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By Georgia * The following is the story of how I became the…


The Ultimate Job

By Kyran O’Dwyer

Imagine this.

A job with an entry level salary of about $200k that requires no qualification or previous experience. There is no dress code, no KPIs, no oversight. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

It’s not like those on Newstart. For about $16k ‘income’, they have to observe standards far in excess of the standards applicable to those who define their rules. Pick any one of the myriad of support services that most Australians consider necessary, and tell me the requirements for their paltry income is less stringent than those who imposed the criteria. Just one. Any one.

That’s before we start on ‘the perks’ of being a politician. Living away from home allowances, even when you are living in your own home. (Or your partner’s. Or your trust company. Or whatever). That such consideration should be given to the homeless is, clearly, an untenable proposition. Plus their other entitlements. Their expenses, their super, their hobnobbing with the likes of Twiggy, Gina, Adani, Rupert. If you thought a $200k entry level salary is good, your expense allowances will dwarf it. It’s expensive keeping up with appearances. Just ask Dorian Gray. It is simply logical that your employer, the taxpayer, should fund your every indulgence.

In addition, there are ‘post job’ bonuses, comprising an ongoing salary even when you finish working, with no restriction on receiving any other income. These ‘post job’ jobs are a certainty, given the number of people who will be keen to repay your ‘in job’ considerations. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?

Understandably, these jobs only come up every few years. Some people do pre-job training with suitably qualified bodies. The IPA, the Liberals, the Nationals, the ALP, RTOs with credentials par excellence. Even though there are no standards for these jobs, some people still need pre-job training. Go figure. At least they are not interns.

There are 150 positions in the House of Representatives (HoR) and 36-40 in the Senate in any normal election year.

This may sound daunting, but don’t despair. In 2013, 1,188 candidates stood for the 150 HoR vacancies. That’s 7.9 applicants for every job. In the same year, 529 candidates stood for 40 Senate vacancies. That’s 13.2 applicants for every job. Bearing in mind that there are over 17 applicants for far more menial jobs, with far greater scrutiny, out there in the real world, this is an opportunity second to none.

Admittedly, the entry criteria may seem pretty tough, but it’s not.

Firstly, you cannot be entitled to the rights or privileges of a foreign power. This seems difficult, but it’s not. If you were born overseas, or your parents were, or your grandparents were, you will need to identify the relevant country or countries and establish how to renounce that citizenship. This internetty computer thingy makes it a very simple process. You would have to be pretty stupid to mess that one up. In the event you went through an RTO, you should ask for a refund of your fees.

Secondly, you cannot have been convicted, or be in the process of being convicted, for a crime carrying a penalty of more than one year’s incarceration. Now, that one’s not hard at all. Most people will recall a particularly long conversation with the police, particularly when it starts with “Did you bring your toothbrush?”

Thirdly, you cannot be an undischarged bankrupt or insolvent. This one is also easy. For a start, it is specifically referring to financial bankruptcy. Intellectual and moral bankruptcy are perfectly acceptable. In the off-chance you don’t know if you are a bankrupt, it will have been a rather lengthy process, with lots of paperwork. Don’t fret too much. “I don’t recall” is a handy phrase to learn. It’s not like it’s a ‘robo-debt’ letter, with all of its attendant obligations. In this rarefied space, temporary amnesia is not only convenient, but totally acceptable.

Finally, you cannot be in receipt of a government pay-cheque, whether it be a salary or a contract with a government department. Most people would know if they were receiving a benefit from the government, don’t you think?

So, that’s the entry criteria. Easy, peasy.

In the off-chance you did not understand the criteria, applied for the job and got it, don’t worry. There is no penalty if you ‘made a mistake’. You might lose the job, but you can keep the money. Any legal fees incurred in defending your stupidity will be picked up by the taxpayer. It is not, after all, a Centrelink application. Whilst ‘ignorance is no excuse’ in the real world, you have entered a rarefied space where being ignorant is a virtue.

The application process is even easier. You see, depending on which survey you want to believe, only 12 – 20% of Australians trust their politicians. My personal belief is that these figures are inflated. There are, of course, variables. ‘Trust’ is a word with a dictionary definition, but each person’s definition of trust is personal, even peculiar.

‘Politician’ is, in my opinion, another variable. Notwithstanding those variables, I’ve never met a person who trusts a politician.

To get the job, you have to convince people who don’t trust you that you are better than the other applicants, who they also don’t trust. You can say anything you like, in the full knowledge that;
a) Not many people will believe you, and
b) If they do believe you, that is more an indictment on their gullibility than your credibility. They deserve no sympathy if they are that stupid.

Therefore, you need never worry if your promises seem ‘over the top’. Nobody in their right mind believed you in the first place.

Now, here is the real beauty of these jobs. Nobody expects you to do anything. Passing bills through parliament is an illusion, peddled to the masses. These were the people stupid enough to give you the job in the first place. Like any illusionist, you will learn that the critical aspect is the theatre, not the substance. We have had over three years of government where sweet Fanny Adams has gone through Parliament. Even budgets are optional. In the off/chance there is any criticism of the lack of progress, there is no end of excuses. “It is everybody else’s fault” is as acceptable as “The dog ate my homework”.

Everybody knows that government by ministers is far more practical. No need to make an argument in Parliament. Just sneak out the back and make a deal with your cohorts. Whether it be launching military actions overseas, negotiating with rogue states to incarcerate the unwanted, demeaning and belittling the weak and the vulnerable, shifting departments, amalgamating departments. Anything at all. You name it, you can do it.

You will never be held to account.

Interested? Of course you are. So, here’s what you do. Don’t just enrol to vote. Enrol as a candidate as well.

Realistically, some are more likely to succeed than others.

Our Upper House comprises 76 representatives, twelve for each State, two for each Territory. That means Tasmania, with 537k people, get one senator for every 45k people. South Australia, with 1.72 mill people, get one for every 143k people. Western Australia, with 2.67 mill people, get one for every 223k people. Victoria and Queensland, both on 6.14 mill people, get one for every 512k people. And New South Wales, with 7.77 mill people, get one for every 648k people. The Northern Territory, with 266k people, get one for every 133k people. The ACT, with 402k people, get one for every 201k people.

The only difficulty in doing that maths is trying to explain how that is, in any way, equal representation. Don’t worry too much. As a politician, nobody expects you to explain anything, let alone represent your constituents in anything even vaguely resembling equality.

Our Lower House is slightly more representative, ranging from one representative for every 107k people in Tasmania to one for every 212k in Queensland. The average across all of the states and territories is one representative for every 163k people.

If we all enrol as candidates, the ultimate job will be a prize for relatively few. However, based on Australia’s performance to date, it will likely take the ABS/AEC years to work out the outcome. If there are several million candidates, all voting for themselves, there will need to be counts, recounts, distribution of preferences. Then more counts, more recounts, more redistribution of preferences. When all of that is done, the successful people will go to Parliament.

Some unkind souls have likened Parliament to kindergarten. Using that analogy, the High Court is, undoubtedly, our very own kindergarten cop. Before you know it, the newly elected parliamentarians will be facing scrutiny. When they get knocked off in the High Court they can walk away with their salary. Their replacements will be found and submitted to the same rigmarole. This will go on for a few years. Then we can call a new election and start all over again.

OK, Parliament won’t have sat, nothing will have been done, and there will have been incessant discussion of the most inane aspects of the most inane people.

The only difference between the above scenario and the current situation is that more people will have imbibed at the trough.

Come on, people. It’s 2017. Ask not what you can do for your country, ask what your country can do for you. Whether you rely on the Constitution or an old religious tome, the defence is set in stone. That which was drafted and enacted so long ago, unbending to any winds of change, is now the shelter behind which you can cower from any future winds of change.

Yeah. OK. There are a few weaknesses in the foregoing. None of it, however, is intended to justify the status quo. It is merely an attempt to get a few more beneficiaries to the trough.

Mr Einstein’s definition of insanity was ‘doing the same thing, over and over again, expecting different results’. Based on that definition, the foregoing is insane.

The problem with the Constitution is not s44, or any of the other sections that come under the spotlight every so often. The only constitutional crisis we have is the document itself. Drafted and enacted more than a century ago, impervious to change. Until such time as this is rectified we may as well get as many snouts into the trough as we can.

Enrol as a candidate for the Ultimate Job. There is no downside.

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  1. Shogan

    Maybe people elected for the first time should be on an “apprentice wage” as they learn the job, say 1/3rd of the full wage for the first year, 2/3rds for the second year & a full wage for the third year.

  2. Keitha Granville

    excellent article – and I would rather have a MacDonald’s employee representing me than the current crop. They are more polite, they stick to the rules and they turn up.

  3. Bob Parker

    @diannaart. Abbott may have been drunk back then but he is permanently punch drunk.

  4. helvityni

    Yes, Kyran, it’s easy peasy to get in, and when you are there, you don’t need to do much…oops, enjoy the perks…hard work..

    And when people have low expectations, we get some weird folk elected: Abbotts, Duttons, Hansons…etc.etc.

    We laugh at Donald, and we are horrified by Duterte’s antics, but I can’t say I’m impressed with ours either…( to put it politely….)

  5. Johno

    WTF is Malcolm doing on that chair anyway.

  6. Luke

    You forgot to say that in the last few years with this lot, they have doubled our national debt.

  7. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Entertaining read, Kyran, even though it is the dismal truth.

  8. helvityni

    Maybe he is going to stand on it to add some height as he seems to be rather short-ish… I could be wrong, maybe he just appears that way as he is usually photographed next to the statuesque Pauline on high heels….

  9. wam

    a job like that risks exposure i want to be one of the 4 friends that the lowest pollie can employ with quiet access to vehicles, petrol cards, air travel and canapes.

    the constitution senate was to give qld, tas and wa clout against the big states SA NSW and Vic
    SA should use the constitution to sue any SA senator who votes against the water interest of the state.

  10. Terry2

    And now we learn that it’s alright to get pissed on the job, fail to perform the functions that you are employed to do and there is no penalty to pay.

    I cannot imagine that even the rusted-on electors of Warringah will continue to stick with this man.

  11. Dave

    And of course, it is even OK in turnbulls’ “government” to draw a salary from another employer or two whilst still bludging off the taxpayers. After all, why wouldn’t you, free lurks, perks and jerks come from all directions, “free” foxtel, “free” internet, “free” phone “free” electricity, “free” solar systems with “free” battery storage, “free” travel, “free” lunches, “free” dinners and “free” drinks, “free” sex etc. etc., The “free” list is never ending, and as long as there is a fence sitting acrobat balancing precariously on the office desk it will forever be.

  12. Roswell

    I often wonder how I might have gone in politics.

    I guess it’s never too late to try.

  13. Roswell

    I’m fairly confident that I’d receive more than 77 first preference votes.

  14. Kyran

    In the category of “You can’t make this stuff up”, Bananas has been nominated for Kiwi of the year.
    This is odd for a few reasons.
    If you look at the ‘values’ of the New Zealand people, they seem very progressive when compared with ours. They have treaty with their First People (however flawed) going back to 1840. They gave women the vote in 1893. They have had marriage equality since 2013. They have had a far more compassionate approach to refugees, even offering to take ours. All of these are values that Bananas opposes. Why would they want him? Are our cousins across the ditch being mischievous? Are they trying to create an international incident?

    “Australia’s highest profile New Zealander, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, has received the second-most nominations for 2018 New Zealander of the Year.
    Nominations officially close next month, at which stage the awards office said it would “assess Mr Joyce’s eligibility based on his citizenship and other criteria”.”

    As an observation, it seems likely that a popularity contest in New Zealand will decide if Bananas is a Kiwi before our High Court does. Does this farce ever stop? As to the criteria;

    “The award is described as honouring “people for their contribution to the wellbeing of New Zealand”.”

    The only contribution Bananas has made to the wellbeing of New Zealand is by denying he has any allegiance to them and by not participating in their politics. Bearing in mind his catastrophic impact on Australia, this has been, obviously, a significant contribution to their wellbeing.

    “The independent judging panel will then consider each nomination on how a particular individual has contributed to making New Zealand a better place to live.”

    Clearly, his absence hath made their heart grow fonder.

    As to the legal aspect, it is hard to ignore the difference between Ms McManus’s approach and the Nat’s approach. She says if a law is wrong, one is obliged to change it. The Nat’s opinion is that if a law is wrong, one should just ignore it.
    The argument he is putting forward?

    “Mr Joyce’s barrister, Gerald Ng, said his evidence would centre around his “state of mind” as to whether he knew he was a citizen of New Zealand.”

    To quote his multinational, bi-lingual compatriot, Mr Ludlum, “SRSLY?” Bananas legal defence is his ‘state’ of mind, when most reasonable Aussies and Kiwis would question the very existence of his mind. Surely, this is a strategy for an appeal of some sort. He does not appear to contest that he is a dual national, only that it was a case of mind over matter. He don’t mind, it don’t matter.
    As to our wonderful invertebrate PM, how does he regard having a Kiwi as his Deputy? Not to mention the ministries currently held by the foreigner?

    “She has suggested her view is that he should step down as a minister.
    “I, obviously, respect her opinion, but my judgment is that he should stay as a minister because the only — because if you’re entitled to sit in the parliament and vote in the parliament, then you’re entitled to be a minister.”

    The invertebrate, a lawyer, says ‘his judgement’ dictates that someone, because they got their bum on a seat, is entitled to stay there. Just when you think this can’t get any more absurd, a lawyer says that our parliament has the same rules as a game of ‘Musical Chairs’.
    Thank you for your comments. Roswell, srsly, go for it. Mr 77’s defence is even worserer than Bananas.
    Take care

  15. Harquebus

    Go for it.

    “He knows nothing and thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.” — George Bernard Shaw

    “In politics, stupidity is not a handicap.” — Napoleon Bonaparte

    Sorry. I couldn’t resist. No hard feelings I hope.

    I did read the article. Yesterday. Goodwun.

  16. kristapet

    I worry also that:
    ““Mr Joyce’s barrister, Gerald Ng, said his evidence would centre around his “state of mind” as to whether he knew he was a citizen of New Zealand.”
    This seems a very nebulous, form of evidence to ascertain, lacks rigor, is Gerald Ng laughing at us?

  17. Roswell

    You can relax, Harquebus. I can’t run as I’m a dual citizen. ?

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