, 19 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
Tweeps are frustrated, and journos are fighting back with accusations of hyper-partisanship and trolling, and it's all getting rather nasty whilst completely failing to understand what is at stake. So here is my take on why I, personally, am so deeply frustrated with our media.
I was an Australian Public Servant from 2002 until my forced resignation last year. As ex-APS I will give no details of that, except to say that the consequences for those who expose truth are real and they are serious.
The APS is a huge beast, and dominates the lives of more than a few here in Canberra. If you're not in the APS, you're married to someone who is, or the neighbours are. You can begin to relate pretty much any experience from the APS - the bonkers hand-written scrawl...
From the minister's office that in the space of 30s becomes your new life's work... or the employee bullied and hounded through the courts...or the lack of staffing... or the servers held together with bandaids... and you'll get immediate nods of shared experience and fellow...
Feeling. As these experiences approach APS Code of Conduct territory, something requiring, say, a disclosure under the pubic interest disclosure act (PID), the shared knowledge remains, but the silence grows. Everyone knows of instances where staff were asked to skate a little...
Too close to the edge. It's a fine line. A blurry one too. But everyone knows you either suck it up, or get a transfer. (Unless you're a complete idiot like me). PIDs, despite the name, are dealt with in-house with assistance from the cwealth ombudsman.
The "public" bit is a little misleading, because the point is, I suppose, to deal with these matters *before* they become matters of public interest. But MY point is that only people inside the APS - those same people that have signed away their right to speak - know what goes on
Watergate is the tip of the iceberg. It was big enough, and serious enough to break out of the APS closed shop. I don't know how Ronni Salt got onto the story, but without her nous, intelligence and persistence, it would be swept under the rug with so much else.
For someone like me - a slightly damaged ex-public servant - it is hugely encouraging and heartening that an example of internal government workings has been exposed. The way dept staff are ridden roughshod over, then expected to defend those doing the riding.
As an aside, to all the journos complaining it's really complicated - it IS really complicated. Government is really complicated. The processes, the policies, the admin, the maths, the grappling with technological change on the horizon - really, really complicated.
That very complicatedness gives rise to an environment where ideas are in freefall - just as you pin them to paper, the MO calls and they're of again. Charting a pathway forward can be next to impossible.
The messiness and complexity gives lots of nice little nooks and crannies, where ideas can hide. Or be buried. So when people like Ronni Salt and Michael West shine a light on those dark corners - *despite* the complexity, people like me are cheering.
Watergate doesn't just represent a massive potential scandal - it represents all the pretty injustices, the smoothed-over maladministrations and misappropriations, the hurt and the lives ruined because honest servants stood up for truth.
So when we see the story kick around for a good 10 days before being picked up reluctantly by mainstream journalists, like a snotty hanky, the frustration grows. And it's growing on top of a whole pile of festering injustice, let me tell you.
Public servants - at least the rank-and-file ones - have no voice. The avenues open to us are small, constrained, investigated in-house, and carry huge personal risk which is usually realised in one way or another. Journalists - WE NEED YOU.
But we're also well aware the APS is a closed shop to you too - I've done my share of FOIs. If you knew half of what goes on. Which I must necessarily be totally vague about. So when a story is handed to you on a platter - seriously, Michael West even did all the tricky maths...
Bits for you - to see it being dismissed, to see the momentum build only to diminish, to see that they are going to get away with it AGAIN (srsly how many scandals in the last 12 months with zero consequences?) it HURTS.
You're the fourth estate - ACT LIKE IT. Our democracy NEEDS YOU.

End rant. Because some of us plebs have kids and Easter eggs too.
#watergate @MichaelWestBiz

If you've read to the end, thank you and go eat some chocolate x
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