@ Fred: It was the system at Territory Administrator level …

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

@ 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.

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: 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.]


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

She lived where life is what you make it
A beautiful story of a beautiful soul. Yet another member of the nursing profession who gave their heart and soul to everyone in need of care.


Flag on the Hill: When No became Yes
@ Evelyne Roullet. Speak for yourself, Mrs Roullet. Australia was not built by people committing crime and doing bad things in society.
It was built by good people doing hard yakka by the sweat of their brow, in extreme hardship.
It was also built by free settlers, missionaries and Aboriginal men and women such as Mum Shirl and Doug Nicholls who worked together with their white brothers and sisters to make Australia a happy place.
And yes, I know you are simply quoting an old saying. However, it is too glib – and inappropriate – to equate it with today’s wilful crime, lack of personal responsibility and victimhood mentality that unpicks all that great work.


Wakefield insists on Anzac Oval, ignores majority
Seems to me as a former Stott House rezzie long ago that the Melanka block is the perfect tourist spot for a gallery.
But what about the sacred site trees on the Melanka block? Would a space be left for them in the middle of the gallery?
Or have they been cut down? I confess I have not seen the block for a few years.


Martin Luther King III ‘disheartened’ by what he saw in Alice
@ Evelyne Roullet. I am not sure that your reference to this Latin phrase fits the critical grog problem social situation in Alice.
The full Latin phrase is “Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam”. Roman statesman Cato the Elder 200 years before Christ was reported by Livy and other historians as saying “furthermore, it is my opinion that Carthage should be destroyed”.
Carthage was Ancient Rome’s major enemy, sitting on its doorstep about three days’ sail away in what is modern day Tunisia. Long after Cato’s death, the Roman army on the Third Punic War left not a stone upon a stone of its rival city, decreeing that nothing was to be built on the site thereafter.
I don’t think anyone envisages the “tap being turned off” completely, leaving not a keg upon a keg in the pubs and takeaways of the Alice.
We have learnt the lesson. Grog is entrenched in the DNA of every race in human culture throughout the world.
We found that out in the western world with Prohibition that will never be revisited in Alice or anywhere else after the failed experiment in the USA of the 1930s.
The trick will always be now to wisely navigate the perils of over-indulgence, especially in our young people of all races and colour who are hammering themselves for whatever reasons with the added beast of drugs.
Like Ancient Rome, the grog solution in Alice will not be built in a day. We just have to keep looking for answers.


Large number of cars vandalised at Araluen
@Josh Davis. Josh. You are being a tad unfair, quite harsh, in fact, on 99.9% of people who have been expressing serious concerns about escalating property and increasingly violent youth behaviour.

No fairminded person has been “heaping endless vitriol” on these kids. They are simply distressed and fearful of what may well happen in the very near future if this massively destructive behaviour does not stop, no matter what the root cause is.

There has to be a balance between opportunities to rehabilitate/reconnect and getting these kids to take responsibility for their own actions.

They have to be taught, if they do not know already, that the consequences of their anarchic behaviour cause serious hurt and deep stress to victims and their families. Invariably.

In many cases the nameless victims they target suffer far more than the kids who are doing the damage.

Taking personal responsibility and growing up to be good citizens knows no cultural boundaries. All cultures must apply the same standards to be met by their youth.

If these kids can simply be taken back to talk to the victims they have hurt, every time, I believe the light will eventually switch on for all except the smallest minority in every culture who may never wish to change or give a toss.

It would also be comfort for the victims and conducive to better understanding and better relations between the feared and the fearful.


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