Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Housing Department with no housing?

Robert Mowbray, the Older Tenants Project Officer at the Tenants Union, remembers a community work text from his social work studies in the early 1970s. It had the quirky title The Householder's Guide to Community Defence Against Bureaucratic Aggression. The author was Antony Jay, who went on to fame with his Yes, Minister series. With great sadness, the Institute of Tenancy Culture Studies notes his passing - his obituary in the SMH is worth a read.

Remember the episode called 'The Compassionate Society'? It was about a most efficient hospital. It was the one with no patients! Well, Antony Jay would not be surprised that in New South Wales we will soon have the most efficient Housing Department ... the one with no housing stock, as Housing NSW proceeds to divest itself of its stock. Stranger, indeed, than fiction.
This is one of the objectives of the Communities Plus initiative. A third of NSW public housing will be transferred to non-government organisations over four years, in tranches of about 1000 homes. This was reported here.
Antony Jay was responsible for such gems as 'A basic rule of government, minister, is never set up an inquiry unless you know in advance what its findings will be ...'.
He also developed an interest in public choice theory: 'In economics public choice theory assumes that all economic actors – businessmen, consumers, politicians and bureaucrats – are motivated primarily by individual gain. Thus, politicians pursue re-election and bureaucrats pursue budget-maximisation, while voters and interest groups chase free lunches. The trick is to know your enemy and exploit his self-interest to your own advantage'. Read more here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please keep your comments PC - that is, polite and civilised. Comments may be removed at the discretion of the blog administrator; no correspondence will be entered into. Comments that are abusive of individual persons, or are sexist, racist or otherwise offensive will be removed, so don’t bother leaving them.