Public servants spend hours on dating and shopping sites


Laptop under love heart
Image: iStock

Bureaucrats are spending time looking at dating and shopping sites on the job, @according to Sunday Herald Sun. (‘Public servants spend thousands of work hours online looking for love’, Annika Smetherst, Sunday  Herald Sun, April, 1).

Smetherst reported that the Sunday Telegraph gained access to documents confirming a list of sites visited by Department of Social Services employees during work hours over twelve months. Sites included:

  • RSVP
  • Elite Singles
  • Bureau of Meteorology
  • Twitter (Public servants can use Twitter for political debate, providing they don’t criticise other agencies or ministers, according to the Australian Public Service Commission)
  • Taste.com
  • Footy tips
  • Lite’n’easy
  • Kmart
  • Ikea
  • Movie schedules
  • Real estate
  • David Jones

Now, I admit that I have a habit of wasting time online when I should be doing other things. Sometimes, it’s good to take a break from what your work for a while. But the list above is extensive. And the hours over a twelve momth period is, quite frankly, ridiculous.
And how does this affect the running of the services? I know that Centrelink get lots of criticism about customer waiting times when trying to contact someone over the phone. Is this a possible reason? The public rightly expect that services that most of the public pay for is up to scratch. Unfortunately, the truth is, for years now, services like Centrelink, have been less than satisfactory.

This just fuels more public anger against politicians. They are tired of being treated by mugs. It’s more than enough.

Politicians and publis servants need to pick up their game. I’m not saying that public servants have no right to visit dating and shopping sites, but not at the expense of the quality of services that most of the public pay for and other rely on. The public have a right to demand a whole lot more and there needs to be accountability put back into politics and the public service. Waiting hours to talk to someone on the phone at Centrelink, (especially when it’s required for someone to maintain payments or to avoid gettimg a debt in overpayments, which can add up to the tens of thousands), is inexcusable.

But what can we do? We can wait until next year’s election, get Labor in and then… start all over agsin, I guess. The lack of an ethical compass of most politicians and, apparently public servants have, is disgusting, to be frank. But what can we do?! Maybe increased direect pressure might help. Contact MPs either by phone or email (be respectful, of course). Start social media campaigns. If you see a politician face to face, tell them of your disappointment. I’m just going off the top of my head here. Whether it’d do any good is another thing. How can you criticise someone who’s ethical compass and sense of duty is so out of whack and has been for decades now?

 

Anyone got any other suggestions on how we can spurr things on to make our public services better? What have your experienes with public service been? Let me know in the comments below.

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Sounds like plebiscite is about to take its final breath and the football of LGBTQ+ rights

Voting booth with 'no' sign through it
Images from Canva

It looks like the plebiscite on same – sex marriage is dead. Well, Liberal MPs including Warren Entsch and Tim Wilson and two others I can’t think of now, have sided with Labor and the Greens and pushing for a free vote in Parliament.
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(Video from 7 News Sydney, Facebook)

This is obviously going to create a backlash and a war in the party if indeed it does happen. I’ve got a funny feeling that there’ll be a push to kick Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull after the 2019 election at the latest. That’s my prediction.

I just hate that this has all become a political game. And that’s what it is — a sick game. I don’t trust LNP or Labor to legalise same – sex marriage without strings attached. If Liberals legalise same – sex marriage, there will almost certainly be talks — or demands — that there be conscience – based exemptions. That’s became a dangerous slippery – slope in the U.S, with mental health professionals being exempt from anti – discrimination laws under “conscience” grounds. While laws and the Constitutions of Australia and the US may differ, make no mistake, this will be a battle that LGBTQ+ people will have to fight. I don’t doubt, either that trans people will be on the hit list as well.

This, and the surge in anti – LGBTQ hate crime have been the main reasons why I supported a plebiscite when I did. For me, both the physical safety and mental well – being of LGBTQ+ Australians is paramount. Legalising same – sex marriage doesn’t automatically guarantee that.

However, I’m changing my mind on the plebiscite because I see it as a delay tactic. I don’t think the LNP sold their case well. The well – being and struggles that LGBTQ+ people may face, in my opinion, wasn’t for the most part, adequately discussed. And when a person like music pioneer, Molly Meldrum dared to join the debate about Margaret Court, he was, I think he was unfairly jumped on (read the comments).

There are exceptions. Two people who have allowed LGBTQ+ to speak or voiced their concerns on their behalf are Sam Crosby and Andrew Bolt. I have admired how Bolt, even though he’s a sceptic of same – sex marriage, has voiced some of the views of LGBTQ+ people in his own life. He’s did it on Steve Price’s show not that long ago (last week?).

But it was the confrontation between Sam Crosby and journalist Nick Cater on Sky News Australia that got the most respect from me. The fact he gave LGBTQ+ a voice, I think is commendable.

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(Video: Sam Crosby Facebook page)

Like I said, it seems that the plebiscite is about to take it’s last breath. What will happen next will be anyone’s guess. Will a conscience vote happen or will PM Malcolm Turnbull shy away from that route, again? Only time will tell. They should just do something!

To Australian readers. Were/ are you in favour of a plebiscite on same – sex marriage? Are you critical of how any of the parties has dealt with it? Feel free to leave your comments below. 

 

 

Stop treating LGBTQ+ people as political footballs!

Gay couple just married
Both Coalition and Labor are playing games with the LGBTQ+ community. Image: iStock

Coalition MP Christopher Pyne has outraged conservatives by suggesting, among other things that same – sex marriage will become legal ‘sooner than what everyone thinks’.

Cue the outrage and the hyperventilating. It won’t happen. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has come out publicly and reinstated the party’s position of a national plebiscite. So, conservatives, breathe. It’s going to be OK.

Labor voted down the plebiscite at the start of the year, as did the Greens and other senators. I’m not entirely against the plebiscite. I think it was poorly sold. In my view, it was hijacked by conservatives who wanted advertising standards watered down and there was no (serious) talk about how the process may affect members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Also, there was the issue of it being non – binding, even if the majority did vote in favour of it. Sure, you had people like Peta Credlin (who I don’t mind as a commentator) and Andrew Bolt saying that the Government would be nuts not to follow through with the promise, but still, why  didn’t politicians say that?

In regard to mental health, I have noted a number of times since I started blogging in 2013 about how studies here and overseas do suggest that LGBTQ people, especially youth, are vulnerable when it comes to mental health. While some do challenge this, I do think it should have sparked a lot more discussion than what it did. How convenient of Warren Entsch to bring up the issue… after the plebiscite was already voted down! And no one (understandably) took Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten’s threat seriously.

 

Both sides have stuffed the LGBTQ+ community around. Both of them have treated LGBTQ+ like political pawns. It needs to stop. To the government – if you want a plebiscite, fight for it. If not, scrap it (and prepare for war). For Labor, if you stand by it, then as soon as you win the 2019 election, (which is likely if you look at the polls), then legalise it. Immediately. No pussy footing, no changing minds. Just do it. Or there should be a massive revolt. The LGBTQ+ people are people and do not deserve to be taken for a ride to score political points. So, next election, if you support same – sex marriage, then  legalise it. Immediately.

 

This has become more of a mess than what it needs to be. Enough’s enough.