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Our shambolic government

It is becoming increasingly difficult to take this government seriously.

Minister for Employment and Minister for Women, Michaelia Cash, cancelled a planned meeting with the states, the one chance she had this year to talk domestic violence leave with all the industrial relations ministers, because, in her opinion, there were “no matters requiring ministerial decision”.

This is at the same time as the COAG leaders are meeting for a violence against women summit.

Also this week, probably in an attempt to deflect attention, George Brandis announced an inquiry into the alarming levels of Aboriginal incarceration.

Whilst action on this is certainly needed, as many pointed out, the recommendations of previous inquiries have been roundly ignored so it is hard not to be cynical about spending more money on yet another talk fest.

If the government was really concerned about domestic violence and Aboriginal incarceration, they would not be slashing funding to community legal centres.

The 2016-17 Federal Budget did not reverse the looming funding cuts or include any additional investment in legal assistance service, including Community Legal Centres, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, Family Violence Prevention Legal Services or Legal Aid Commissions.

The funding cliff for Community Legal Centres under the National Partnership Agreement for Legal Assistance is still a reality, amounting to $34.83 million cut between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2020.

Funding cuts to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services amounting to over $6 million between 2014-2015 and 2017-2018 will continue, as will the underfunding of Family Violence Prevention and Legal Services and Legal Aid Commissions.

Community Legal Centres helped over 215,000 people with free legal advice last year and had to turn away over 160,000 largely due to lack of funding.

In 2014, the Productivity Commission published a report into access to justice arrangements which found significant gaps in free legal help for family law matters, including family violence and child protection, recommending an extra $200 million be provided by federal, state and territory governments.

Its report said the funding boost would enable legal aid commissions, community legal centres and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services to maintain their frontline services and provide more legal help to more people. It would make about 400,000 more people eligible for civil legal aid grants and about 10 per cent of households eligible for legal aid services, in line with the proportion of disadvantaged Australians. Funding to legal aid services have been cut in recent years, at the same time as demand for their services was growing.

The Productivity Commission said legal aid commissions imposed “too restrictive” means tests, below those of other government benefits, because they were underfunded: “It is not the case that people are ‘too wealthy’ to be eligible for legal assistance, but rather that they are ‘not sufficiently impoverished’.”

Any funding increase was “challenging”: “However, not providing legal assistance in these instances can be a false economy as the costs of unresolved problems are often shifted to other areas of government spending such as health care, housing and child protection. Numerous Australian and overseas studies show that there are net public benefits from legal assistance expenditure.”

“A smart, economic rationalist government would want to adopt the recommendations of its own Productivity Commission,” Mr Warner, Victoria Legal Aid’s managing director, said. “This is not a report by legal academics or the sector talking about itself. This is the country’s premier economic think-tank saying it makes economic sense and provides fairer access to justice.”

The Productivity Commission also recommended reversing the government’s $13.3 million cuts to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services. It said the cuts had already had an impact on frontline services.

Australia’s funding for free legal help per person is lower than in comparable countries including England and Wales, the report said.

The Coalition have also slashed funding to many community early intervention programs and emergency refuge accommodation whilst spending money on more police stations and truancy officers. They pursue tough laws like three strikes, mandatory detention and impossible parole conditions. They lock up children in remand because no-one can afford the bail. They impose income management but ignore the role that poverty plays.

This government creates problems, pays for commissions, reports and reviews, and then ignores them.

What a shambles they are.

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32 comments

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  1. Clean livin

    About time we had a “recall” to rid us of hopeless government!

    Hard to imagine another 3 years of this mob and their non achievements!

  2. Ill fares the land

    Cash truly is a symptom of a much deeper malaise within our political system. I am in favour of more women in politics, but are Cash and O’Dwyer, to name only two, the best examples of women in politics. Cash’s “Dawn the fawfawghter” media debacle (it is probably on Youtube for posterity) showed that while she is an abrasive talker, she is incompetent and she is oh so abrasive to listen to – to the point now where I simply change channels whenever she, or any of the Coalition speak.

    Joyce has always been a bit of a average-intellect buffoon but he always seemed to speak from the heart – but with the power he now holds, his failings are on regular public display – he is a classic example of the “Peter Principle” – he has been promoted beyond his ability – as has Cash.

    But the broader point is that the customary goal of conservatives is to serve their business masters; throw the occasional trinket to the poor to make them think they are being cared for and use the art of smoke and mirrors to cover up their ideological evils. This government is very good at the first; doesn’t even come close on the second and can’t get on the scoreboard on the third.

    It continues to interest me that the conservatives insist they want small government and to stay out of people’s lives, but that is a facade for their obsession with gaining more and more insidious control over every aspect of government – what they crave is small overt government and substantial covert government – Brandis’ pompous and nonsensical posturing over the Solicitor-General debacle shows that nothing is exempt from their need to control every detail. This surely can only stem from a fear that their behind-the-scenes chicanery will become public unless the parties involved are prevented from making public comment with threats of criminal charges.

    On ignoring reports, the problem here is a bit of a conflation of factors. One is that bureaucrats don’t like outcomes – outcomes go hand-in-hand with accountability and that is something governments and bureaucrats hide from and, I might add, they are enormously skilled at avoiding accountability. There is a powerful “immune system” at work within the government and bureaucracy that crushes any semblance of accountability.

    Another is that there is a huge industry of management consultants (all of the Big 4 accounting firms have them and many mid-tier accounting firms have them as well). These incompetent nitwits with a language peppered with weasel-words and non-phrases designed to make them sound clever are constantly in the pockets of bureaucrats looking for well paid work doing drivel-based reports that look professional but will never be implemented. It is the perfect alliance – bureaucrats want nothing and the management consultants deliver precisely that – and do it over and over again. From a revenue viewpoint, the professional firms compete endlessly for that work, because it is highly profitable – of course it is nothing more than a wealth transfer from the public to the private purse, but it has always been thus.

    .

  3. Mark Needham

    Morning All. I have just received an e.mail, talking about stuff, with a bloke that I have never met, ( years now)…anyhows.,

    “”If a friend or associate has a different view on politics, Car brands, whether to build model trains in O scale or G scale or just plane likes something different, Are they REALLY your enemy? Or just in opposition to your way at a particular time. Here in the USA we used to have two opposing parties of Republicans and Democrats that worked together and compromised to make our government run. They weren’t enemy’s, they were friends with different views. Today we have lost all civility and they consider each other enemy’s that results in nothing getting done except hate.

    I think there is a big difference between opposition and enemy and I just wish the world would understand and realize it.””

    He has said so succinctly, that I have, on occassions, tried to say here.

    All I want, is a reasonable conversation. That I spruick stuff, that is different or not, then all I want, is to be given guidance as to where I am wrong.

    At last,
    Mark Needham

  4. Kaye Lee

    To be shown where you are wrong, you need to state a position Mark. Did I miss it? Or are you saying you agree that this government has pulled the wrong rein here?

  5. economicreform

    They are slashing funding for almost everything that moves, with particular aim at “soft targets”.

  6. David

    Got to pay for those fabulous F35’s and new French submarines from somewhere!

  7. Ruth Lipscombe

    Kaye Lee, when depression ( brought on by the morons in power) threatens to overtake me ,you write a brilliant blog which rescues me.Many thanks.

  8. townsvilleblog

    The L&NP have really become a gaggle of geese with their continuing civil war between the Liberal Party factions, with the extremist ultra right wing faction despite not having the numbers, getting their way on govt policy. The gaffe prone turds in their party, and the Nats full of hopeless characters including their leader.

    Do we really have to endure another 3 years of these fools? Hopefully Turnbull will grow tired of playing the game by his RWNJs rules and pull the pin on the govt, we can only hope.

  9. Wayne Turner

    They are truly this countries biggest “leaners”.Sadly they only care about getting and staying in government – Which the ignorant gave them their wish.

    Ca$h another born to rule leaner.

    Brandarse another born to rule leaner,into self serving distractions.

  10. townsvilleblog

    Mark Needham, the scale of human deprivation in Australia is of a size Australians have never before witnessed. The L&NP supreme policy of privatizing our country for the 1% of the global population who already own 50%+ of the global economy (google it if you doubt me) is a pathetic sellout of the Australian traditional way of life, so this 1% can buy up all of our governmental services and charge us much more for a downgraded service in private hands to make a profit.

    We are not talking about train sets or car brand preference here, we are talking about the long term survival of the Australian population. All you need to happen as a working person is to lose your job, as 1,101,000 others have and suddenly you are destitute as many have found in the past 3 years, and thousand s more will discover next year when the L&NP induced finish of our vehicle manufacturing industry comes about, thanks Hockey.

    These people will add to over a million people seeking employment within Australia, with a further 1,002,000 under employed Australians who can’t earn enough to support themselves or their families. We are talking here about a catastrophe of incompetent economic management from the federal L&NP government’s of biblical proportions, backing outdated technology over and above 21st century methods of efficiency, especially in the form of renewable energy, because the coal industry donates heavily into the L&NP. This is a LUDICROUS situation, like driving a model T Ford in 2016. But until Aussies well and truly wake up to realize in whose interests the Australian economy is being run, turkeys like you will continue to offer silly comment.

  11. pierre wilkinson

    can the divisive plebiscite and there is enough funding to fulfill the funding shortfall…
    but that would be too simple and probably also be effective, so it would be anathema to this current elite mob….
    one woman on average is killed in a DV case each week, and what do we get? funding cuts, refuges closed down, pollies looking suitably distraught then on to the next news cycle – it is truly disgusting and we need to have a vote of no confidence in this government…
    but wait! Brandis has announced yet another inquiry into indigenous incarceration…. what a joke, when they are still ignoring all the recommendations from previous enquiries…
    btw Kaye Lee, thanks for your insights 🙂

  12. Jaquix

    Another couple of Magical Reannouncement Tours by this shambolic government as Kaye Lee so correctly describes it. Clearly trying to polish Brandis up for continued consumption. Notice he was reading from a script when he claimed to be concerned about the serious matter of Aboriginal incarceration? As for the re-arrangement of severely cut funding, into new sections with shiny new names, well we all know what is behind that dont we. The Minister of Women is only available for “ministerial decisions”, no consultation or discussion or empathy, or interest, lets face it. Her passion is union bashing, especially in the company of Malcolm. Turnbull promised to treat Australians as intelligent – instead he is playing us for fools. It doesnt seem to be working that well though, with his popularity going down, down, down. Below Abbott ! One bright note this morning was a big spray from Warren Mundine (AT LAST!) about the uselessness and deception of this government, about indigenous matters and this new “review” in particular.

  13. bossa

    The Minister for Un-enjoyment (sic) is one of the weirdest of people. It’s like the circus is in town with all of these people.

  14. lawrencewinder

    A good indication of how well this incompetent ruling rabble understand how “on-the-nose” it is was exemplified today by Coots-With Queer-Ideas-From a Parallel-Universe apparatchik and failed candidate for Goldstein, Georgie The Gorgon, Downer. Today on 774 when a listener mentioned that they thought that Bookshelves Brandis’ recent stuff-ups indicated a lack of integrity, The Gorgon launched into a well rehearsed IPA tactic of a straw man argument with a vicious diatribe of invective against Gillian Triggs… boy, when these Liarbril women hate they, at least, can do that well!

  15. Zathras

    This Government is even worse than the Abbott regime, but in a slightly different way.

    The former were proven liars who implemented bad policies but the current one seems incapable of implementing much at all and is more focussed on itself than on what they were hired to do.

    Ineffectual and ineffective – a posse of clowns led by a politically impotent narcissist or just a herd of rabbits frozen in the headlights.

    It would be funny to watch if it wasn’t so serious for us all.

  16. Steve Laing - makeourvoiceheard.com

    Warren Mundine’s spray was so deliciously ripe that whilst they did use his particular choice term for the person that came up with enquiry yesterday on the ABC, today they just noted his displeasure…

    But he was right. The person that suggested yet another enquiry (an opportunity to kick the problem further down the road) rather than actually try and put in place the recommendations from so many previous enquiries, is, as Mundine so choicely stated “a dickhead”.

    The government benches are unfortunately so full of them, that you almost don’t notice the general shambles any more, being so distracted by whatever grand stuff-up each day will almost predictably bring.

    Yet they actually seem to believe that they are doing a great job. When they have such a low sense of self-awareness, what chance have we got?

  17. jimhaz

    Maybe we need the Oz propensity to engage in domestic violence to become political violence.
    Cash is a sort of show pony whose interest seems to have been focused on her surname.

    As an aside, there seems to be a lot of LNP senators in ministerial positions. Does anyone know if there are more than ever?

  18. Möbius Ecko

    The other thing with this government is to blame Labor for just about everything and anybody else when they don’t blame Labor. No matter how irrefutable it is, with written, video and empirical evidence, that the fault lies with this government they still blame Labor, and the media allow them to get away with it. That’s the opposite of what happened when Labor was in government.

    For example this morning ABC News24 had an interview with Morrison. The TV I was watching in a foyer didn’t have sound but the text at the bottom had Morrison saying Labor was at fault for a number of economic matters his government has dismally failed in. The framing is that if all opposition went away tomorrow and the Liberals became the fascist government they so desperately want to be we would have an economic nirvana overnight.

    Even if this happen, and a fascist Liberal government continues to spectacularly fail as they would, they would still blame someone else even though they had complete unfettered control of the government and country.

    Of course they would also harshly suppress and dissent and run a full propaganda machine telling everyone how great everything is as the people starve in the streets.

  19. guest

    So Turnbull has become PM. He has achieved his life goal. But Turnbull needs to get out before he becomes a complete flop, a no-hoper worse than Abbott – if he isn’t already. Surely he can see the current arrangement of his managing the circus is not working.

    In fact, they could all go together and reduce the pain of a really embarrassing exit.

  20. Mark Needham

    Kaye Lee. Unfortunately, most leaders seems to have it all “about face’ at the moment. Turnbull is changing his mind as often as…..
    Quite a few things, that he has done I am in total disagreement with. Main problem is, we do have 3 more years of it, at which point what will be the alternative.
    To say that there is a Good Alternative, at this point in time, is nothing short of wishfull thinking.

    We need, a Leader, not a politician. The world needs a leader or 2. But where ever she/he is, I am not sure.

    As I expected, the guts of my post is lost,
    Ah well,
    Mark Needham

  21. Steve Laing - makeourvoiceheard.com

    You are right Mark – we do need a leader. And it can be a political leader, but it must be one that actually has the capacity to lead, and currently our political system does not allow this. “Leaders” are appointed, not because of any great capability to actually lead, but to do the will of the powerbrokers that sit behind them. And that isn’t leadership.

    I believe that changes in the way that Labor has updated the way that it determines its leader goes some way to addressing the issue, but not enough. If only there were a way that the people could have a greater say in the choice of the nations leader, rather than just the parties…

  22. diannaart

    Kaye Lee

    Arrived late, as per usual.

    This shambling government is a petty government. Too many cuts to relatively little budgetary ‘advantage’ yet devastating to the community.

    With a MSM concerned with the top end of town, the dissemination of vital information for people fleeing domestic violence or the programs which actually help the vulnerable is left to Community radio to broadcast.

    The Federal shamble cut $1.4 million – not even 1 and a half million – from community radio. $1.4 is nothing and but it is everything to keeping voices of independence on the air waves.

    Every year community radio is threatened, every year they manage somehow with state government or other aid.

    Apart from a vital link for many, community radio has been the starting point for many people we see in MSM today.

    Our government is not just a shambles or mean and petty, it is top heavy… I do not see how much longer we can support these parasites.

  23. COLIN

    She had to have her hair hat redone.

  24. totaram

    “This government creates problems, pays for commissions, reports and reviews, and then ignores them. What a shambles they are.”

    Are they really? They are masters in the art of distraction, obfuscation, dissembling, and pretending to do something about important issues, when in reality they have no intention of doing anything at all. Why would they? They are not here to improve the lives of ordinary Australians. It is the top 1% that they are concerned about. Just to get enough people to vote for them however, they need to convince a sufficient number of deluded fools, with the aid of the MSM, that they are doing something useful. That is the game. From the polls, it seems that not enough people are convinced by this performance, but when it comes around to the election, perhaps some new tricks can be conjured up which the ever gullible numpties will swallow.

    As for Ms Cash, she is a typical “born-to-rule type, who doesn’t really care about the peasants and nothing more needs to be said.

  25. my say

    I really wish some one had put a photo in the face of Cash ,with the family they had lost to domestic violence ,and said this is why we need D V L
    Can we suggest the GG sack this government and call another election ,or suggest Shorten block supply,
    something has to give ,Australia can’t survive much longer,under their dictatorship

  26. bossa

    @ totaram That is indeed their game. They know their demographic – how else could they have been re-elected?

    The plebs are silent, busy watching The Block and hoping to join in on the fun. They’d know they’d ‘made it’ then.

    People are so removed from the natural world these days that I doubt they’d recognise a ‘time’s up’ moment if it jumped up and bit their head off.

    30% of the GBR died this year and people just don’t care.

    Roll up, roll up. 90% off The Human Race – Last Days!

  27. Deanna Jones

    Women who have the most internalised misogyny will always be the first choice as patriarchy’s token players.

  28. Steve Laing

    It’s the classic Roman strategy to keep the plebs quiet, Bosss. Bread and circuses. Or in the modern age, fast food and crappy tv.

  29. king1394

    Liberal party women seem expected to be decorative, and unquestioning. Not many get preselected for safe enough seats to make it into a ministry. Then, when the Liberals in Government realise that they need to bring more women into their higher levels of government, they really do have trouble finding more than one or two women of substance. Cash is good for looking decorative, but is hardly a bright intellectual light. Nor does she have any real world experience that would create empathy for the people about whom she makes decisions

  30. longwhitekid

    ‘It is becoming increasingly difficult to take this government seriously.’ This implies they were at some point taken seriously. The havoc and damage they wreak is serious. But apart from that, they are completely incompetent, proven hundreds of times over publicly. It’s hard to completely f*ck up a national census but they somehow managed it just by not giving a shit which is modus operandi.

  31. Mark Needham

    “like driving a model T Ford in 2016.”

    Something we all should do.
    Then, maybe we would have a better appreciation, of where we are, what we have and what we don’t have to complain about.

    A preoccupation with things that are unimportant, can take over our lives.

    Back in 1908, drivers of vehicles, horse drawn and horseless, at least could manage an amiable conversation.

    Rage, of types uncountable are the norm now., Road, Text, Blog, Political, Gender and so bloody on.
    Ah well,
    Mark Needham

  32. Kaye Lee

    Mark,

    I agree that political discourse has deteriorated – I think this site is a pretty good example of trying to address that. People are entitled to express frustration and should point out government failings.

    As for preoccupation with the wrong priorities, this is a very deliberate political strategy which, when examined, highlights their hypocrisy.

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