@ 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

Alice in thrall of week-long sports extravaganza
The Masters Games has been a great initiative over the years. Many good people have been associated with its organisation and all are to be congratulated.
Above all else the games place a positive focus on togetherness and inspiration in the community as we grow older.
For inspiration, it does not come much more magnificent than the wonderful effort by Dicky Kimber in the 100m track event in the 2018 Games on the weekend.
The lad is a living example of loving life and all it has to offer. Every step of that 100m was gold. Wish I could have been there to see it.


Ice Age in Alice
@ Eugene’s Mate: I am surprised that ice as you say does not have a foothold in remote communities out of Alice.
It is so cheap, so readily available and is an epidemic in the lower socio-economic strata of the general urban community, in all ethnic sections, including Aboriginal, in Melbourne.
It is almost off the scale and out of control.


Ice Age in Alice
@ Russell Guy. Sorry mate. While I really do respect your view on this subject – and we have all seen this growing problem first hand for many years everywhere – I think the police request for light beer at the Masters Games was laughable.
It was like removing a very small, well behaved fitness-conscious pimple once every two years on a very large 24/7/36 public pumpkin of out-of-control drug and alcohol addiction in the Alice (as down here in Melbourne Town).
Common sense should have told the cops that this Masters Games judgment call simply got it wrong.


Tony Abbott sent packing on his first Aboriginal envoy trip
It has bothered me for a long time that individuals in remote Aboriginal communities so often claim to speak for the whole community in Australian politics without any questioning of other members of the community for their individual political views.
I began to see the politicisation of remote isolated communities in the NT first hand during my work in the Alice and then in Darwin in the late 60s and 70s.
One major party in particular captured the political mindset of so  many communities with hard sell, patronising welfare policies with a sit-down money focus that I thought it made so many good people in these communities vulnerable and captive to the group think mentality of a particular major party view.
I believe it created a  political herd mentality perception of Aboriginal people that demeaned them in the wider white community. 
It suggested that individual Aboriginal people in remote communities were incapable of forming independent individual views in Australian politics.
This did not promote healthy political debate in those communities and made Aboriginal people with different views fearful of speaking out. 
Only in fairly recent times have Aboriginal individuals started to challenge and break that mindset.
So, when reading media political releases such as this one on Borroloola, my first thought is to ask – who wrote the report? What is his or her political affiliation? And have all residents in that community expressed their individual views in the compiling of the release?
Until the person(s) who write such media reports come clean with honest, transparent and factual answers to those questions, the ugly herd mentality captive image of remote communities will remain entrenched in the Aussie political landscape for the vast majority of white urban dwellers in the Big Smoke.
And the diverse political views of Aboriginal people will continue to be devalued.


Wowser games?
Alcohol consumption is a matter of individual choice and the individual’s compliance with the respected maxims of social responsibility.
If health-conscious sportspeople who are entering middle age and senior citizens are banned by any government from free choice at any time before, during and at the completion of the Masters Games, then what person of any age group can ever be trusted to drink full strength beer at any time on any social occasion?
I agree with Ms Lambley.
This is a bizarre decision, made by a wowser nanny state government.


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