverted and siphoned money gets lost in the wash, never to be seen again.
And the core problem stays in the system. A sub culture that will continue to re-occur, dudding everyone – Aboriginal students, sport lifestyle trainees, teachers, coaches et al


Recent Comments by John Bell

Fighting youth crime, not just in office hours
Julia Gillard’s Royal Commission into sexual abuse of innocent children had a golden opportunity to shine a light into this tunnel of darkness.
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It will simply never happen because politicians and the bureaucracy are joined at the hip.
I would challenge any of the major parties, including the Greens, to stand up in Todd Street and Mitchell Street on their moral soap boxes and debate this among the people without parliamentary privilege to hide behind.
They simply would not have the guts.


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Hard to get too upset about all the ruckus up your way.
Down here in Mexico, The Garden State, we are locked out by the Green crowd from ALL land gas mining and exploration, fracking or conventional.
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To die for country
Kieran and Alex. Thank you for your thoughts. In 1980 I sat one hot afternoon in the grandstand at the Gardens Oval in Fanny Bay with board members during the National Aboriginal Sports Foundation’s national footy and netball carnival.
I asked our public officer, Captain Reg Saunders MBE, the first Aboriginal soldier to become a commissioned officer in the Royal Australian Armed Forces, what did he think of the War Memorial in Canberra.
Reg paused a moment, looked at me and said with quiet dignity and respect: “It is a good place.”
In 1985 Reg was appointed to the Council of the Australian War Memorial.
I guess what I am trying to say is that if there is a single place in all of Australia that embodies our national identity as a people together, with an inclusive soul for all of us, it is that place.
Within its walls are commemorated our soldiers, nurses, and all those who have served, forever treated equally with quiet dignity and respect – most inclusive of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters.
It is the resting place of the Unknown Soldier, where so many souls of unknown identities of all racial origins are now at peace, brothers and sisters together, free of today’s politics of race and sovereign power.
Everyone who has ever had anything to do with the Memorial, from Brendan Nelson down to the volunteer tour guides, some of whom are my long-time friends, will tell you of the memorial’s all-embracing warmth, an inclusive spirituality that is beyond words.
It is a good place for all Australians.


To die for country
@ Kieran Finnane: “His emphasis is on Indigenous service in Australia’s overseas conflicts, which he sees strangely as a denial of their Aboriginality.”
With due respect, I strongly disagree with Ms Finnane’s take on Brendan Nelson’s statement. The Australian War Memorial in Canberra is a very special place. A unique symbol of Australia’s national cultural identity.
Over many years, I sat within its walls, gazing at the depictions of old battlefields where my (our) relatives died, contemplating the ultimate sacrifice by men and women from every part of the world, from every race and walk of life.
Every Anzac Day for so many years I stood in the pre-dawn darkness among the trees up the hill behind the Memorial, with the last remaining Diggers of my late dad’s battalion in their fold up seats, rugs over their frail old knees, listening to their whispered stories, gratefully accepting the passed-around hip flask to keep out the morning chill. A thousand candles flickering through the trees down the hillside.
And then, as the Last Post sounded at the break of dawn, the sleeping kookaburras all around us in the trees awoke and rose laughing cheerfully to greet the morning sun. Every year, without fail.
The old Diggers would look up to the sky, thinking their own thoughts, smiling.
Anyone who knows the Aboriginal legend of the kookaburra and the spirit of the young desert warrior now at peace will understand the beautiful cross-cultural significance of that poignant moment.
Above all else, the moment you walk through its portals, the War Memorial wraps you in a lovingly warm embrace of peace and unity, a universal oneness that makes no distinction of race, colour or ethnicity.
That is what Brendan Nelson meant. It is Mumu Mike Williams’s take, and it is my take.


The eternal chase: songlines of the Seven Sisters
@ Craig San Roque. Thank you for an interesting and entertaining snapshot of Greek mythology. Makes a good comparison with the story in Aboriginal Songlines.
They are great stories that have stood the test of time simply because they are great stories that stand alone.
It is only when they are captured by today’s Left and the Human Rights Brigade, the champions of victimhood and causes, and start putting today’s alternative spin on them, that the lustre and sheer brilliance begins to fade.


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