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Welfare State…of another kind.

By Indi - 20 January 2006 34

I don’t know whether I was fortunate or not to have had the following conversation with a long-term civil servant the other day, but this was basically how it progressed:

This guy is a third generation Canberran, who has ‘worked’ his way in a tireless and determined manner to reach the now esteemed and credible rank beyond the middle classes to Executive Level 1 (I assume that means he earns anywhere between about $70 and 95k, depending on the department).

So far this doesn’t sound all that interesting and is nothing more than listening to this guy ‘blowing ones own trumpet’ conversation that is becoming the norm in this town. I’ve noticed that people are keen early in the piece to structure their social interactions with others based on the ‘level’ they have attained in the service, regardless of ability and competency levels.

The intriuging part of the encounter was that this person has also lived in public housing for his entire life in what is now the fairly affluent and leafy suburb of Griffith…but back when he was young, only middle-ranked public servants were provided with a house in that suburb. But it turns out that this house that he occupies was also his parents home. Before that his grandparents also held a lease with the government, on fairly modest rent. Naturally he pays full rent as determined by the government because he earns a very healthy pay packet.

There is just something abnormal with the scenario here – a lease has been held by his family for a very long time, this guy is the third generation to receive, what I would see really as another form of welfare ie. a very stable long-term government income and to compliment this a government provided home. This led me to ask a generic question about what he did at work – the answer was simply, “oh, I’ve worked out over the years that if you form a comfortable relationship with the Branch Head, you can be put on special projects where you really don’t have to be accountable to anyone…I’m now very good at media monitoring as I read all the daily papers”.

After concluding the chat, I began to wonder if this is possibly not an isolated case of lets say a third generation Canberran, whose parents and grandparents were also public servants, provided with all the comforts by the State, have now come to expect the concept of ‘security of tenure’ in all its wonderous forms – ahhh, it was almost as if I could hear the gravy train, whistle blowing, departing somewhere in the distance.

What’s Your opinion?


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34 Responses to
Welfare State…of another kind.
seepi 12:40 pm 21 Jan 06

Yes – specdial projects can be where you put the spare/not very useful people. And if there are ever budget cuts those are the peopole who get made redundant first. This guy has had an easy ride, but most people in the public service have real jobs. Who would want to live like that anyway. Does he have anything interesting to talk about?

Blossy 11:04 pm 20 Jan 06

In my department, “special projects” is a name for an unimportant pretend project that merely exists so that Branch Heads and the like have somewhere out of their hair to send the inept, the troublemakers, or those who there simply don’t like.

Swaggie 10:17 pm 20 Jan 06

Poor chap, stop being nasty to him, I hope his rent is truly minimal so he has a high disposable income which he spends lavishly supporting the local economy and ensuring people like me who live in the real world with a mortgage can make an income and a living. We need overpaid underworked public servants to spend vast amounts of disposable income to make the local economy WORK!!

boneym 5:57 pm 20 Jan 06

Bugger off DT – or is it DF?

If the Government was able to sell the houses that all the people paying ‘market rent’ lived in, they’d have the money to purchase additional public housing properties and reduce the waiting lists for people who actually need it – voila, problem solved.

And there wouldn’t be bludgers like this bloke

Indi 5:36 pm 20 Jan 06

It’s really interesting – the said public servant living in public housing is quite a good bloke, however leads the good life (probably has a fair bit of disposable income I guess). Lod – I guess he was on the tenancy agreement with his parents as soon as he was in the position to contribute paying rent and when they passed away he then, at that time, took over the lease. In fact, I don’t know whether or not that loophole still exists. It would be interesting to hear from someone in the know, as it should be closed off pronto.

Interesting that Dr Foskey is mentioned – she did have a spray in the Canberra Pravda today at Crispin Hull and strangely Richard Mulcahy about how she should still maintain some authority to speak on social housing matters, even though she claims to occupy a public housing tenancy because she believes that it is the right thing to do.

The article goes onto say however that she will be shortly taking up a private tenancy due to her daughter changing schools…

The sooner people of Dr Foskey’s ilk realise that social housing is there (now) for people in real need, the sooner it will become evident that it is an essential service that needs full govt funding and will ultimately not be able to rely on subsidies from the ‘full market renter’, nor indeed continue to maintain tenancies for said public servants that I met who CLEARLY do not need nor should maintain a house that is taxpayer funded.

RandomGit 4:09 pm 20 Jan 06

As this guy has swindled and sneaked his way into this position, I’d say the Government would be hard pressed to detect this goons tom foolery. Even if processes were initiated, would they fall to, surprise surprise, his branch head?

DT 4:04 pm 20 Jan 06

Whether he deserves the house or not, he is paying full market rent so he’s not really a bludger. Obviously there are a hell of a lot of people who deserve public housing a hell of a lot more than he does. But the sad fact is that the whole public housing system relies on a certain number of tenants just like him, in order to subsidise the system for everyone else. The real problem is the inadequate funding of public housing in general.

steveu 3:47 pm 20 Jan 06

I think there is rampant abuse of government housing, and inequitable allocation and unfair retention of said premises. The sooner the government addresses the problem, the better. Those who are in need can’t get one, and it seems that new public housing applications are pretty much absorbed by young single mothers. Hey I could be wrong, but thats the impression I get from speaking to eople who work there.

barking toad 3:40 pm 20 Jan 06

Or maybe he could move in with foskey and they can be jointly kicked as bludging bunts (whoops, should have spellchecked) and he could perhaps get something of a life by giving her the occasional hit as punishment, that’s assuming she bats for that side – did someone mention carpet?

lod 3:31 pm 20 Jan 06

does this mean that he lived with his parents in said house until they ran away from him?

It seems like excitement all round, almost makes me want to cry.

Maelinar 3:23 pm 20 Jan 06

*feels buttons being pushed*

And if you put a match to the house, he’d demand a new government supplied house in compensation I’d guess.

This whole concept of hereditary welfare is outright wrong. Just because my grandparents had nothing, do I deserve to live in public housing ?

According to this wanker I do.

This inequality is the uppermost embarrasing thing I can think of that this government has supported and abided, and the time is now to ruthlessly cut these leeches from the belly of the Government and watch them flounder.

Now this Government is pretty famous for the low things it does, but protecting these welfare leeches is as inexcusable as it is appalling.

Let us remember that we’ve got an economy on the brink of collapse due to our welfare budget being at a collossal 43% of GDP, and an expected increase in demand forecasted due to the retiring baby boomers placing greater stress on the welfare, health and super portfolios.

Again, I get the feeling that as a taxpayer, my taxes aren’t really being spent too wisely.

(that’s federal and territory)

barking toad 3:18 pm 20 Jan 06

That’s a very sad story Indi where a bloke gets promoted to his level of inefficiency and then plods along with no further ambition, just marking time until the package is offered or lasting until retirement age. No doubt it happens in plenty of government departments and probably in most large organisations.

But what are boring prick he must be, living in public housing for a second generation with no aspiration to own a home, even buying the one he lives in, comfortable in his little cocoon and boring life. Bet that when he wears shorts he dons the work shoes with brown socks or worse, shuffles out in socks and sandals.

As for the public housing issue, his type of case, while it still irks me, differs from the foskey one.

Snout troughing members of the local council on substantial salaries and perks should not occupy public housing as a matter of principle. Especially when they have other real estate.

She should be made move in with your mate and pay board which would make him pay higher “market rent” and she should catch the bus to work with no recompense because of wasting space in the council chambers and thieving oxygen thereby contributing to green house gases!

Mr Evil 3:16 pm 20 Jan 06

Fuckers like this make me sick! Bloody freeloading wankers!

jr 3:02 pm 20 Jan 06

Great the security of tenure now extends to sexually transmitted public housing?

che 2:39 pm 20 Jan 06

good stuff
we needed some more public servant/housing bashing stories around here

soon we’ll be as good as ACA or TT when all we have to do to get ratings up is run out some controvertial stories. Instead of dole cheats and dodgy plumbers it’ll be on road cyclists and public housing, yay

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