Public Service

Why are there so many chiefs but so few Indians in the APS?

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Did you know that your Australia Public Service (APS) at a federal level is becoming more bloated among executive management ranks?  According to the APS website, “An APS Level 6 employee would generally be required to undertake work that is complex in nature, work under limited direction with the opportunity for reasonable autonomy and accountability. Employees at this level exercise both initiative and judgment in the interpretation of policy and in the application of practices and procedures.

This first chart highlights the level of APS Level 6 (and above) positions as a percentage of total staff. It is not an exhaustive list of every single department or agency but a large cut of the main ones. CM left out the Australian Tax Office (ATO) for obvious reasons. Although a post-divorce audit wouldn’t reveal very much…we also left out the Department of Defence due to the inconsistency in the annual report data.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) is the worst offender, with over 85% of the staff classified as APS level 6 or higher. A marginal lift on a decade ago. CM already reported on the poor performance of the BoM earlier in the week.

Dept of Treasury (DoT) and the Dept of Industry, Innovation & Science (DIIS) also have three-quarters of staff in senior positions. DoT is almost 10% higher and DIIS c.5% more vs 2008-2009. We literally have to get down to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to break the 50% threshold between management and non-execs.

While there is a point to be made that some career public servants deserve to be promoted,  surely it is a fair question to ask why there are so many more chiefs than Indians in most of the departments?

Salary APS

Headcount in some departments has fallen but on the whole, the total employee cost has risen. You can see this below.

Cost Employee

Mathematically, the more junior levels would seem to be leaving these government departments as opposed to the old guard stepping down in order for APS Level 6+ percentages to keep rising.

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A point worth mentioning within these figures has been the amalgamation of certain departments such as the Dept of Human Services (DHS),  which includes the merger of Centrelink & Medicare (in 2009). This explains the large jump in staff numbers thereafter. Although the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet trebling over the last decade seems somewhat excessive.

The Dept of Home Affairs (DHA) now includes the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Multicultural affairs, ASIO, the Australian Federal Police, Australian Border Force, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and AUSTRAC so the more than doubling in size does not appear inconsistent.

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When analysing average salaries in these departments it is clear that the Dept of Foreign Affairs is the place to get paid. Average salaries are around $210,000, up from $170,000 a decade ago. Although given the low base, the Dept of Human Services has risen the most. Do note DHS has the best ratio of 25% chiefs to 75% Indians.

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Of course, inflation would explain away some of the salary increases over the last decade but it still stands to reason that the growing percentages of senior staff within the public service are continuing to put upward pressure on budgets.

In private enterprise, it would be unheard of to have these types of management to employee ratios. While some may argue that certain departments fulfil roles the private sector might struggle to do as efficiently, given the bulk of these public services have 50%+ management structures suggests there is plenty of streamlining that could be achieved. How is that the BoM has 85% of staff in management yet less than 3% performing the role of research scientists? Despite all that management experience at BoM how is it so many errors and mistakes are made? It literally doesn’t add up.

Don’t go changing to try and displease me XR loved you just the way you were

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Extinction Rebellion (XR) posted this statement overnight as they protested outside BBC Broadcasting House:

After an on-site People’s Assembly, we have requested a BBC official to come down and speak to the people about declaring a Climate and Ecological emergency at the BBC.

The Police are helping organise for the official to come down, in order to move rebels from the building.

We are waiting…

We, the people, have decided to do the media’s job and Tell the Truth from the BBC Broadcasting House about where we’re headed if we don’t change course NOW: Social Collapse and the deaths of billions worldwide.

BBC: we hold you accountable for your criminal and corrupt complacency for totally marginalising the seriousness of the #PlanetaryEmergency. [note the language has shifted from #ClimateEmergency]

We hold you accountable for kidnapping our democracy as you do not inform the public. You prefer to keep us in the dark whilst the elite prepare for what is to come. #SystemChange

BBC: tell it how it is so that we can mitigate, avoid the worst and save billions of human lives and other living things.

BBC Your Silence Is Deadly – Why Aren’t My Children’s Futures Front Page News?

BBC: tell it how Greta and our youth are asking you to tell it.”

Wow! For once CM agrees with XR over the BBC. If only the BBC told the truth. The outstanding issue for CM is the difficulty that the climate alarmist BBC could ideologically shift further left.

Crowdfunding group ‘Stop BBC Bias’ raised c.£57,000 needed to seek a judicial review into the way the BBC meets its statutory obligation, i.e. to be impartial.

How ironic that the BBC admitted in September 2018 that, “we get climate change coverage wrong too often.”

Climate scientist Prof Ed Hawkins of the University of Reading, said: “This set of BBC guidelines is long overdue. There have been too many occasions when the BBC’s audience has been misled over the realities of climate change…The ‘editorial policy’ could be more explicit about what would constitute false balance in its coverage. In the past, too many inaccurate statements made about climate science have not been effectively challenged by the interviewer.

Seems like XR want the BBC to go back to misleading the audience more than it already does.

Once again XR is a gift that keeps giving. Every time the group opens its mouth, the lack of understanding of reality is self-evident.

Dear Mr Speaker

How is it that Speaker of the UK House of Commons, John Bercow, was seen in Brussels negotiating with the new European Parliament President David Sassoli to prevent a no deal Brexit? Isn’t the speaker’s job to be impartial? Isn’t he supposed to be strictly non-partisan and give up any current or future affiliation to any political party? Isn’t he only supposed to cast a tie break vote and even then, one which follows Speaker Denison rules which advocate pushing it for further debate?

It is no surprise where Bercow’s bias lies. Maybe his wife didn’t affix a ‘Remain’ sticker on the family car afterall…?

It smells like Kavanaugh 2.0

Can the Democrats really be so careless? It turns out that the CIA whistleblowera self-disclosed Democrat, who came forward over the Ukrainian affair has professional links to one of the 2020 Democratic nominee’s campaign.

The Inspector General (IG) Michael Atkinson stated this was the case, according to Washington Examiner journalist, Byron York.

Is this why House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff won’t release the transcript of former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker’s 10-hr testimony, which would possibly disprove allegations of a quid pro quo between President Trump and Ukraine’s government?

It is embarrassing enough that Schiff risks being a witness to an impeachment hearing he is chairing.

Major climate scientific paper is withdrawn

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CM is shocked! Really? A major scientific paper, which claimed to have found rapid warming in the oceans as a result of manmade global warming, has been withdrawn after an amateur climate scientist found major errors in its statistical methodology. Who’d a thunk?

The authors sheepishly said,

Shortly after publication, arising from comments from Nicholas Lewis, we realized that our reported uncertainties were underestimated owing to our treatment of certain systematic errors as random errors. In addition, we became aware of several smaller issues in our analysis of uncertainty. Although correcting these issues did not substantially change the central estimate of ocean warming, it led to a roughly fourfold increase in uncertainties, significantly weakening implications for an upward revision of ocean warming and climate sensitivity. Because of these weaker implications, the Nature editors asked for a Retraction, which we accept.”

Clearly, some 4-folds are smaller than others.

Nicholas Lewis said after the retraction that,

“This is just the latest example of climate scientists letting themselves down by using incorrect statistics. The climate field needs to get professional statisticians involved up front if it is going to avoid this kind of embarrassment in future”.

Dr Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Forum, said

Climatology is littered with examples of bad statistics, going back to the infamous Hockey Stick graph and beyond. Peer review is failing and it is falling to amateurs to find the errors. Scientists in the field should be embarrassed”.

The larger question from CM is, aren’t the data supposed to be the foundation against which billions of taxpayer dollars are being allocated to save the planet?

CM holds that the scientific community should be held to the same standards as bankers. When bankers commit fraud, individuals face millions and financial institutions billions in fines and jail terms. If scientists have absolutely no repercussions for making dud predictions based on manipulated or homogenised figures, is it any wonder the outcomes tend to be overwhelmingly overstate warming?

If climate scientists were offered an amnesty period of 6 months to come forward and retract bogus claims or face proper sanctions if caught for fiddling the numbers, imagine how much of the published works would be aggressively ratcheted down. Whistleblower laws in the US now incentivise the whistleblower in the millions. Surely there are many scientists in the climate change community who fear speaking out. For the scientists who claim their work is peer-reviewed and flawless, they have absolutely nothing to fear by such legal frameworks. Yet watch them howl at the moon at the mere entertainment of the prospect. That will tell us all we need to know.

Maybe a scientific/educational Royal Commission makes a lot of sense too. The horror stories would undoubtedly dwarf the banks given such loose governance.

Portland municipal building bans urinals

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Well, apparently one way to remove “arbitrary barriers in our community” is to get rid of urinals at the newy designed Portland administrative building. Not to worry, Democrats control both houses as well as the Governor in Oregon. 

Portland Chief Administration Officer, Tom Rinehart, believes this will lead to more inclusivity. Just wait for the blowback when men who identify as men start using the women’s bathrooms and leave the seat up! Talk about barriers in our community!!

Perhaps the focus should be on things that truly matter to staff. The Oregon Public Employees Retirement Scheme (PERS), of which Portland public servants are a part of manages a $76.7 billion is still suffering a $22.3 billion shortfall, according to the fund’s most recent update. In 2019 it is expected to be $26bn. The pension system’s current annual rate of return is 7.2%. It is currently hitting at 1.5%.

Several ideas on how to bolster Oregon’s pension system are floating around. One is to move members into a 401(k)-style plan but this is tricky for several reasons. First, the state’s Supreme Court dissolved previous PERS measures in 2015and ruled that existing benefits were untouchable. Another problem is that Oregon has the only public defined benefit plan in the country without an employee contribution requirement.

Naturally removing urinals will go great lengths in solving the pension problem which looks to be a busted flush.

RACGP alarmism should be driving the AMA not climate

AMA.pngThe Royal Australian College of General Practitioners logo

Now it all makes sense. The Australian Medical Association’s (AMA) latest push on climate change doesn’t appear to be about saving the planet but looking to safeguard its own survival. AMA’s main rival association, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) seems to be on the right prescription medication as far as membership growth and revenue goes. 

The AMA’s climate push seems to be a concerted effort to lock in future revenues by appealing to students. AMA ‘Associate Medical Student Members‘ have ballooned in the last two years from 8,664 to 15,311 to offset the (pardon the pun) flatline in regular members which have hovered a shade under 30,000 members since 2016. Previous AMA annual reports (AR) make no mention of hard membership numbers. The 2015 AR made reference to 30,000+ members which suggest it wasn’t 31,000+. Students, who now represent over 1/3rd of members, can join for free. Undoubtedly the strategy lies in the hope those students roll over to become fully paid members when they start to practice.

Last year, Dr Bill Coote, former Secretary-General of the AMA (1992-98) wrote in Medical Republic,

In 1962, more than 95% of doctors belonged to the AMA. By 1987 it was 50%. AHPRA reports that in 2016 there were 107,179 registered medical practitioners. The 2016 AMA annual report notes a membership of 29,425. That is 27% of doctors.

Since 2012, AMA annual membership collections have shown relatively anaemic growth from around $11m in 2012 to $12.4m in 2018 from its 29,659 full paying members. Revenues have shown similarly slow growth. Revenues (ex any asset sales) have grown from $20.29m in 2012 to $22.35m in 2018. 10% growth over 6 years.

What of the RACGP?

The RACGP has 35,385 full members and 5,493 student members. Moreover, the group collected $34.6m in membership fees in 2018, near as makes no difference three times the AMA.

Isn’t this just a classic case of customers appreciating what they pay for? Will those AMA student members work out – when forced to shell out hard dollars on membership – as they embark on their medical career that the RACGP is the go-to organisation? Any manner of conference cocktail parties will undoubtedly whisper the realities of membership benefits of both organisations. Surely the more seasoned doctors will make their preferences known. After all, students are more likely to pin their formative years to guru practitioners in the profession rather than lean on the musings of an association that provides cheaper hire car tariffs and frequent flyer club perks.

Revenues for the RACGP have more than doubled from $38.6m in 2012 to $83.1m in 2018.

Maybe Dr. Coote has found the problem when he wrote, ”

AMA members’ fees fund the Medical Journal of Australia. The MJA is uniquely positioned to promote serious commentary on the policy, regulatory and economic changes reshaping Australian medical practice, but now seems to prioritise the interests of academic doctors...The decline in AMA membership penetration from 95% to 50% to 27% of doctors is a significant historical trend.  A US management guru once suggested, organisations are at risk if they respond to a changing environment by redoubling their efforts to do things the way they have always done them…Let’s hope the AMA does not become the Kodak of Australian medical history.”

Climate change might seem to be a woke avenue to do things differently at the AMA, but surely it stands to learn a lot more by studying why the RACGP is surgically keeping it in the ICU rather than pursue fields it has no expertise in an attempt to revive itself. If the AMA board pursues such amputated strategies it is bound to find itself running out of bandages before its members realise that cauterizing membership cash flow is the only viable long term option.