Is that a paleo pear in your pocket or are you just glad to see my money?

Did you see that drama on TV the other night with the accountants designing a spreadsheet and working on their presentation? Nah, me neither.

There’s a reason you don’t generally see programs about that sort of thing. It’s because it’s really boring and just like real life. Dramas are about cops and robbers, spies and espionage, good versus evil and even then aren’t actually close to reality.

Which brings me to the really exciting recruitment ad produced by Together Creative for the Department of Finance. For some reason Together Creative don’t have this on their website as an example of their work but fortunately it’s on YouTube. The ad is for graduate recruitment and from looking at their website I think they have something to do with administering and spending your money. By now most of Australia has seen it and it’s been panned as one of the worst recruitment ads ever made. Lots has been written about the terrible acting and execution of the choreography. This is not surprising as they we’re actual employees and not actors and that doesn’t really interest me. Although putting your staff through that type of thing when they’re not trained for it is probably not a good idea. The term ‘paleo pear’ (whatever that is) will go down in history but I’m sure it tastes great with banana bread.

My interest lies in the ideology behind the design and approval of the ad itself.

Someone, somewhere thought this was a good idea…. yeah, let that sink in.

Someone in your government thought this travesty of ineptitude would work. Sound familiar? The ad is full of happy people who all greet each other with enthusiasm and talk in an excited manner about their work tasks, all of them, all the time. You know, just like your workplace. There’s coffee cups being passed around with nothing in them, just like government promises. I was most relieved to know that there was an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff networking meeting to get to, because that’s what every Australian stays up thinking about. We get to meet Clair, Rina, David, Eddie, Teena, Dane and Jenna and they’re fired up about a presentation. We know there’s a presentation because they mention it about 5,215 times. This makes them Game Changers apparently and gives them access to executives, which is really important stuff and everyone’s looking forward to it. Finally, we get to see Rosemary Huxtable and she’s important. We know because she comes in after everyone else, sits in an important place and has Parliament House in the background and nothing says important like Parliament House. Is she looking forward to their presentation? You bet.

Many years ago someone observed that Bob Dylan was becoming a parody of himself. This is a perfect example of government doing the same thing. An actual parody could not have done a better job of skewering the detached-from-reality mentality of government. Present a perfect workplace, perfectly happy employees, perfect workplace diversity. Below is a statement from the Department about the ad:

‘the Department of Finance said the campaign aimed to reflect “the variety of work, cultural and social experience [graduates] can expect when joining the department. Attracting and selecting a strong, highly capable and diverse graduate cohort is an important part of our workforce strategy’.

Thanks for that.

Out here, in real economy land where I live and work, no one’s interested in diversity. No one’s cares about socioeconomic status, your ethnicity or the colour of your underwear.

Can you do the job? Yep. Great, ‘cause that’s all that matters.

What I’d like to see in an ad from the Department of Finance is someone discovering that $50 million can be saved by not wasting it on unnecessary programs. That would probably be hard to do because they wouldn’t know what an unnecessary program looked like. Perhaps a meeting where they discover that the size of government can be reduced to bring it in line with real income instead of continual expansion?

Taking the next ideological step would be an even greater leap forward. Realising that government is not the solution and that government is not the answer to every problem. This would be a radical thought in the meeting rooms of Canberra.

I’m sure that those small business owners getting up at 4am to work hard and build their wealth today, will be comforted to know that the Department of Finance is busy today as well. They’re having a presentation and the presentation is game changing. It won’t reduce their tax levels and it won’t allow them to hire more people so they can get a break but the executives in the department are really looking forward to it. That man paying almost half his pay to the federal bureaucracy, will be comforted to know that there’s real diversity in the department and they’re all happy. It makes all of his own personal sacrifices so worthwhile.

The ad reflects the view of the Permanent State. The deeply entrenched bureaucracy that remains in place in all times and in all weathers. That continual, never ending revenue consuming, national overhead that grows on our backs year-in and year-out. No matter which party is in power, it grows. The difference is one of degrees, not direction. That they thought this ad would impress the public shows how out of touch the Permanent State is and how poorly our elected representatives are managing them.

Stephen Cable

2 Comments on "Is that a paleo pear in your pocket or are you just glad to see my money?"

  1. It’s only $40k (plus whatever they pay these walking stereotypes), but it’s $40k+ the commonwealth has borrowed. Surely incompetence and profligacy eventually reaches a level where it’s subject to criminal sanction?

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