Thursday, March 26, 2009

A voice from the past.

Several weeks back, on Sydney’s 2BL, John Brown (former federal Labor minister) recalled his days as assistant to Kim “Bomber” Beazley. Beazley – as “Bomber” intimates – was minister for defense at the time. Brown was holding forth on the utter intransigence of the defense department (“a law unto itself”) when it came to daily dealings. Apparently “Bomber” whilst popular “with the troops” was not so with the bureaucrats.

Brown described the persistent nature of these people. He gave one example of a non-commissioned officer who was up for retirement from the forces within some eighteen months. You know: a lifetime’s service, full benefits, etc. Problem was she was female. Further, investigations (“at whose request?” Brown) had revealed that she was now involved in a lesbian relationship. Recommendation to the minister? Dismissal from the service.

Brown stated that for all of those months he was presented with report after report insisting on this person’s dismissal. He kept them all until her retirement date and “bomber” bid her farewell – benefits and all.

The reason for all this? Brown then opined that he didn’t know whether Joel Fitzgibbon was the bloke to “stand against this mob”.

He might well be right: Defence leaks dirt file on own minister.

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19 Comments:

Anonymous Jacob said...

This is all very mystifying. Leaked report... denials... more denials...

Fitz does seem a duck out of water when it comes to his Dept, for instance with regard to the pay-docking debacle. Where will it all end?

26/3/09 10:10 PM  
Blogger Father Park said...

So far with an apology.

Some department this.

27/3/09 7:25 AM  
Blogger Caz said...

Gosh, that is a voice from the distant past.

Defence is not the only department with an entrenched and intransigent culture, but it's the biggest and most complex. A tough gig for any minister without the right grunt.

27/3/09 9:20 AM  
Blogger Caz said...

He's not going to last, the damage is done.

Are free trips to China enough to see him go?

A good start to the Defence campaign though.

27/3/09 9:29 AM  
Blogger Caz said...

Being berated by the PM is a lesser punishment than getting a dressing down, right?

I see he helped get Rudd the numbers for the leadership, so I suppose he's safe.

27/3/09 9:32 AM  
Anonymous Jacob said...

Media Statement from the Attorney-General:

There is some media speculation today regarding the activities of ASIO and other intelligence agencies.

Following this speculation, the Acting Director General of Security has advised me that ASIO has no information relating to Ms Helen Liu which would have given rise to any security concern regarding her activities or associations.

The Acting Director General of Security has informed me he will be making no further media comment on this matter.


Hmmm...

27/3/09 11:07 AM  
Anonymous harry Heidelberg said...

He has clearly done the wrong thing with the Chinese bird. He even said himself he "made a mistake". No adequate declaration for paid flights, etc.

That said, and indelicately putting the faux tryst to one side, I do feel a bit sorry for him.

I read a profile (The Man) in the SMH yesterday and he actually seems rare in the Labor Party. He is one of those Labor people I could like - as I did Beazley. Shocking ideology of course but beneath that evil some sort of inner goodness in the core.

Beazley was like that. Not a fake like Rudd but some decency.

I wouldn't be calling for this bloke's resignation. I'd like to see him get on top of his job first. No sense in changing horses midstream.

Go easy on the Chinese duck though.

It sort of feels like J Edgar Hoover. Is someone getting dressed up like a woman somewhere in all of this?

27/3/09 4:50 PM  
Blogger Caz said...

Ah, but they're canny in Defence, see the damage they've done, the ambiguous questions raised.

They've been at the game a lot longer than the minister.

27/3/09 4:51 PM  
Blogger Father Park said...

Damned right Caz. There is a "reform" agenda supposedly beeing run by this government in defence.

One and one makes two. Attack is the best form....

Not to excuse the non-disclosure of trips; that was plain stupid and enough under Howard - for the first bunch in six months - to be dismissed.

The "Yes Ministers" don't much like being examined eh?

27/3/09 8:40 PM  
Blogger Caz said...

Not disclosing the trips was dumb-arsery Bertie, no excuses.

No one has ever made headway on reforming Defence. The problems go back decades, the culture, which encompasses both civilian and military administrators, would take a decade to crack and reform. It's worth doing, for the long term good, not to mention the good of the budget, but I don't see any gov't giving it the walloping crack it needs any time soon. Goodness knows it's not an area the Rudd understands, despite his wonkish reputation, he's a bit light when it comes to the nuts and bolts of gov't administration, surprisingly enough.

Beazley was good in Defence because he was almost one of their own, he fit their culture, he understood and deeply respected history and tradition.

Defence has some really good people doing really high quality work - if you want a top notch policy or process, they're the people to ask so you can plagiarize from the very best.

But, but, but, but ... oh by jeebus I wish they'd get their act together with decision making, strategic procurements, vendor management. I want to weep with frustration when I read about some of the botched projects, and not just because of the hundreds of millions / billions wasted. Defence does have the procedures and processes to make the right decisions, it's the culture, the decision makers who are ultimately buggering it up, and that's unforgivable. It could be fixed, it's not beyond redemption.

27/3/09 10:56 PM  
Blogger Father Park said...

Yes: all of that Caz. Most entrenched - especially the military side where "tradition" is all. The recent cases involving females is exemplary.

That's what struck me about Brown's experience. Defence waited until this woman was due her retirement (and benefits) and then dug up the fact that she was homosexual. Recommendation? Dishonourably discharged. And they kept pressing it even though Brown continually filed it under the desk.

Says plenty about those who run the show.

28/3/09 12:02 AM  
Blogger Father Park said...

"Is exemplary"??? One too many blacks and time for bed...

28/3/09 12:03 AM  
Blogger Father Park said...

Go easy on the Chinese duck though.

Not likely.

My penchant for Cantonese duck is widely noised about.

28/3/09 12:05 AM  
Blogger Caz said...

"One too many blacks and time for bed"

In another time and place Father, I would have cussed your morals for admitting such a thing, and prayed for your soul, not to mention the souls of your slaves.

(I know, I know, my bad, my bad.)

28/3/09 12:06 AM  
Blogger Father Park said...

It's alright Caz: you can pray for whatever takes your fancy. I am, you may not know, married to a "mud-race". This I found out back in the eighties when National Action - that which gave miscarriage to Pauline Hanson - dropped missives into our mailbox to inform me of my poor choice.

In this regard - if not intellect - I have something (almost) in common with Thomas Jefferson.

Wonder why I have little truck with Hanson or the trash that follows her's - and others' - gutter-shit.

29/3/09 10:01 PM  
Blogger Caz said...

"Mud-race"???!!!

That's a new term on me.

Hanson is an ignorant piece of trash.

Bewildered by the number of people, under the guise of right to privacy and other loopholes, came out in sympathy with her over the recent photo scam incident. Kah-ching, kah-ching. Another few hundred thousand dollars in her bank account. The woman has made a lucrative career out of being uneducated and bigoted. My revulsion at her and her followers could not be more profound. That she is so well rewarded for contributing her particular brand of vomit to society says something rather ugly about Oz.

29/3/09 10:31 PM  
Anonymous Jacob said...

"...dropped missives into our mailbox to inform me of my poor choice."

Ye Gods! Did those swine target you folks specifically, Mike?

29/3/09 10:50 PM  
Blogger Father Park said...

Hard to tell. It was about "taking up with" those that are "mud-race" and that such unions are unnatural blah, blah.

No, I don't think it was directed - though that's difficult to tell.

To tell the truth I chucked the shit in the garbage when it appeared. Anne-Marie was not so sanguine about it though.

Marvellous pile of bile-covered and putrid viscera is /was National Action.

30/3/09 3:15 PM  
Anonymous Jacob said...

If one could be bothered, one might have rung the bastards with some choice words.

National Action? Guess they couldn't use National Front without seeming slavishly derivative.

Of course National Backsides would have been most appropriate.

1/4/09 10:58 PM  

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