In the 12th episode of Kenneth Clark’s epic television series Civilisation, Clark argues that the French Revolution led to the dictatorship of Napoleon and the dreary bureaucracies of the 19th century.
It would seem that in 21st century Queensland, dreary bureaucracies are alive and well. Some might even say thriving. I know this from personal experience.
Having made extensive and considered submissions to the QBCC for the issue of a direction to rectify building defects which were designed to make the exercise of QBCC’s discretion easier, I was stunned to learn that the only response QBCC had was that I had not filled in the proper form. When I pointed out that such a form might be an adequate way of dealing with a defective driveway but was in no way appropriate for extensive and complex defects in a large body corporate, it was as if I was talking to a brick wall. Knowing that resistance was futile, I obediently filled in the correct form.
The trouble was these submissions also contained a complaint against the building certifier which would hopefully lead to the QBCC applying to QCAT for disciplinary proceedings and QCAT ordering that the building defects be rectified at the cost of the building certifier.
Notwithstanding my multiple references to two complaints in previous telephone conversations with the QBCC, when I followed up on progress on this particular complaint, there was no acknowledgement of the existence of such a complaint but rather, I was informed that a different form was required for this complaint.
It then became abundantly clear that the QBCC’s ability to read is restricted to only words appearing on forms produced by the QBCC.
This extraordinary and unhealthy obsession with process brought to mind a description of the fictional alien race from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy known as Vogons, one of the most unpleasant races in the Galaxy:
“Not actually evil, but bad-tempered, bureaucratic, officious and callous. They wouldn’t even lift a finger to save their own groundmothers from the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal without orders – signed in triplicate, sent in, sent back, queried, lost, found, subjected to public enquiry, lost again, and finally buried in soft peat for three months and recycled as firelighters.”
Luckily, body corporates have administrative law remedies against QBCC when things go pear shaped.
And who you gonna call?