31 October 2023

PODCAST: The Hoot on Mr Fluffy, APS bosses flying high in the chairman's lounge and Halloween

| Genevieve Jacobs
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Will our senior departmental secretaries still go up and away via the chairman’s lounge? Photo: Airbus.

The Hoot is here and on this week’s podcast, David and Genevieve cover things you’ll never see, things you wish you’d never seen and things you would rather never see again.

We start with the Mr Fluffy saga, which convulsed Canberra for years as the ACT Government figured out how to manage the remediation of more than 1000 asbestos-contaminated houses.

READ ALSO Push for board of inquiry into Mr Fluffy buyback scheme among accusations of ‘intimidation’ and ‘harassment’

Although all the asbestos was installed before self-government (and there was a long trail of evidence from the late 1960s onwards warning of the dangers), the Commonwealth wasn’t willing to finance any of it, leaving the cash-strapped ACT Government to find a solution.

They did, but there’s now a call for an inquiry into the consequences of the acquisition plan. Is one merited?

READ ALSO Free lounge memberships must be declared, APS bosses tell themselves

There’s certainly been a flood tide of introspection in the upper echelons of the public service about what our most senior mandarins can accept as “gifts” (as there often is around Senate Estimates season).

Taking collective action, it seems departmental secretaries have all decided that the chairman’s lounge at Qantas should be one of the perks (even if your department is actively investigating, say, a woeful chain of events involving a certain formerly beloved national carrier now better known as ‘the lying kangaroo’).

And speaking of seasons, the end of October approaches and with it, the new Australian ‘tradition’ of harassing the neighbours for lollies and receiving puzzled looks in return.

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Do you celebrate Halloween? Listen to the Hoot and find out what Dave and Genevieve think about pumpkins (in spring!), skeletons bedecked lawns and the value of very sharp pyracantha hedges. Apparently, Halloween’s all Walter Burley Griffin’s fault (ell, according to Murtagh).

The Hoot appears every week on Riotact and wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple and Spotify. Have a listen, tell us what you think and rate us.

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