"the Roman government appeared every day less formidable to its enemies,more odious and oppressive to its subjects." — Edward Gibbon 'The History Of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire'
In our democratic community (circa 2000) the single requirement that controls whether our executives adopt a course of action is not "is it wise" but "is it popular", the crucial quality that guarantees politicians their jobs. The inevitable result is folly.
Less formidable to its enemies
Neglect Of Our Defences.
Reflecting public disinterest Australia's military forces have been reduced to a token force that cannot even detect the presence of an invader, even if that invader is unarmed refugees. Boats sail hundreds of kilometres across the open sea and come ashore unknown to those agencies charged with our protection, their arrival only reported when seen by incredulous citizens.
Not For The First Time
On Saturday, March 13th, 1999, the headlines of The Courier-Mail reported that 22 people had been arrested after a newsagent warned customs that a 35 metre steel boat packed with Asians had grounded on a suburban Cairns beach. A warning prompted when some of those aboard made their way to his shop at Holloway beach to call a taxi. At first Mr Bruce Sharples thought they were tourists, but became suspicious when he heard about the abandoned boat, and noticed his customers were wet.
Nor The Last Time
On Monday, April 4th 1999, the front page of The Courier-Mail reported that 53 illegal immigrants had been rounded up from the rusty Chinese hulk that had landed on Scotts Head beach near Coffs Harbour on Saturday 2nd April 1999. In this case a farmer notified the authorities when three wet and frightened men, without baggage, came to her door and employed poor English to indicate they wanted to use the telephone. Mrs Ettelson allowed them to use one phone while she used another to alert the police.
Public Reaction To Invaders
It must be noted that the public reaction (circa 2000) to the appearance of these boat people was not anxiety that our defences were failing, but anxiety about the welfare of our invaders. And a great deal of expense and effort was placed into separating the intruders into two groups; those who deserved our pity and those who did not, that is, identifying them as genuine refugees or not. The genuine were allowed to invade, only the ungenuine were thwarted and sent home, at our expense. Military efficiency was only a concern should one of these invasion boats sink without being detected, and so allow the awful prospect of our intending invaders drowning.
Aspirations Exceed Ability
The intentions of the defence department are not without merit but far exceed their abilities, giving it the appearance of a gullible confidence trickster's victim. The Jindalee Over The Horizon radar and the Collins submarine were both good ideas but that is all they were. Australia has taken the absurd step of making its defence dependent upon the promise of their development, which has failed to deliver, despite spending huge amounts of money.
Failing To Address A Threat
Iranian fanaticism, which pronounced the sentence of death on Salam Rushdie, is a threat to the freedom of all peoples, and should have been met with resolute action. But most politicians, including all Australian politicians, have condoned this tyranny by their inaction. They would rather let an innocent man be murdered than confront Iran and its sympathisers.
React Without Reason
In 1995 Australia forces were sent to Rwanda without clear purpose, then withdrawn as public whim drifted to another subject.
Deliberately Undermine Morale
Women have been allowed to join all military units, which insensibly destroys the unit's morale, while increasing the tensions and difficulties that must arise during their deployment.
Officially Disarm Citizens
In 1998, the Howard liberal federal government, in collusion with all the state governments, made the possession of firearms by citizens, except in special circumstances, illegal. And it supported this emasculation of the community by destroying the large amounts of weapons handed in by a public threatened with huge fines and gaol sentences.
More odious and oppressive to its subjects
Economic self-destruction is being imposed by our communal reaction to the problem of unemployment. Regardless of the cause of the problem, the solution must be to repair the stagnation caused by the widespread loss of incomes. Despite the guide of reason and painful experience suffered during the last great depression, governments insist upon doing their best to make things worse. Official reaction to a general shortage of money is to make less money available. Prime ministers Hawke, Keating, and now Howard (1999) pursue a policy of reducing further the sources of income by cutting the number of public servants, increasing taxes (the G.S.T.), and making government pensions more difficult to obtain, so deliberately impoverishing their subjects.
Massive Failure Of Services
In 1998 Gas, Water and Electricity services suffered massive failures:
In Longford, Victoria: on the 25th September 1998, a small explosion halted gas supplies to the entire state for some weeks. Two men were killed in this accident which Esso immediately blamed upon the people at the site, but this was contradicted by an official inquest which placed the onus on the firm's shortsighted policies. To minimise costs all the engineers had been removed from this critical and dangerous site, leaving it in the hands of poorly trained staff without an adequate command structure; an invitation for catastrophe.
In Sydney: the water supply to the whole city was regularly declared unfit to drink without first boiling; posing a problem that has proved beyond the ability of the water board to explain or permanently resolve. There was nothing unknown about the required quality of the water, nor the size of the population it had to supply, nor the maintenance requirements of the existing facility. Yet, despite any unforeseen event, the water supply became polluted.
In Queensland the electricity supply proved unable to generate enough power for all, so people had to take their turn in losing electricity for a few hours, at the discretion of the governing authority. Blame was laid upon the simultaneous failure of different machines at critical times, which must raise doubt about contingency planning and maintenance. Any mechanical failure in a critical system suggests inadequate maintenance. Multiple, concurrent failures change suspicion to certainty.
From Achievement To Profit
The circumstances surrounding these failures generated public discussion, which suggested the source of the problems was the change in the nature of the management; accountants replaced engineers with an inevitable degradation in facility. Such a change represents a change of policy, from what engineers are concerned with — achievement— to what accountants are concerned with — profit.
From Competence To Incompetence
Pursuit of achievement is self-sacrifice in the pursuit of increased competence, with success obtaining increased power, hence increased wealth, for all. Whereas the pursuit of profit is the pursuit of self-indulgence, which is the dissipation of community wealth. Hence success must make the community less powerful, and therefore poorer. So by replacing the pursuit of achievement with the pursuit of profit, the community is replacing competence with incompetence.
Official Priorities Revealed By Absolute Power Of Tax Department
Despite the bureaucratic facade of concern for public welfare, the priorities of the government are revealed by the investment of power and importance upon particular institutions. Reflecting official concerns the department of Tax is the most powerful department in the public service, it is omnipotent.
Al Capone, the notorious bootlegger empowered by the prohibition in the USA seemed above the law. He could resist all the efforts of the institutions charged with controlling the gangster, except the American Taxation department. A graphic demonstration of where the real power lies in contemporary western democracies.
The presumption of innocence that protects citizens in law is reversed by the taxation department. Unless the unfortunate can prove claims of exemption, they must pay. So if they really were exempt, but mislaid supporting documentation, they become liable. To force payment the department can even invent rules then apply them retrospectively, thereby gaining monies but contradicting sanity. How can any citizen be law abiding if their current actions are to be judged on some future criteria as yet undeclared?
Nature Of Tax Department
The operation of this institution is similar to a protection racket. No direct service is supplied, but if the demanded payment is withheld severe penalties are imposed. This divorce of responsibility from authority makes the office almost impervious to public control, and a perfect instrument to bleed the community.
Insidious taxation practices permeate the whole community so payments are unavoidable and automatically increased. Inflation automatically raises the tax on wage-earners by continually promoting their tax bracket. Thus as the purchasing power of the dollar declines, the unfortunate employee has to give an increasing percentage to the state.
Levies are so arranged that the business of living surreptitiously milks citizens of their money. Credit and debit charges are imposed upon all banking transactions without fanfare or public discussion. Sales tax makes purchasing virtually anything an involuntary contribution to official funds. Buying petrol is akin to handing most of the price to the bureaucracy. The income generated by these insidious methods provides a tap upon citizens' income, free from public control, which can easily be adjusted to meet officialdom's thirst.
Taxation Extended By Technology
New technology has allowed government to extend their powers of taxation beyond traditional methods, and free from usual restraints. By utilising the implacable efficiency of machines, the usual detection rate of minor crimes can be raised to almost certainty. Robot cameras now report every speeding motorist, or red light runner, at particular locations. This unprecedented ability was not envisaged in the framing of the laws, but has been seized upon by our guardians.
In Sydney the initial volume of detected lawbreakers, discovered by radar cameras in the 1990s, was so great it embarrassed the authorities, most citizens seemed to be ignoring posted speed limits. The lack of accidents and time saved by the faster vehicles were a significant argument for increasing the maximum traffic velocity, but this was virtually ignored by the authorities. Though some locations gained an increased limit, the general response of the administration was merely to leave the limit untouched but set the device to trigger at a speed high enough to only detect an acceptable percentage of drivers. This charitable action was undoubtedly inspired by the resistance that mass fining would generate. The motive of the authorities is clearly not to enforce the law, but extract a satisfactory stream of revenue with the least fuss.
Perversion Of Law
The Highway Code was framed to allow traffic to flow, it was never thought that the various rules could be enforced with unfailing blanket accuracy. The ramifications of this new development are far-reaching and require public consideration. Red light cameras provide most money from poorly designed intersections, so is it right to fine the motorists, or the highway designers? Is it an improvement to force drivers to constantly scan the speedometer instead of the road? Officialdom shows no interest in raising such questions for debate, only in profiting from the unexpected opportunity.
Official Methods Like Robbery
It is difficult to discern a difference between highway-men and traffic police; their effect is so similar. Travellers find themselves suddenly bailed up and compelled to pay monies on demand. At least the previous version was recognised as stealing. The current thieves are legitimised by government as being for our own protection, like the radar cameras.
Taxing Drivers Who Drink
One of the highlights of civilized life is to relax over a few drinks with friends. Indulging in such a pastime has now become fraught with risk. The previous accident free record of many who have indulged in this practice for years is ignored. 'For our own good' has become the rationalisation for this new form of taxation, which collects monies by converting normal citizens into criminals. Just to improve their source of revenue our bureaucracies have seriously diminished Public freedom and leisure. Actions justified by appealing to public paranoia. This is not the action of an ally, but an enemy.
Tax On Relaxing
The tax on tobacco and alcohol are increased with monotonous regularity. Feigning a concern for our health, these sources of human delight are slowly being strangled to increase monies supplied to our administrators.
Disregard For Corporate Duty
The true nature of our corporations is not a secret. The media might not trumpet it but it is regularly demonstrated to the hapless community. Those unfortunates, who have to rely upon public transport, experience a system that grows continually less convenient and more expensive; while operated by staff whose open disregard for their clients matches the poor service supplied by the administration.
Persecution Of Rail Travellers
The failure of the railways to provide a valid ticket to people arriving just in time to catch the train in Sydney in 1990 is a clear example of official policy. It is not viewed as a system shortcoming, but a failure of the public. Instead of improving the method of ticket purchase, they prosecute those not prepared to follow the clumsy and slow official procedures and accept missing the train.
Blatant Tyranny Inflicted On Rail Travellers
On Monday 23rd November 1998, Station staff on CityRail platforms were banned from selling tickets, and this was enforced by the removal of ticket stock from booking offices. This action is made necessary to compel the public to use the ticket machines available on the platform. In 'The Daily Telegraph' 20th November 1998 the CityRail spokesman Ron Hall, claimed this reduction of service "will be barely noticed by commuters". Unless they have insufficient coins or the vending machines are not working, then they will not be able to catch their train without risking prosecution.
The public are the subjects not the masters of CityRail
Rail passengers are clearly the subjects not the masters of CityRail, a relationship similar to that shared by British commuters and their rail service. On 26th March, 1999 The Courier-Mail reported our overseas cousin had adopted a novel method of making up time for trains running late. Wednesday's (25th March 1999) 6.12 am. Connex service from Ramsgate, southeast of London, was ordered by managers to miss the Sturry, Chartham, Chilham and Wye commuter stations on its route to Charing Cross. And it cited Connex as claiming this was 'standard operating procedure' for trains running behind schedule.
Persecution Of Ferry Travellers
Anyone in doubt about the anti-social nature of authority did not experience the Sydney to Manly ferry service (1990). They would have discovered that though ticket booth operators got paid to work a full shift, they only opened for business for a few minutes before the next ferry left. Should this be insufficient time to allow all intending passengers to buy a ticket and board, then it was unfortunate — for the public.
Deliberate Hindering Of Ferry Travellers
Passenger frustration was not just limited to boarding. The painstakingly slow procedures followed before allowing passengers to exit from the vessel were matched by the single narrow exit left for the crowds to escape from the terminal. As there was no need to check passengers escaping from the ferry, it would be expected that the way out would be large and unencumbered, but this was rarely the case. The gates left open were invariably only wide enough for two or three passengers at once, and created huge queues of people waiting to leave. Opening adjacent doors that allow mass escape infuriated the ferry staff. These surly and unhelpful individuals not only displayed indifference to the torment they inflict, but resented attempts to relieve the inconvenience.
Official Rewarding Of Abuse Of Ferry Travellers
Naturally the public responded to their treatment with regular outbursts and confrontation. These displays of public hostility were addressed by paying the ferry staff an abuse allowance. This payment was undeniable evidence that the authorities placed the interests of the staff ahead of the community. The ferry service was there to amuse staff and justify their wages, not to supply a convenient and efficient transport system.
Failure To Keep Traffic Flowing
Reacting to the failure of the transport department to solve traffic congestion, motorists have discovered other routes through back streets. To thwart this display of initiative the authorities have replied with initiatives of their own. On these shortcuts speed bumps have been erected, speed limits drastically lowered and one-way systems installed. Naturally the expenditure of all this money has further slowed traffic. The aim of the transport department can only be to frustrate motorists.
Blatant Contempt For Drivers
In 1997 the Queensland Department Of Motor Transport announced a significant improvement in the service supplied to their charges; from January 1998 Registration stickers would no longer be available over the counter. Vehicle owners would be compelled to use the mail service to obtain their necessary sticker, which meant that an immediate counter transaction was replaced by a transaction of uncertain duration and dubious reliability. Anyone questioning the notion that this was an improvement was ignored by the department.
Failure To Keep The Peace
Car and house alarms have sprung up everywhere like weeds. The futility of these noxious devices has gained them corporate blessing. Klaxons can disturb the peace anytime without penalty, which means we have lost our guarantee of peace. Anytime during the day or night the silence can be disrupted by machines designed to compel attention by their noise. On one occasion a Land Rover car parked on the sea front at Manly, Sydney, 1990, disturbed the peace of the whole Corso for over a day, with impunity. This tends to induce a desire to smash the vehicle just to get some peace. The idea of thieves driving it away seemed only too delightful. In my present suburb (1998) such breaches of the peace occur every few weeks, varying from a few minutes to a few hours. And there is no official agency that has the ability to silence the noise but any unofficial attempt to halt the infernal din will be resisted by the full vigour of the law.
Failure Of Statutes
Regularly having sleep disturbed in the early hours, even it is just for three minutes at a time, is too high a price to prevent theft of either cars or household items. Knowing that they are mainly false alarms brings only a desire to lynch the manufacturers along with the owners who installed these devices. There is nothing about these infernal machines that could not have been easily foreseen. There is no excuse for officialdom permitting their use. We are subject to a sea of petty trivial restrictions, but when there is a glaring need for legal restriction our bureaucracy fails.
Failure Of Police
Calling the police may eventually end the din, but the officers of the law make a point of not silencing the noise without the direction of the owner. So when a householder switches on the alarm then goes on holiday, the neighbourhood may be tormented by an appalling noise for some time. And this impotence is not limited to alarms, but extends to deliberate noise like loud music. If a household decides to inflict their choice of music upon everyone in the vicinity, the police are reluctant to respond to complaints, or take action when they arrive.
Failure Of Local Councils
The owner of Boomer's gym in Manly, circa 1990, felt that business justified expansion, and applied to the local authority for permission. It took over three years before the council would accede to this request, which was far too late. Small business demands fast decisions; opportunities only exist for a short time. Naturally the officials who stalled the business took no responsibility for their inexcusable delay. This example is not unique or unusual but symptomatic of the effect of Councils throughout the nation. In return for paying ever increasing rates, people are delayed and deterred by red-tape and incompetence.
Failure Of Land Title Office
The charlatans who sold the Emperor invisible clothes in Grimm's fairy tales are alive and well in Queensland. Since May 1994, residents of the sunshine state have had a land titling system without title. If owners cannot see the title, they obviously do not understand the law, the titling system or computers — or so the Titling Office claim.
Invisible Land Title
Anyone purchasing property in Queensland will not receive anything for their money but the unwritten assurance of the state government department that they are the new registered owners. Should this prove insufficient, the anxious buyer can opt to purchase a certificate with their claim written upon it. This bit of paper is not a title, is not required to be handed over when the property is sold, is not legal proof of ownership, and is irrelevant.
Land Ownership Exposed To Fraud
Proud owners are now only so at the discretion of the bureaucracy. Should government records be fraudulently or incorrectly altered, then who could prove it? Certainly not the erstwhile owner. This is a huge improvement, so the faceless men of government inform us. If anyone disagrees, they are obviously too stupid to recognise a perfect system when they see it, much like those unable to see the Emperor's new clothes in the fairy tale.
Ignore Real Duty In Favour Of Imaginary Duties
As if this lunacy was insufficient the Queensland minister of Lands is responsible for changing inappropriate place names. In a bill passed by the state cabinet on 13th December 1993 such landmarks as Cannibal Creek, Black Fellows Knob, and Chinaman's Gully will be renamed. It should be interesting to read the criteria for deciding what is and what is not appropriate. This action can only increase confusion and uncertainty.
Failure Of the Department Of Social Security
In the name of efficiency departments dedicated to answering telephone enquiries were introduced by the D.S.S., so instead of ringing the number of your local office, an Australia wide number was dialled. This meant an immediate deterioration in the quality of the advice proffered because the transaction was dehumanised by anonymity and distance. The consultant discovered by the national number would not only often be thousands of kilometres from the client but would invariably be different each time a query was dialled. This destroyed the benefits of local knowledge, allowing clients to be directed to 'pop into' an office some hundreds of kilometres distant from their home. And reduced accountability by lowering the chances of a staff member being held responsible for bad advice. But this was trivial compared to the system's performance under pressure. Every time a change was made to department guidelines (not an uncommon event) the amount of calls increased beyond the ability of the system to cope. This meant that most clients could not get an answer by telephone but received an engaged tone, with the few who got through being placed on queues that took up to an hour to obtain an operator. Though patience was often rewarded by either accidental disconnection or advice that the wrong queue had been joined and the caller had to start again; which effectively meant that the system no longer worked, and enquiries could not be answered.
Pretence By Social Security Minister
Nevertheless, on 9th November 1998, the minister for Community Services announced a 20% reduction in staffing levels in Centrelink, which he claimed would result in an improved service. In response to a public question about the failure of the Teleservice telephone enquiry system, Warren Truss blandly declared a fall back system had been provided for busy times. Investigation by this author revealed this blanket answer meant the previous system would be recalled in emergencies, an action contradicting the government excuse for culling staff numbers in local offices. Positions had been declared redundant and unnecessary because previous government ministers had declared there was no longer any need for local offices to answer enquiries by telephone.
Failure To Control Incompetence
During residence in Townsville's Hermit Park (1990's) I discovered mail for others was being delivered to my home. There was no mistake about the addresses on these wayward deliveries, they definitely indicated other streets, and other street numbers, so the postman was making mistakes. Such incompetence was regularly displayed, but complaints to the postal service were met with shrugs, the officer in question could only be counselled, not sacked. And of course the mail kept going astray.
Failure Of Sanity
The executives running our community will not dismiss a government employee for incompetence, this warrants only counselling. However, should an officer leer at another employee while working at the Brisbane City council, that officer will be fired; an absurdity announced in the Brisbane Courier Mail 21/10/94. That is, if an officer casts a sly, contemptuous or amorous look they will be sacked, but if they create confusion and expense through incompetence they will be retained. Tangible evidence of failure of duty is nothing compared to someone claiming an inappropriate expression appeared for a moment upon a face.
Reversal Of The Role Of Doctors
The change from help to hindrance can easily be seen in the medical profession. Once doctors were seen as advisers to the sick, now they have become dictators to the healthy. Smokers run the risk of being denied treatment by opinionated quacks whose attitude is a clear breach of the Hippocratic Oath. Organisations of these know-alls presume their profession has the right to demand that government compel people to behave in a particular fashion. Doctors now feel authorised to decide how people should lead their lives. They are no longer helpful advisers but tyrants.
Doctors To Dob In Unfit Motorists
Confirming the modern role of doctors as bullies, The Sunday Mail 4th April 1999, announced new laws that allow medicos to report their patients to authorities. Currently patients can sue doctors for breaching patient confidentiality, but this will all be changed when revised driver licensing laws are drafted in December 1999; which is part of national legislation approved by all state and territory transport ministers in 1997. The National Road Transport Commission project manager, Geoff Hushes, said the law would keep the onus on the drivers to report their own medical condition, but makes no mention of the implications for doctors who failed to report a patient's condition which later resulted in an accident.
Growing Flood Of Laws Out Of Control
By April 9th, 1999, the volume of rules and regulations has passed the stage where citizens can be expected to be familiar enough with the laws to be able to avoid breaking them through ignorance. While accepting the imposition of these expanding statutes means accepting the values of hysterical and irrational citizens. The worship of children has extended the slowing of traffic flow from outside schools (during particular hours and days), to a general slowing throughout the suburbs. On March 1st 1999 the people of South East Queensland were told of the introduction of a 50-kilometre-an-hour limit on all streets in the built up area unless they were posted otherwise. Which means a drastic change in the way speed limits are interpreted, for it is no longer safe to adhere to the last signed speed limit. This means no one is quite sure what limits apply.
Impossible To Adhere To The Letter Of The Law
Close to my residence is a flood plain that quickly turns to marsh following rain. The area consists of tidal lakes, surrounded by scrub, and crossed by a few concrete pathways. It is ideal for, and was used to, exercise dogs. Indeed, a council sign at the approaches indicated that dogs were permitted off the leash in the area. In February 1999, the signs were suddenly changed to demand that dogs be kept on the leash, and any canine droppings to be collected, or risk a $1440 fine. After some months, following complaints by dog owners, a new sign appeared within the area marking out a smaller area where dogs could be allowed off the leash, but still maintaining the demand to clean up after the animals relieved themselves. To abide by such rules makes the task of dog exercise onerous and demeaning. A dog can swiftly make a deposit and the terrain allows numerous opportunities for the dog to disappear, albeit for a short time. So the only way to comply with the rule is to not allow the animal off the leash. And every walk means handling dog manure. As dogs need to run, which means releasing them from their leash, strict adherence to the rules makes the area useless for dog exercise, even though this is the way the community employs the area. Naturally no one adheres strictly to the rules. Most dog owners ignore the signs, though some, mainly the females, do clean up the deposits they observe.
Inevitable Impact Of The Multiplication Of Legislation
This flood of legislation is demanded by citizens who see every fear and fancy as a reason to enact a law, and they are aided and abetted by an administration whose nature welcomes every new rule as an extension of their power as well as another source of income. No one is concerned about the inevitable impact of such actions — the extinction of freedom. We are discarding
And deliberately embracing a joyless life, lived in delusion.
Bureaucracy A Cancer
Cancer is a disease where a previous useful entity goes out of control and becomes a liability. The growth of the malignancy will transform any useful organ into a choking tumour that eventually kills its host. By compelling charlatans to assume authority, our bureaucracy has become cancerous and is strangling the community.