Tag Archives: Politics

What is so damn difficult??


“Pain specialist Dr Marc Russo said his clinic in Newcastle treats about 2,000 new patients with chronic pain every year.

“And I’m very worried, and as many of us in the faculty of pain medicine are very worried, that ultimately it will lead to the prescription of more opioids as a sort of back-stop measure and we know that this carries significant risk and often very little benefit,” he said.”

So opioids continue to get a bad name, and cause more deaths by overdose than car accidents per year in the US because people take so many to try to stop their pain.

And yet CBD oil, which would earn the Government tax dollars instead of costing them by subsidising prescriptions and paying for opioid patients using hospital beds.

It is such a simple, straight forward decision with SO many benefits, why are we not following 40 other countries and giving chronically ill people the ability to buy it??

As usual in our society in the last ten years, in many areas, it makes no damn sense.

Reference here.

It’s all going to hell in a handcart


Politicians found guilty of lying to Parliament by a Senate Committee but keep their jobs, rich Catholic schools receiving billions of dollars, family child carers and carers for ill family members paid below the poverty line, pensions not increased for over 35 years but top tax rates raised allowing the highest earnings with the lowest tax rates ever.

This is the new Australia, and I for one am devastated that in ‘growing up’ we have become, at the top and fast filtering down, just a bunch of selfish hyperactive kids out for what we can get for ourselves. Five Prime Ministers in five years is testament to this.

Local Councils charging exorbitant rates that grow above inflation every year, some of the highest electricity prices in the world, car registration costs tripling (or more) within the last five years so now old and worthless vehicles cost more to register than they are worth.

People in institutions like unions, Councils, government found to be spending as much as possible as if it is their right to do so, not caring the money was paid by us, the electorate.

Fines increased by multiples, not even a backwards glance at the CPI.

Banks and Insurance companies charging us for services we do not receive, for products we do not need, even if we are dead.

We complain about a seemingly corrupt-ridden USA, yet in our own society we trample on the rights of individuals, charge way more than necessary for vital services (unless keeping a growing beurocrocay well fed is some sort of benefit to us all) and keep a vast number of our fellow citizens below poverty, with pathetic allowances that are meant to help those who fall between the cracks, not actively widen those cracks.

And we wonder why many of our best and brightest move overseas? If I had the option I would seriously consider it myself.

We have far too many rules and regulations, our nanny state is now a baby state. The fines for minor transgressions are so high that those just surviving are pushed one step closer to poverty, even with both couples working.

The reaction to all this from the majority of our ‘leaders’ and politicians? They ignore their duties and have no KPIs or accountability to those who voted for them and pay their wages and perks. Instead of working for us, as they all promise to do prior to each election, they spend their time fighting for pre-selections, factional votes, ministerial positions that cover areas they have no experience in, and ultimately chase how many ‘numbers’ they can control which somehow defines their own importance, and therefore how much power they can wield.

Already the sixth Prime Minister in five years is jockeying for position, even before next year’s election.

Carers and volunteers contribute far more to this nation than our politicians yet live in poverty.

Either a massive shift is coming from someone with the guts to make serious changes, or a quiet revolution of a significant number of independents being elected, or worse, will cause our country to have the massive look in the mirror it desperately needs before it implodes.

Have we, as Australians, lost our unique identity?


Back when we were throwing ourselves onto an outdoor cooking appliance to try to be noticed, we knew (or at least knew we thought we knew) who we were.

We were fun beachgoers who didn’t take ourselves too seriously, had a permanent cheeky grin, didn’t care if the world liked us as we we were or not, and loved a bit of mischief with tongues firmly planted in cheeks.

Then we completely forgot where we were and became rather demanding (“Where the bloody hell are you?”), refused to call prawns shrimps anymore, used outside for lonesome walks instead of social gatherings, knew we had your attention and thought we deserved more, and smugly believed we were better than most (mainly because we were).

Now we are overconfident, look down our noses at others (“No more boats!”), know we are the best at everything except for keeping our talent from leaving Australia, haven’t got time to go to the beach anymore because we constantly worry about working harder for less money, suffering hidden inflation (eventually we will be buying chip bags with only one chip in them and drinks with only a few drops to quench our once mighty thirst), hidden unemployment, an average income apparently of around $72,000 when HECS debts start being repaid at the ‘average income’ of $54,000, can’t buy a home and don’t know who our Prime Minister is (mainly because half the time we don’t have one).

The concept of a ‘fair go’, once the core of our essence, has been redefined and mostly abandoned (just ask a pensioner). We pay relatives $250 a fortnight to be full time carers when the market rate is $2,000, have not increased social security payments in over thirty years yet the cost of living (CPI) has increased light years beyond official figures (which the Australian Bureau of Statistics agrees, and now calls ‘Cannot Prove Inflation’), have the highest electricity prices in the world, an absurd ‘Australia Tax’ made worse by adding GST, and currently have as our nation’s leader a guy who we don’t know, don’t really care about, or for.

I think I prefer the old Australia, even if I have to call a prawn a shrimp.

At least back then I wouldn’t have to call our Prime Minister “temporary”, or pretend that everything was under control. In particular I wouldn’t have to listen to the words “humble, grass roots, servants of the people, we really care” every year when the next PM is sworn in.

I’ll take some unknown food cooked over a melted female doll anyday.

It’s enough to make you choke on your shrimp.

Another new PM


So Australia has yet another Prime Minister, and just yesterday the same man pledged his full support for the guy he defeated today.

Unfortunately from the outside it looks like Malcolm Turnbull was never given a chance to be the Prime Minister he wanted to be. In fact in his own words he said keeping the party unified took a significant amount of his time.

That’s what we like to hear, that those working for us, the long forgotten electors who are paying their exhorbitant salary and benefits, are only getting around seventy percent of their attention. The rest is on keeping their jobs and undermining those above them so they can have their job.

If they were my employees they would be given an ultimatum. Either take a thirty percent reduction in salary or resign.

They say they are concerned about our significant cost of living increase over the last ten years, our wages not keeping up with real inflation, our ludicrously expensive electricity prices, our sick waiting months and sometimes years to be seen and our elderly and unemployed who have not had an increase in their social payments for thirty-five years.

Does anyone, anywhere, believe them anymore? No matter what side you voted for in the past ten years, they have changed leaders (and therefore PM’s) more than ever before and made us an international laughing stock.

Time and again we see their naked ambition, their ‘do anything’ attitude towards their own careers and their unbridled megalomania.

So why should we expect it to change?

I predict a non verdict in the next Federal election, whenever that may be. Parliament will be full of independents and small parties as we collectively give up on the self aggrandisement of the two major parties.

But then minorities have held governments to account before, one of whom was described by all who spoke to him as the most stupid person they had ever met.

Well I say their stupidity would probably be an improvement over what we have now.

For heaven’s sake, it could not be worse.

The Business of Governing


The common statement “the business of governing” is detrimental, as the focus should be upon providing government with the best efficiencies private business experience, and expertise, has to offer.

The statement should read “business within government”, providing a completely different mindset.

This involves implementing within government the best efficiencies of business by identifying process improvements, removing duplication of effort, improving inter-departmental coordination, reviewing and assessing key personnel (always with the goal of ‘best fit’) with positions allocated by merit, and producing budget savings through operational efficiencies, all with a focus on customer (public) outcomes and improved service.

Quantifiable achievements would include;

  1. Designate and decide on all areas of Departmental and Ministerial responsibility so no-one can “pass the buck”.
  2. Allocate responsibilities and targets to ensure the desired and clearly stated outcomes are achieved within set time-frames.
  3. Ensure all cost savings achieved are ongoing, no one-off savings included in targets, by implementing guidelines, overseeing their implementation and educating management.
  4. Allocation of necessary resources (from those existing within government), setting applicable Key Performance Levels (KPL) and managing staff to complete set objectives and achieve all desired outcomes.
  5. All reports produced to be concise and written in plain English, with detailed analysis provided only when requested.
  6. The emphasis will be on outcomes, results, savings, improved service and efficiency not on unnecessary documentation, sub-committees or meetings.

This proposal would require minimal personnel for it would allocate additional resources from other Departments (not exceeding an agreed limit), and investigate and set goals, priorities and outcomes in simple terms.

Initial targets would be;

  1. Documented ongoing budgetary savings through reduced red tape via improved coordination, demarcation and processes.
  2. Improved accountability within government departments creating efficiencies and gains in timelines and processes.
  3. Improved ‘connection’ between wants and needs of the public and what government provides.
  4. Improved public service in all areas, with all agreed objectives (including time-frames) being met.
  5. Overall improved perception of government efficiency, thereby attracting a higher class of personnel and additional budget savings through their specialist knowledge and experience.
  6. Improved performance measurement and ongoing guidance to ensure operational efficiencies are maintained.

Is the above business-like approach really outside the capabilities of our elected officials? When every vote counts, decisions can be compromised.

This is an unfortunate fact since Democracy (or what we now know as Democracy) began.

It would therefore be prudent to appoint a successful business person to head such a Department with powers level with that of a Minister, to ensure success.

The saving of hundreds of thousands of dollars would result, if expedited correctly, an amount equal to hundreds of people not having to pay tax for a year. As the appointee would be on a contract they would have no fear of losing votes, leading to decisive and correct decisions being made.

Surely a winner for everyone, especially as the above savings figure is extremely conservative. In fact, savings of millions of dollars would be the set target, anything less being regarded as a failure, over the term of implementation (years).

But would politicians have the courage to give someone the power and authority to achieve this? Unfortunately I fear not, for once again they would wonder if introducing such a system might anger some minority groups and lose them votes. Or potentially cause disgruntled public servants to voice discontent. The right person for this role would take note of any such discontent and target them for removal.

Change is far easier to implement when you have new employees, who are unaware of ‘old’ procedures and are more willing to accept new ways of thinking.

A certain percentage of young people will always leave South Australia


It stinks, but it’s true.

Steven Marshall campaigned hard on this issue in the recent SA State election (which he won) and I for one am glad that fresh eyes are looking at this problem. However he will never be completely successful.

It remains a fact that 90+ percent of head offices are in either Sydney or Melbourne, and unless we want to double our size (in people, infrastructure etc) we will never attract more than one or two big businesses here, compared to the dozens interstate.

Of course it is worth trying but ANZ, Telstra, Panasonic and the very large organisations will never move here.

I myself spent four years in Sydney because I wanted to see how high I could go, and to enjoy the variety and challenge of working for a major corporation. I ended up as National Product Manager for IT Products for Panasonic Australia, a position I loved and never would have achieved had I remained in SA.

Mind you four years was enough (I spent over three hours a day commuting, thankfully in a company car), and family circumstances necessitated that I return to SA.

I came back to a position as a Corporate Salesperson for Ericsson. This was a big step down from travelling around Australia every few months, demonstrating the latest IT products and teaching distributors and major retail outlets how to sell them. I also gained valuable experience in presenting to the top buyers in Harvey Norman, Myers and so on, negotiating floor space and pricing.

I never would have had that experience here in Adelaide, where the biggest employer is the State Government.

I much prefer working in Adelaide to the traffic, congestion, polluted air and high cost of living in Sydney. However the upsides of working interstate, if you have ambition, far outweigh the negatives.

The attitude interstate is also much closer to the US and Silicon Valley. There, if you have started a business and failed they are actually impressed by your initiative and know that you learned some hard lessons. In Adelaide you are more likely to be shunned.

This attitude within our beautiful State will not change until the current ‘startup generation’ are well into their forties. Unfortunately this is a hard fact that we must face head-on.

So how do we keep young people from leaving SA? By being more forgiving of their mistakes and encouraging them to try again. By recognising that a certain percentage will move interstate no matter what you do, and helping the rest to make the move back ‘home’ an easy one.

You can accomplish this by having a small department that keeps in contact with these talented and adventurous young people, encouraging them to explore outside SA (they will anyway) and yet also ehticing them to return by offering a more welcoming attitude. This same small department could assist them in their transition back to SA, without them having to go backwards in their careers, by facilitating them to find a relevant position here that is of sufficient interest to them.

This small (keep it simple and focused!) government department could help them find interesting roles by assisting local businesses here to create them. This can be achieved by finding the already successful small businesses in SA (of which there are many) and assisting them, without mountains of red tape, to grow.

Up until now most of the emphasis has been on opening startup hubs and announcing unrealistic figures on how many jobs they will create. Yes we need to foster our local startup community but it needs to be coordinated and supported properly. This would involve assisting them by providing long term mentoring, cheap access to accountants, lawyers and investors to steer them in the right direction. Also vital is utilising the founders of already successful startups in SA, by encouraging them to introduce local business people to respected contacts they never would have met otherwise.

All this needs to be done in conjunction with identifying small businesses that could easily become large businesses with the right backing and support.

Such a coordinated effort would make it more attractive for our young people to stay here, and for those that leave it would encourage the talented ones to return. That involves keeping track of them and using a CRM (customer relationship management) system within government, to keep in touch and to entice them back.

This means it would be essential for this arm of government to be run like a business.

I, for one, have hope.

SA Election, March 2018


SA Best pledges $7.5M for something so Labor promise $8M, then the Libs promise $10M for something else and SA Best promise $11M… it’s basically a bidding war to see who can buy your vote, especially as these promises are not legally binding and therefore meaningless.

Please, use your own judgement and vote for who you think deserves it, not just because of some promise that will most likely never be honoured.

It is monumentally stupid that political promises are not legally binding, and until they are I’ll call it for what it is – a laughable vote auction being presided over by a clown (yes, red nose and all).

So many times in the past, at both State and Federal levels, politicians have ignored their pre-election promises. My first experience of this was when Paul Keating got elected on his tax cuts which he said during his campaign were already in “L-A-W law!” and yet never happened.

Laws can be changed, and his was.

If they want our respect (and the party that earns it will also win our vote) then they have to stop making promises they have no intention on keeping (“We didn’t realise how tight the budget was so can’t deliver on everything” – heard this before?).

The only way they will earn our respect is by making their promises legally binding, with penalties if they do not deliver.

They also need to pass laws that stipulate that all political advertising has to be subject to the same rules as all advertising – that is they must be true, and penalties of $100,000+ should apply.

If I went on TV and said lies and made false promises I would end up in jail. The same fate should apply to all politicians and their parties.