26 September 2023

The eyes have it!

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Another year and another Australian of the Year is found and feted but the difference this year is that the selection can be legitimately labelled a sight for sore eyes.

Yep, in the year 2020, our Australian of the Year is an eye doctor: Dr James Muecke from South Australia.

Serendipitous serendipity or just 2020 vision?

In what PS-sssst! would eagerly put forward as an exciting new word for the English language – ‘aptonume’, meaning an ‘appropriate number’ – the eye doctor’s relationship with 2020 eerily matches the earlier ‘aptonume’ that settled on the City of Sydney in 2000 when it hosted the 2000 Olympic games, given that 2000 was its postcode.

As PS-sssst’s way of kicking off another year it has broken open the PS News Barrel of Booty to release fabulous book prizes and other goodies for readers who can share an ‘aptonume’ or two by suggesting other ‘appropriate numbers’ worth passing on to PS-ssssters all around the country.

Just send your thoughts and ideas to [email protected] and we’ll do the rest.

Giving up!

And while the subject of ‘something for nothing’ is still hot, PS News’s enterprisingly energetic Queen of Giveaway, Rama Gaind has unravelled the ravellous ravels of her seasonal holiday to hit the giveaway ground running this week with the launch of ‘Competitions 2020’ as a first step in the new decade ahead.

And this year Rama promises bigger, brighter and better competitions than before, offering committed contestants not one, but TWO weeks to lodge their entries in her famed giveaways.

So to get the ball rolling, simply visit Rama’s gratuitous giveaway at this PS News link and try your hand at Competition 2020, new year style.

Good luck, as always, to all who do.

Sporting Grants

With the fuss about Ministers tweaking grants to national sports clubs in the news recently PS-sssst! can reveal that such fiddling is definitely not a new phenomenon.

Indeed, way back in the 1970s when the Australian Sports Commission first took on the task of advising the Sports Minister about who should get what, the then minister, Bob Ellicott, took it on himself to fiddle the books and swing a few thousand dollars from one sport to another.

In Ellicott’s case, the beneficiary was the old and ancient sport of Croquet and the loser was the handsomely financed Cricket.

As the modest transfer was the only change the Minister made to the ASC’s extensive schedule, a brave PS staffer from the Sport and Recreation Branch took it upon himself to ask the Minister why.

“I did it,” Minister Ellicott said “because every morning in the Canberra winter I’m driven past the croquet rink outside Parliament House where I see a group of little old ladies enjoying their croquet in all manner of weather.

“I promised myself that if I ever got the chance to do something to help for them I would.”

So he did!

Double dated?

And for those of us who missed it, last Sunday’s date caused a stir across the flitterati when someone on radio pointed out that 02/02/2020 was in fact a palindrome (i.e it could be spelt the same each way.)

So this week’s Palindrome Sunday is the first in almost 1,000 years with the most recent Palindrome Day being 11/11/1111, 909 years ago.

Looking forward 101 years, the next PD will be 12/12/2121 and the one after that 03/03/3030.

Something to look forward to!

Decision mucking

And finally, one can’t leave unchallenged the extraordinary comment from a Government leader that Ministers make better decisionmakers for the community than Public Service professionals.

Setting aside the obvious rejoinder that a Public Servant focused on the entire community of Australia or a State or a Territory will always have a clearer picture of community needs than an elected politician – Minister or not – whose focus is on a political party, the media and a single electorate, the reality is that there is no evidence of any kind to support such an unlikely and seemingly ill-fitting comment.

But let me put it to the test.

Let’s ask someone who’s been in and around the public sector for, say, 53 years and see what he (i.e. me!) would say.

I would say this: “I cannot recall one example in all my public service career in which a Minister’s personal decision proved to be better than a Public Service professional’s decision.”

“But then again my memory’s not what it used to be.”

“I think”

Till next week……

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