Thursday, 11 August 2016

Kafka on Crown Street

My latest piece in The Australian, on the challenges of getting back in the system after 25 years away

Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy. — Franz Kafka 
I’d been back in Australia less than a day when I found myself slip-sliding in the slime with worms of a new bureaucracy. At least it was a new one for me.
While Australia was having its nanny state revolution, I was off toiling in Milton Friedman’s laissez-faire paradise of Hong Kong and later in Milton’s Paradise Lost with prawn soup, the lawless ­melange otherwise known as Bangkok.
I had assumed this usurping of the public service and the law by nannies and ninnies to have been greatly exaggerated … until, back in Sydney, I stood, quaking, under the gimlet gaze and granite face of the woman welcoming the great unwashed at the Australian Taxation Office in Martin Place.