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Talk is cheap – if you’re a public servant

By Dave_K - 20 March 2008 20

Anyone else heard about public servants being asked to ‘volunteer’ to work at Kevin Rudd’s 2020 Summit in April. Apparently, some departments are asking for volunteer scribes and PR people to work throughout the weekend. Yes, the government that is cutting your budgets now wants you to offer up a weekend to jot down the words of wisdom from the nation’s best and brightest. For free! I mean, who could turn down that sort of offer. I wonder what happens when insufficient numbers are inspired to volunteer for the great event.

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20 Responses to
Talk is cheap – if you’re a public servant
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realityskin 9:23 am 25 Mar 08

as an EL2 i thought about it, but [d]uck that !

NickD 11:58 am 22 Mar 08

Yeah, it is populist and I doubt that much will come of it. However, there’s no sign of the current government lacking ideas so that’s a silly criticism (given the hours many public servants are currently working, there may be too many ideas at present in fact…). I presume that the idea behind this is that Kevin Rudd wants to be seen to be in-touch and consulting, as John Howard’s increasing remoteness was one of the key factors behind his downfall.

astrojax 9:20 pm 21 Mar 08

yebbut al, i understood that elected representatives of the community should be listening to the views of their constituents anyway – that’s what they’re paid to do – and to take those views to parliament. isn’t this what government is supposed to be?

i didn’t think the system was so flawed we need a new way to do it. why didn’t keven-o-seven spruik this flaw with government then, eh?

it IS just blatant populism. as ant suggests, nothing of great value is likely to be gained in a weekend. and certainly nothing that couldn’t have been gained without the expense of this gabfest that could have – and should have – been gained by better and more active listening of our elected leaders to the ideas already extant in the community.

NickD 5:42 pm 21 Mar 08

It beats having a jumped up suburban lawyer and his wife being the only people who are allowed to come up with policy ideas.

Thumper 2:18 pm 21 Mar 08


I’m not volunteering. Nor would I volunteer if it were a liberal government. I already give away a lot of my time in other volunteering fields.

Also, you didn’t read what I wrote. Rudd was elected on ‘new, fresh ideas’. This appears to show that in fact, he has no new fresh ideas. The whole thing screams of symbolism and tokenism.

I also believe that if you are an elected official in receipt of fairly decent wage from the taxes of the Australian people then you should be open to scrutiny and criticism.

Here;s a thought. Don’t want scrutiny, don’t become a a politician.

I’ll be interested to see what comes from the whole thing. Maybe there will be something of merit. Hopefully this is the case, otherwise it’s just a waste of time and money so a large number of people can pad out their resumes.

Gungahlin Al 11:51 am 21 Mar 08

Chrissakes, if elected reps bust along on their own way without listening to input from others, they get called arrogant and get abused. If they say “we have some good ideas, but running a whole country needs a truckload of good ideas, and we concede that we are not the repository of all the world’s wisdom” and ask for input, they get criticised for talkfest, indecision, populist symbolism, blah friggin blah, sounding like a recording of Andrew Bolt.

And you wonder why you can’t get a better crop of people to put their hands up for election? Because they couldn’t be bothered to put up with this sort of crap.

Here’s a thought – don’t want to volunteer? Don’t.

Thumper, your last 2 lines are telling I think. “Strange thing to do” – maybe because we just aren’t used to an elected rep who is prepared to ask for help and to listen, we can’t help but fall into looking for ulterior motives…?
“Maybe some good will come of it” – indeed – maybe – if people give it a chance.

[rant /off]

ant 11:50 am 21 Mar 08

I can’t see how anything really meaningful can come out of 1000 people coming together for 1 weekend! What I do suspect (and hope) is that they’ll use this to form some groups on specific matters that will continue to formulate ideas.

There also needs to be some wholistic viewings of things, to look at how all the various things and policies are operating on a national level. With people like Hugh MacKay and Tim Flannery and Tim Costello, who can see the whole picture and what affects what.

Thumper 11:20 am 21 Mar 08

AM I the only one to see the irony of Rudd’s new leadership and new ideas, yet hold a talk fest for, well, new ideas?

So is it a good idea to allow people some sort of inclusiveness in policy?

Or is it dangerous because the people who will attend will all be Rudd disciples anyway?

Or maybe Rudd has no idea and this is how he will form policy?

Or is it just another bit of populist symbolism?

No matter what it just seems a strange thing to do.

Oh well, maybe some good will come from it.

ant 10:54 am 21 Mar 08

Yeah, maybe they are looking for more ways to siphon off everyone’s taxes for Working Families.

el 10:04 am 21 Mar 08

Nah, just more working families Thumper.

Thumper 8:40 am 21 Mar 08

Working families, education revolution, and…

what was that again?

New ideas?

Pandy 7:04 pm 20 Mar 08

Some good looking EL2s out there.

AussieGal83 6:29 pm 20 Mar 08

Ah yeah I got an email about this, but its only open to EL1s and EL2s.

Pandy 5:04 pm 20 Mar 08

It will be with all these powerful men, a fucfest, like the Republic convention was. No wonder so many will volunteer.

astrojax 3:28 pm 20 Mar 08

the government has the keys to the safe to pay for its policies and initiatives – if the gov’t wants to have a landmark event that will drive innovative policy (so presumably includig policy that will save $$s down the track) then it should damn well fund the event appropriately, including paying for staff.

here is a gov’t brought in on the promise of genuine benefits for working families being recognised for their input to the economy; and now it wants to play bastard overlord like so many other function (hospitality)-like organsiation managers when it wants to. sheesh!

pubes oughta boycott this as a mark of dignity, if the mandarins and powermonkeys want blood for nothing. ‘being part of something significant’ notwithstanding. what twaddle.

Gungahlin Al 3:14 pm 20 Mar 08

What a happy bunch. I know – take the next few days off. That should help restore your mojo…

James-T-Kirk 2:46 pm 20 Mar 08

Al – “It ain’t all about money”

tis true – but sadly, money pays for the swimming pool, and the mortgage, and the cars, and the kids school fees….. And to know that as a Public servant, having the honour to record the information that could ultimately end in your own, personal, dismissal as the public service is shrunk – is invigorating.

Wo Hoo – I have a revolver, and a single bullet – Wana play another invigorating game?

S4anta 2:22 pm 20 Mar 08

i think we need a deployment of the annoy-a-tron

Crikey 2:02 pm 20 Mar 08

OMG all it is….is a wank-tank!

Gungahlin Al 1:55 pm 20 Mar 08

Well the delegates themselves are putting up gratis, why should staff be any different?
Many people may be more than happy to play a part in what *could* be a pretty important event for the future of policy in this country, and mix with some of the brightest thinkers in the country.

For some of us, this sort of ‘brainfood’ activity is our ‘hobby’.

For example: my wife and I spent two days in 2001 (Centenary of Federation) at the Consitutional Convention in Corowa, and is was very rewarding personally. And the opportunity to hang some crap on Kerry Jones and David Flint in front of 500 republicans was gold…

It ain’t all about money.

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