Minister Hockey's letter, translated into English again...

2006 - 07 Budget Better Service Better Compliance

All Staff,

There is no God but the Market, and the Prime Minister is its Prophet. The Treasurer, he who sits at the right hand of the the Prime Minister, has spoken. Behold, he has given us funds to do many things. Blessed be the name of the Treasurer, and may his light shine upon us until the end of days, for without the mercy of the Treasurer we would be as naught. It is the decree of the Treasurer that we concentrate our efforts on four goals: ensuring the creation of proper families; ensuring the right people receive proper health care; ensuring that the wrong people are not given any money by the government; and ensuring that the indigenous population of Australia are aware of where they stand.

Our department will be involved in many measures, and we will receive much funding to do so. We will be undertaking thirteen measures on our own, as an effort to ensure that the right people are getting better service, and the wrong people are working on better compliance. Human Services agencies will also be working on another sixty measures for other departments. You are not permitted to fail in any of this.

The most important thing is that we have taken our plans for marking and labelling the Australian population (or at least all of the poor people in it) from being background noise and brought them firmly to the foreground. While the current climate rules out ear tags and branding (much to the disappointment of the Nationals) we are going to forge ahead to ensure anyone who receives money from the government is given a card with all of their information upon it. We are selling this to the public as a way of reducing red tape and simplifying their access to their benefits (I shall take this opportunity to thank you for complying with my earlier objective of increasing your demands for their identification at every opportunity) as well as saying that it will reduce terrorism, make the whites whiter and the colours brighter, clean as it beats as it sweeps, and create a general utopia. This is going to be political suicide, but I'm not worried, since I forsee myself being moved out of this position at the next cabinet reshuffle. We will be issuing the first ear tag ID card in two years, and gradually tagging the rest of the population over the next two years. You will be told what we think you should know. I should point out that it doesn't matter how much you bitch and whine, as nobody is listening to you except ASIO. ASIO, however, are listening very carefully, and rest assured they do know where you live.

We are working to improve the quality of service we provide to the Right People. This means we are going to throw more money at the Call Centres, to prevent people having sufficient time on hold to compose their nasty letters to the newspapers. We are also encouraging people to use our automated services online, as this reduces the possibility that they will actually show up in our nice clean offices, making the place look untidy. The fact that online services require less staff is completely beside the point.

We are also to work to ensure that the wrong people (ie the poor, messy ones) do not receive more than the absolute minimum amount of money. It must be reiterated: unless one is a member of the deserving Middle Classes, one is not entitled to any assistance from the taxpayer. To this end, we will be working to ensure that all agencies exchange information about their client bases, to make absolutely certain that nobody is trying to cheat the taxpayers. This will ensure that the undeserving poor are not benefitting at the expense of the deserving middle classes.

I was going to include a link to some more information about these measures, but I can't be bothered. After all, you'd only whinge about them. You will receive your instructions soon, as well as the government message. As always, it is incumbent upon you to remain on-message - there must be uniformity from the government on this matter.

As a sop, you won't have to buy as much stationery from your own purses, because we're going to pay for all the pens and paperclips. We're not going to replace the computers, though.

I shall conclude by thanking all my peons staff for all their hard work. I look forward to working with you to ensure all Liberal deserving voters have access to the services that they need.

The Hon. Joe Hockey MP
Minister for Human Services
9 May 2006.

[trans. Meg Thornton]