Saturday, October 14, 2017

Eyes and Ears of Community - Keep it Simple: Local Jobs Jobs Jobs

Community organizing is all about building grassroots support. It's about identifying the people around you with whom you can create a common, passionate cause. And it's about ignoring the conventional wisdom of company politics and instead playing the game by very different rules
~ Tom Peters

Excellence and Engagement: I
Advocates for community engagement in the arts often get pushback from people who assume that concern for the interests of our communities necessitates a “lowering of standards.” What follows is my attempt to address ... read more

Charity begins at home

A Labor government would use up to $1 billion in public debt to set up a fund to create Australian jobs in the   

Community protection begins with grassroot preventions being better than cures .... Vic police get 44% of their intel from Crime Stoppers. Rewards for dob ins work ...

I agree with Dan that prevention is better than cure. It is much better to rock the legislative boat now rather than later to do the impossible and rock the river...

Back in the year of the Sydney Olympics 2000, one single Australian snowflake by the title of the Press Secretary to a political leader dropped his tools when he found his tasks unacceptable and started a grassroot type website cheekily entitled Crikey!

Margo Kingston of the Sydney Morning Herald fame also begun something unprecedented in the journalism Down Under. Paul McGeogh supported her and a trickle of citizen created storytelling became the avalanche of interactive activities
Like democracy, media is not an exclusive game played by experts such as journalists and their political and business masters; it is an ongoing conversation within and between communities. It is a meeting place for different arguments and perspectives, an arena in which large and small problems are ventilated. It is in a human nature to turn community conversation becoming a monologue ... Let us not be outfoxed by the idea that a handful of rich and powerful characters have a monopoly on truth and what matters in terms of legislation and regulations.
A former independent Member of Parliament by some miracle survived in the NSW Parliament, known as the Bear Pit for 23 years and this veteran politician, (now a brilliant artist and poet,) John Hatton, used to say to me that sunlight is the best disinfectant. Put information into the light and all will be remedied or repaired. After my communist experience, I have some strong belief in that!
Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.
- Sun Tzu - Complements of Dana VanDen Heuvel
How can community democracy be strengthened in your local area? - On Line Opinion 

As anti-corruption fighter John Hatton AO recently pointed out,  “Corruption can’t occur if government departments are truly independent, open, accountable, efficient facilitators of the flow of information acting in the public interest. It just can’t happen…Corruption flows from government to government and from department to department irrespective of the political colour.”

Hatton points out that the “public service is the oil that greases corruption”. Why? Because corruption, or any government wrong doing for that matter, can’t take place over long lunches alone:  it requires execution, and execution requires a team of participants, willing or not. It involves the taking of calls and typing of notes, the drafting and delivery of documents, informal conversations within earshot, advice being sought and given, people coming and going from offices and activities cloaked in secrecy.

It does not auger well for the independence of the public service if department heads are sacked without reason by newly elected governments.

In fact in order to maintain public confidence in the integrity of the public service and to help stamp out cronyism, Heads of Departments should be appointed on a bi-partisan basis or by Parliament, and they should have the right to an independent judicial review if their contract is not to be renewed so that their performance can be independently assessed against the relevant guidelines. This should prevent the dismissal of senior bureaucrats who disagree with a position taken by a government or who have expressed views contrary to some official line.

We need a truly independent public service with departments led by competent managers appointed on merit who can perform their duties without fear of political interference. We also need public servants who are able to speak out without fear of retribution when they see government waste, corruption or wrong doing. After all, it is our money and the integrity of our institutions that they should be protecting.
Why should public servants not be able to speak out if a government demands improper actions or unethical behaviour in relation to its citizens, or requires acts to be taken in breach of international laws or conventions? In many cases the public servants are the only people with the information and expertise who can identify such transgressions.
A truly independent public service is a cornerstone of the Westminster system. Depriving public servants of that independence means that they become servants of incumbent governments rather than servants of the public.