24 January 2009

Rudd Labor to sack 35000 public servants?

| Passy
Join the conversation
85

This article first appeared on my blog En Passant with John Passant (http://enpassant.com.au)

The Rudd Labor Government’s next budget in May will take a meat axe to vital public services and public servants.

As Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner said recently: “We have got further efficiency work (sic) under way – the second phase of the razor gang.” (Danielle Cronin and David McLennan ‘PS pain not over as China hits the wall’ The Canberra Times Friday January 23 2009 page 1.)

He went on to say: “It’s all about squeezing more out of the lemon, cutting out waste, getting greater efficiency, but time will tell how successful we are.”

Ominously, Tanner said that the number of public service positions had grown from 212,000 to 247,000 under John Howard in his final years in office.

Remember 1996 when Howard and Costello sacked 25,000 public servants and axed a large number of programs?

Tanner is softening us up for the HowRudd Government’s version of 1996. Given the benchmark Tanner is using – 212,000 compared to 247,000, could this rotten Labor Government be tempted to go further than Howard and Costello and sack 35,000 public services and axe vital programs across the board?

The CPSU – the public servants’ union – has condemned the comments, saying you can’t get blood out of a stone. The CPSU accepted the 1996 attacks. It should take a stand now. Instead of being an acolyte of Labor, it should defend its members.

If you are a public servant, and not a union member, now would be a good time to join. But don’t imagine that somehow the “union” will save you without you doing anything. The union leadership is essentially a conservatising force, afraid of industrial action and wedded to the ALP and the fear of upsetting it. So if you do join, join prepared to argue and agitate for mass meetings, demonstrations, bans and strikes to defend public services, jobs, wages and conditions. Join and fight!

These meetings, bans and strikes should be on the union agenda now to force the Government to back down before their attacks become a debilitating and confidence destroying fait accompli. The added bonus is that such action would help rebuild the union, tainted from years of collaboration with the employer and class enemy – Hawke, Keating, Howard and Rudd.

This looks unlikely from the CPSU leadership. Instead the Union is affiliating with ALP branches around the country. In Canberra these moves are just beginning. The talk is of influencing the ALP from the inside. The union may as well join the Liberals for all the good it will do.

This entryism is doomed to failure because managing capitalism for the bosses demands attack on workers. That’s the essence of the ALP in times of economic crisis, and no amount of “influence” is going to change that. In fact the end result is more likely to be the host ALP taking over the parasite CPSU.

This affiliation nonsense is the consequence of the CPSU limply rolling over to governments for 25 years. The alternatives are affiliation or action to defend jobs. I’m in favour of action instead of passing do nothing resolutions through the ALP and getting do nothing officials on to the backbenches.

Strike to defend vital public programs, jobs, wages and conditions.

Join the conversation

85
All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments
Latest

Thanks Peter.

I think we may eb talking at cross purposes. the latest ATO news is its plan to move its Operations sub-plan – debt collection, return processing etc – from 1% of contractors to 25%. And to increase permanent part time employment at the expense of full time employment.

So it may be that the IT model in soem form is going to be imposed on other areas of the ATO too.

Passy said :

I see that the Tax Office’s plans to privatise some of its operations and, according to one union, get rid of 3000 staff, have been made public. The ATO talks in terms of efficiency and world’s best practice and natural attrition and cost effectiveness – weasel words – but what it means is less ATO people (in Canberra and across the country) working for us.

Other agencies will no doubt be planning similar attacks on staff.

Presumably the Government knew about the ATO plans. Certainly it does now. The Rudd Government’s approach appears to be to let Departments do the dirty work of getting rid of people rather than them doing it directly (although some of that might happen in the May Budget when the Rudd Government axes some ‘inefficient’ programs).

So this news about the ATO slashing staffing numbers (oh, but only over the long term, and by natural attrition, and outsourcing) presents a political dilemma for Rudd Labor. Presumably they support the ATO becoming more ‘productive’ and ‘efficient’ (that’s the logic of the efficiency dividend). But they don’t want to be seen publicly supporting a key agency which performs one of the key state functions (collecting revenue) when it cuts staff and privatises and outsources its functions.

I look forward to hearing weasel words from Treasurer Wayne Swan or Assistant Treasurer Chris Bowen (Swan needs all the help he can get) on this.

Passy,

you need to take a closer look at the staff levels of the ATO vs EDS, its outsourcer. There have already been cuts by the new owners of EDS, in the realm of 3,000 over the next 3 years. Gershon has recommended the removal of over 35,000 PS positions, but these are all contract positions, not FT or PT permanent positions.

The only reason sir peter gershon came to Australia at all was the he did his very “important” work for gratis. (the rudd government paid for his travel, accomodation and meals only)

he has re-hashed old ideas. The last time labor were in power, they had panel period contracts. Those of us in the ICT industry, and the public servants of the time remember the DAS and DAAS departments. these systems did not work, and were abandoned.

the problem faced by rudd is if he removes vital skilled contractors from the departments, they will cost him far more in the long term when he finds that he needs them later on. But, he will be seen to save cash in the short term….

as for privatising and outsourcing, you may find that it was due to inefficiencies that the ATO went back out to tender for a replacement provider.

I see that the Tax Office’s plans to privatise some of its operations and, according to one union, get rid of 3000 staff, have been made public. The ATO talks in terms of efficiency and world’s best practice and natural attrition and cost effectiveness – weasel words – but what it means is less ATO people (in Canberra and across the country) working for us.

Other agencies will no doubt be planning similar attacks on staff.

Presumably the Government knew about the ATO plans. Certainly it does now. The Rudd Government’s approach appears to be to let Departments do the dirty work of getting rid of people rather than them doing it directly (although some of that might happen in the May Budget when the Rudd Government axes some ‘inefficient’ programs).

So this news about the ATO slashing staffing numbers (oh, but only over the long term, and by natural attrition, and outsourcing) presents a political dilemma for Rudd Labor. Presumably they support the ATO becoming more ‘productive’ and ‘efficient’ (that’s the logic of the efficiency dividend). But they don’t want to be seen publicly supporting a key agency which performs one of the key state functions (collecting revenue) when it cuts staff and privatises and outsources its functions.

I look forward to hearing weasel words from Treasurer Wayne Swan or Assistant Treasurer Chris Bowen (Swan needs all the help he can get) on this.

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

I love Canberra with all my heart however I simply cannot accept that the level of bureaucrats that we currently have in this country is desirable

Based on what? Oh, “my brother in law said so”. How many is desirable? Here – I’ll hold your handbag while you bend over to pull out a number.

Based on my political beliefs and yes anecdotal evidence.

Not being the Minister for Finance I can’t give you a specific number which is were the first part of the above sentence comes in.

You are a very antagonistic person here I’ve noticed. Such venom. I LOVE IT!

neanderthalsis9:26 am 13 Feb 09

rose1 said :

Plenty of jobs in the nursing homes in Canberra and Woolies in Dickson

Be a big shock for some going from PS payrates to minimum wage. Still better than joining the ranks of the unemployed though.

rose1 said :

Plenty of jobs in the nursing homes in Canberra and Woolies in Dickson

For bogans

Plenty of jobs in the nursing homes in Canberra and Woolies in Dickson

Woody Mann-Caruso8:55 am 11 Feb 09

I love Canberra with all my heart however I simply cannot accept that the level of bureaucrats that we currently have in this country is desirable

Based on what? Oh, “my brother in law said so”. How many is desirable? Here – I’ll hold your handbag while you bend over to pull out a number.

Thumper

You are probably right in the sense of no direct attack. However school buildings don’t address low pay for and low numbers of teachers. Or nurses and beds.

I suspect the strategy will not be to directly sack people but to continue with teh stupidity of the efficiency dividend (perhaps at an increased level) and get rid of some ‘inefficient’ programs.

Relocated public servants could ‘manage’ the stimulus package. While the CPSU expects more staff to do this, I think the management will come from existing resources.

$42 billion says that Rudd won’t sack anyone.

$14.7 billion says that everyone in federal education is fine.

Well looks like all sacked public servents will have to join the defence services

Madman said :

Madman said :

F^&%ing great!!! I’m already doing the job of what 4 other staff members plus myself did…

I’m gonna have to start sending post cards to my family and other half – seeya family, seeya life…

Well Canberra was one of Rudd’s biggest supporters…. you get the Government you deserve. Not saying Howard was good – but we did let Rudd in with very little scrutiny nor accountability. Who has paid a price for tapping the brakes on the economy when it clearly should have been kept running – Swan (in my opinion in the group of worse treasurers in the last 35 years), no, Henry , no or Stevens, no, citizens of Australia yes. Who is holding Rudd responsible? no one the arguement is about Howards legacy.

Astrojax, I know for a fact it goes on.

One particular Government department had a team of people that consisted of:

a) A contractor which was the Directors wife.
b) Senior manager who also happened to be a friend of the Directors from previous military service.
c) A full time employee which was the Directors wifes close friend AND also the wife of the senior manager.
d) Two full time employees that were brothers.
e) Another two full time employees that were brothers.
f) Full time employee who happened to be a good friend of the Senior manager PRIOR to employment.
g) Full time employee who happened to be a good friend of the Director PRIOR to employment.

All of this in a team of less than 30 people….very suss.

Of course, if a department was to be told to cut X number of jobs, nepotism guarantees that plenty of the dead wood will avoid the chop.

Oh, nepotism exists, don’t worry about that. However, it’s not hard to justify a promotion on paper.

nepotism is a serious allegation, zig. care to back it up with more than just ‘a vibe’?

It will be great for the PS if they clean out the useless dead wood.

I bet there are a ton of middle management EL-1 and EL-2 positions that aren’t needed and it’s been a case of mates looking after mates.

Yes, get rid of the PS altogether and employ more consultants. Then give all the money ‘saved’ to pensioners so they can prop up the gaming industry/bankcrupt states, like NSW!

Rudd = dickhud!

i always find it hard to believe that we couldn’t do a genuine (independent) assessment of defence budgets and find a few lazy billion to put back into the public coffers, without detriment to our supposed ‘security’.

and rudd won’t just out and sack thousands of public servants – attrition and cutting a few excess programs will see a big chunk of this figure acheived without much fuss; certainly not from the inept lumpen proletariat that is the cpsu…

I think the the headlines “Public Service Fatcats Sacked” on the front page of the local rag would be welcomed in the Labor Heartlands of the working class suburbs across the nation.

Yet, lazy overpaid [insert trade union name here] workers lost jobs due to economic downturn, wouldn’t look nearly so good….

neanderthalsis9:15 am 27 Jan 09

Whilst sacking 35 000 public servants will cause an outrage in Canberra, I think it would boost little Kevs popularity across the rest of the country.

There is a perception amongst many of the population that the APS are all earning huge salaries while doing absolutely no work. I think the the headlines “Public Service Fatcats Sacked” on the front page of the local rag would be welcomed in the Labor Heartlands of the working class suburbs across the nation.

I think that we need to eb careful in stereotyping public servants as lazy and the private sector as hardworking. Workers in both sectors are hardworking. The pressure these days on eh workforce – both public and private – is enormous. Australia as the longest working hours of any OECD country according to an Australian tourism body, and this is true across both the private and public sectors.

As to vital services – well maybe defence, tax, police, mail, water, electricity (to some extent, hospitals, schools, roads, public transport, welfare, pensions, etc are pretty vital services.

Ah, but some of you will say the private sector could run these more efficiently? I have two words in response. Wall Street.

Things have changed since the fifties? Oh yeah, we have built *more* coal fired power stations….

It is easy to think about axing faceless bureaucrats.

And everyone has heard of some lazy public servants – but since the mega cuts 10 years ago, things are a lot leaner than they used to be.

And the bureaucrats you want to get rid of do actually do real work. Someone has to process your tax return, take in your dole form, send money to schools, process your medicare claim, frame the pictures at the national gallery, run the nuclear power plant, publicise the symptoms of prostate cancer, etc etc etc

Not everyone sits around making policy. And in reality, someone has to do that, or nothing would have changed since the 50s.

I love Canberra with all my heart however I simply cannot accept that the level of bureaucrats that we currently have in this country is desirable. I absolutely understand that the APS represents a significant aspect of the economy of the ACT and I understand the ramifications of a downsize in population in Canberra. Personally, this will also have negative consequences for myself as these cuts have been happening and will happen right as I am myself looking for a job.

I do not believe that all bureacrats are lazy and do nothing, I also know that the stereotype has many aspects of truth. I have my future brother in law and many friends inform me that this is the case.

I also recognise the problems with sacking bureacrats that people have outlined above. They are textbook examples of what a bureacracy is, particularly when it grows to such an extent.

I sympathise with the people who will be retrenched, however the Federal Government has to make decisions that are for the benefit of the country, not the ACT. At least I would cut Government programs at the same time so at least the hardworking bureacrats and slogged. I doubt Rudd will do the same.

I will say one thing, axeing bureacrats is one thing however most of the really expensive nightmare stories have had more to do with the continual funding of failing systems, processes, and programs, whose budgets have blown out to truly criminal levels, and not so much the people that work on them.

I meant 3.6% job cuts applied to the almost 250,000 public servants. (That’s about the rating too for my editing skills.)

And as one poster noted, where did this increase in public servants come from under Howard? Part of it is due I suspect to the “war on terror”. I’d suggest massively cutting funding on the AFP, ASIS, ASIO and Defence (or abolishing it altogether and saving $30 bn a year) and instead spending the money on things that are socially useful like schools, hospitals, decent public transport and alternative energy. And giving pensioners an extra hundred bucks a week. Tax the rich to make up any shortfall.

Yup. If my wife looses her PS job, then the odds of us contributing to the construction industry by buying a house is next to zero. That or we will be saving every other cent we have, so you damn sure better not be trying to sell anything but staple foods. While there are undoubtedly places where the PS could be being more efficient, it seems a little unjustified that the Federal Government would spend money in ways that props up businesses which make individuals wealthy, whilst sacking their own employees. Shouldn’t they be dropping those billions of dollars onto some Snowy-Hydro-ish nation building scheme, which could prop up the nations economy, whilst ending up with an asset at the end?

Bridge across Bass Straight?
Solar Powered Maglev high speed train?
Functioning Public Health System?

I don’t think Rudd will come out and sack 35,000 PS workers directly. I doubt frankly that will be his overall goal. He’ll get his agencies to do it (at least in part) through further efficiency dividends. For example the ATO calculated (before teh global financial crisis) that the 3.25% efficiency dividend would mean losing 1137 staff through attrition. Taking into account they recruit a few hundred graduates, the net figure of losses (now including sackings since less people are leaving voluntarily becuase of the economci crisis) is around 900. 900 out of 23,000 ATO staff is about.6% of staff. Applying that figure across the PS (of almost 250,000) yields a loss of about 9,000 a year. Of course the ATO figure might be high because they have technology priorities and sow won’t cut their capital program.

The thing about efficiency dividends is they move the focus of sackings from Government to agencies, and they occur slowly over time. 9,000 a year is a lot better politically than 35,000 in one go.

But that’s before they axe “inefficient”programs.

The jobs with them are likely to go too. Any suggestions for what these “inefficient” programs might be? (As an aside we give disguised grants through teh tax system worth $60bn a year, much of it to business, including super funds. Maybe there could be some real savings made there?)

I don’t draw a distinction between public service workers and workers in private industry. I think the same response applies – strike to defend jobs and wages and conditions. Occupy the factories and mines and run them ourselves. The response of the ACTU (and CFMEU too) to possible job losses – no wage increases and cutting hours – is a sell out and won’t save jobs.

it will reduce overall aggregate demand, and certainly won’t boost Chinese demand for our resources; it will worsen the situation.

Someone raised the point about my blog not getting any readers. I have moved from 20 millionth most read blog to the 5 millionth most read blog in the space of a few weeks. 5 million with a bullet? Riot Act (which has been going much longer than me) has a 3 month average ranking (according to Alexa.com) in the 4 millions while mine is, after a month of consistent posting, under 400,000 behind.

I posted the article because Canberra is a PS town and I thought my arguments might be of interest to some people. It seems I have generated some thinking about the issue. And to those who mouth the usual platitudes about lazy public servants, which ones? Do you also suggest cutting nurses and teachers, who are after all also public servants?

Ralph said :

Each job that gets cut, up to a point, makes the economy better off.

Bring on the 35,000!

35,000 less jobs means 35,000 people who won’t be buying as much goods and services or whatever it is you provide.

Love the arguments here that public service jobs are just as worthy as those the government is trying to protect in the commercial property sector. Utter tosh!

These industries make money, pay tax and create jobs. Public service is just an inefficiency paid for with other peoples’ taxes. Each job that gets cut, up to a point, makes the economy better off.

Bring on the 35,000!

Pissant, your CPSU is the most ineffectual union in the country. Rolled over and took it in the arse for Howard’s job cuts. Will take it twice from Kevin.

here’s an idea for PS savings:

tell depts in march that any money they can give back on 30 June will be increased by 5% in their 2010 budget.

this will stop the insane spendathons in June, when depts try to use up every cent quickly, so as to get the same allocation next year.

Couldn’t agree more Thumper same goes for the baby bonus if you cant afford to have a baby without the bonus then don’t have one.

There is something terribly wrong with a system when you have middle class welfare of any kind.

I was always of the opinion that welfare was for those less fortunate people who need it to simply survive.

Well, I guess he has to find the money for all that middle class welfare from somewhere. That includes propping up a childcare centre company.

Thumper said :

So, Rudd is happy to pay billions to failed big business so they can continue to employ people, or in the case of ABC, so people can dump their kids and go to work, yet is willing to retrench 35K public servants?

Does anyone else see something wrong with this picture?

thumper, rudd is probably sacking many families in the retrenchment rounds, so who will go to the abc centres when the local feeder is gone?

propping up industry hasn’t been successful. when does the ansett tax end? anyone?

So, Rudd is happy to pay billions to failed big business so they can continue to employ people, or in the case of ABC, so people can dump their kids and go to work, yet is willing to retrench 35K public servants?

Does anyone else see something wrong with this picture?

hax said :

JC said :

Except of course that these are the people who are spending the money to keep the manufacturing, construction and retail industry allive.

And where does all that money come from in the first place? (besides the fact people earning money in the private sector are perfectly capable of spending money too)

The private sector also produces ‘stuff’ we can export, which helps grow our economy.

Bottom line is there needs to be a balance.

Exactly there needs to be a balance and wholesale cuts do not create a balance.

JC said :

Except of course that these are the people who are spending the money to keep the manufacturing, construction and retail industry allive.

And where does all that money come from in the first place? (besides the fact people earning money in the private sector are perfectly capable of spending money too)

The private sector also produces ‘stuff’ we can export, which helps grow our economy.

Bottom line is there needs to be a balance.

they have already cut spending for major projects, amalgamated several departments, stalled a few contracts. now they will go after the public servants that they feel aren’t pulling their weight, or earn too much, or just don’t fit the “profile” of rudds govt. if they want to save money, stop looking at the staff and start looking at the wastage in the departments. there are many departments who don’t effectively utilise the resources that they have. stop frivolous spending and departmental credit cards. then concentrate on the recovery of the economy, instead of adding to its woes.

hax said :

JC said :

As for this whole plan what a load of bullshit. It is ironic that the government is trying to save jobs elsewhere and discourage private companies downsizing, yet the one thing he has DIRECT control over he is planning to cut.

Yeah let’s allow manufacturing jobs go, while propping up paper-pushers.

The private sector actually does something for the economy and society, whereas (half) the PS is a complete waste of tax-payers money (other than for the sake of more people having “jobs”).

Except of course that these are the people who are spending the money to keep the manufacturing, construction and retail industry allive. That is the big problem, cut white colar jobs anywhere and you see a decline in blue colar jobs, which means less spending which means a futher decline in both blue and white colar jobs. With the PS they can control numbers and hence influcence the private sector, where as they have no direct control over the private sector.

New Socialist Regime, and the ranks get purged. Nothing new, now off to Siberia with the lot of you.

Rudd should be careful. Cuts don’t just affect the sacked public servants – the 1996 cuts led to a real downsurge in energy and enthusiasm across the service, which must have affected productivity. It was almost like a collective mental, rather than fiscal, depression.

It’s a bit deja vu. Changing of government, financial excuse, mass PS sackings …
I can see where the ‘HowRudd’ government tag comes from.

Is there anyone out there with a long enough memory to enlighten us re previous changes of government? I vaguely remember Hawke/Keating’s multi-million dollar deficit left to them by Fraser/Howard, but did anything come of that for the PS, or was it just an excuse to not meet non-core election promises?

Labor is supposed to like a big PS, and I am shocked to see Canberra’s prospects diminishing with every downward red arrow on the ASX (not to mention GDP, job ads, lending rates).

I wonder how many of those proposed job cuts would be from Canberra? If a sizeable proportion of them are, then that’s going to put a pretty significant dent in the ACT economy…

I think it unlikely that Rudd is going to go for mass public redundancies at the same time as he is calling for private sector employers to hold back from sacking their staff. Not the best look, and would mess up his message (not something Rudd is big on).

Granny said :

The trouble is they always get it wrong. The fat stays and the muscle goes. Then they have to recruit it all back again.

Spot on, Granny. The cuts are never forensic, never strategic. they use blunt instruments, that result in cuts and savings on paper but in fact miss the mark badly. There’s no hard analysis, just vague sweeping actions based on paper numbers.

JC said :

As for this whole plan what a load of bullshit. It is ironic that the government is trying to save jobs elsewhere and discourage private companies downsizing, yet the one thing he has DIRECT control over he is planning to cut.

Yeah let’s allow manufacturing jobs go, while propping up paper-pushers.

The private sector actually does something for the economy and society, whereas (half) the PS is a complete waste of tax-payers money (other than for the sake of more people having “jobs”).

Mervyn Keane10:51 pm 24 Jan 09

BTW – love that this is a post from an unreconstructed Comm.

We won the Cold War 20 years ago Passy. I guess this is all you have left – other than backing governments like that Iran.

Whilst I understand the point that you’re making, I do think Passy has just as much right to post his opinions here as anyone else, and people do seem to have been enjoying the discussion.

and… +1 to Primal (Comment #2)

If I wanted to read your blog Passy, I would. I take it you’re not getting enough traffic there, hence the need to cross post?

JC said :

About 10 years ago it all changed. Many departments still have annual pay incements but most have bonus systems which is based on how much you suck up or get on with your masters rather than the quality of the work you do.

In DEEWR you only get the bonus if you’re on the individual agreement, if you’re not, you just get the increment and occasional base salary increases. If you’ve been there long enough to have hit the top increment years ago you’re left with just the base salary increases.

They could save so much more money if they just stopped agreeing to stupid contracts – like we’ll just keep paying you to work on this software. If you stuff it up, we’ll still pay you. If you need to keep working to fix the stuff-ups forever we’ll still pay you.

No wonder jobs blow out and quality sucks. There’s no contractual incentive to finish the work, and every reason to drag it out. There’s no accountability for incompetence.

How many millions of dollars get wasted just because administrators can’t negotiate a sensible contract that actually benefits the Commonwealth?

Ruby Wednesday8:40 pm 24 Jan 09

The funny thing is that I bet all those jobs have been created in the untouchable departments–Defence, DMO, AFP, ASIO, ASIS and whatnot–to save us from the terrorists. It’s not politically popular to be seen to be taking money from anything associated with Defence or ‘keeping us safe’. Yet the stuff-ups in procurement at DMO alone are probably more than my department’s entire budget, if not several times more.

New Yeah said :

R. Slicker said :

The problems all began when Howard brought in “performance bonuses” for bureaucrats who performed – ie: sucked up to Howard and his ministers.

For real?

As far as I’m aware, these sort of benefits only apply to the upper echelons of the SES. Everyone else has to settle for his/her annual pay increase and, if not a complete muppet, his/her annual incremental increase.

About 10 years ago it all changed. Many departments still have annual pay incements but most have bonus systems which is based on how much you suck up or get on with your masters rather than the quality of the work you do.

As for this whole plan what a load of bullshit. It is ironic that the government is trying to save jobs elsewhere and discourage private companies downsizing, yet the one thing he has DIRECT control over he is planning to cut.

It reminds me of Howards uproar over the closure or BHP in Newcastle all those years back. The ironic thing was the number of jobs lost were about the same as he cut from Canberra, but on a per capita basis it was far greater in Canberra. (Assuming greater Newcastle has a population of about 500,000 and CBR about 350,000)

Our department is going to get more ‘Taskforces’ – whatever THAT means. (I suspect it just means they can rename the usual work so it sounds more ‘exciting’ . . . )

el said :

Heard a brief snippet of news headline indicating KRudd is planning on spending $4BILLION to ‘save’ 50 000 construction jobs.

Guess he never considered that sometimes public servants are part of ‘working familes’ too. Ar$e-clown.

The most awesome thing is that some of the people who voted him in will lose their jobs.

Big Kev could probably make a lot of money in marketing. Economy Dividend sounds much better then economic rationalism.

Mervyn Keane7:57 pm 24 Jan 09

Sacking 3500 public servants sounds like a great idea. Double that number should go.

One of the most contempible things about the Howard Government was its utter lack of commitment to small government and giving taxpayers value for money. There was shameful bureacratic capture of ministers.

kean van choc7:49 pm 24 Jan 09

Whooaa – I’m a hooligan now! Might have to scrap the planned quiet night at home and go out and create some craziness!!

Heard a brief snippet of news headline indicating KRudd is planning on spending $4BILLION to ‘save’ 50 000 construction jobs.

Guess he never considered that sometimes public servants are part of ‘working familes’ too. Ar$e-clown.

kean van choc7:28 pm 24 Jan 09

@deckard – no. There are other legal instruments which can be used to remunerate a collective group in the public (and private sector); this includes the setting of employment conditions and bonuses.

kean van choc said :

@new year – performance bonuses can, and regularly do, go down to the EL1 level.

I think that would only be for staff who took up an AWA.

just get rudd to fly economy

New Yeah said :

R. Slicker said :

The problems all began when Howard brought in “performance bonuses” for bureaucrats who performed – ie: sucked up to Howard and his ministers.

For real?

As far as I’m aware, these sort of benefits only apply to the upper echelons of the SES. Everyone else has to settle for his/her annual pay increase and, if not a complete muppet, his/her annual incremental increase.

Nah, ‘normal’ staff used to get them at DEWR (probably not anymore) – up to 20% IIRC?

kean van choc5:53 pm 24 Jan 09

@new year – performance bonuses can, and regularly do, go down to the EL1 level.

Madman said :

F^&%ing great!!! I’m already doing the job of what 4 other staff members plus myself did…

I’m gonna have to start sending post cards to my family and other half – seeya family, seeya life…

F^&%ing great!!! I’m already doing the job of what 4 other staff members plus myself did…

R. Slicker said :

The problems all began when Howard brought in “performance bonuses” for bureaucrats who performed – ie: sucked up to Howard and his ministers.

For real?

As far as I’m aware, these sort of benefits only apply to the upper echelons of the SES. Everyone else has to settle for his/her annual pay increase and, if not a complete muppet, his/her annual incremental increase.

It should be a combination of rewards and penalties. Otherwise the best people will be lured away to the private sector. But I do agree that it’s ridiculous not to be able to sack people who are not fulfilling the requirements of the job.

As with most things, there is a fine balance needed between protections for the employee and the ability to trim the dead wood when that is manifestly the case.

to deadmandrinking…I don’t believe that just because I worked in the public sector that I was owed a living for life…if the government thought my job wasn’t needed then so be it, I’d have to get off my shiny arse and try go get another one, just like what happens in the private sector..

The problems all began when Howard brought in “performance bonuses” for bureaucrats who performed – ie: sucked up to Howard and his ministers. As someone said at the time: “they should stop talking about performance bonuses for bureaucrats who perform and start taking about THE SACK for those who don’t”.

Sack 35K PS and then have to pay them redundancies plus benefits and maybe even retraining?

Now that will kick start the economy…

Deadmandrinking3:57 pm 24 Jan 09

Yes, because Climate Change isn’t happening. It’s all a conspiracy by green aliens.

barking toad3:43 pm 24 Jan 09

Here’s an instant saving – scap the department of Climate Change (or whatever trendy name it has). It’s function is redundant.

And ‘recruit is all back’ at more cost! ie, losing massive corporate knowledge, so things become even less efficient while people try and work out how things have to be done, and then re-hiring through consultancies (often the retrenched, whose priorities are no longer getting the job done, but covering their own bums so they get more contracts) at twice the price. Daft.

The trouble is they always get it wrong. The fat stays and the muscle goes. Then they have to recruit it all back again.

It’s about time someone took an axe to the public service and cleared out the fat.

Some public servants are way overworked yet there are plenty of public servants who sit and play solitaire all day. About time they put some fairness and balance back.

On my blog (http://enpassant.com.au) I muse about soem alternatives to directly sacking 35,000.

I say:

Given the benchmark Tanner is using – 212,000 compared to 247,000, could this rotten Labor Government be tempted to go further than Howard and Costello and sack 35,000 public services and axe vital programs across the board?

Maybe not directly, but I am sure this Labor Government will attack its own employees, and in doing so pander to popularism. Rudd could increase the efficiency dividend, or keep the present elevated 3.25%. (That 3.25% for example saw the ATO look to offload 1137 staff through natural attrition.)

It could freeze public servants’ pay (in line with what it did last year to politicians and proposes again for them this year.) It could decide not to increase funding to public service agencies. So rather than a complete decapitation, Rudd Labor will in all likelihood adopt a strategy of death by a thousand cuts. Same outcome, just a bit longer to do. A longer, slower, crueler death might appeal to the sadists in the HowRuddista government but either option if adopted still means the public service is dead. Unless there is a fightback.

Pandy said :

Ha! Ha! Suck poo CPSU!!

PML couldn’t be truer

What ever happened to the Howard Governments stratergy of balancing work and life?

Oh that’s right: Rudd took over.

Ha! Ha! Suck poo CPSU!!

Primal said :

Strike to defend vital public programs, jobs, wages and conditions.

WHAT!!! There are vital public programs now? Oh, right: Passy is talking about the Public Holiday Commission…

Deadmandrinking12:27 pm 24 Jan 09

ramblingted said :

Ah, the employer as class enemy…that takes me back…Bruce Kent, Daphne Gollan and Modern Revs courses at ANU….good on you JP, you are the only Marxist (left) in the village!!

So…hypothetically, if you were going to lose your job, you’d just sit there and do nothing about it?

So in summary: one vague comment = OMG We’re All Going To Die!!!!111!!1!!!1

Ah, the employer as class enemy…that takes me back…Bruce Kent, Daphne Gollan and Modern Revs courses at ANU….good on you JP, you are the only Marxist (left) in the village!!

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.