Monday, December 17, 2012


By Garry Mallard, for the Rimfire Review

During the National Tenant Support Network’s 17 years of operation, I have successfully resisted the urge to use its reach to express personal outrage. That is about to change….oh, how it is about to change!
Upon returning from a brief trip to Sydney last Friday, I found in my letterbox, the Housing NSW Christmas greeting for 2012, attached for your information. It takes the form of an A4 sheet of paper bearing the Family & Community Services – Housing NSW logo, beneath which there appears a short message in blue, red and green; the traditional colours of Christmas.

“It will soon be Christmas”, the letter begins in 16 point blue text. Looking good so far the letter continues, “We would like to remind all tenants that rent and water are still to be paid on time”, it continues, as though any tenant is not aware of this fact.

Then we jump to all-caps and 24 point bold red text, “PLEASE REMEMBER RENT DOESN’T STOP FOR CHRISTMAS”, the letter repeats for emphasis.
Housing NSW reverts to 16 point text to deliver its next threat in blue, “We are also working with the NSW Police to ensure that our communities have a safe and peaceful festive season. Please consider your neighbours”.
Moving right along, and in green now, I was greeted with the following, “Thankyou for your co-operation and we wish you a happy and safe festive season.”
As if I weren’t sufficiently incensed at receiving a patriarchal, stereotyping, demoralising and completely unnecessary warning right on Christmas, I discovered that some Einstein thought the warning should be printed on the reverse side of a ‘fact sheet’ bearing the logo and title of the NSW Police Far South Coast Local Area Command.
This little gem advises, amongst other things, that Housing NSW has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Police, which allows it to share all sorts of information with them. It further advises that the Police will be around for a visit during the holidays; the aim of the visit being to remind me of my responsibilities as a tenant, on behalf of Housing NSW, in particular, to advise me against activity which can constitute a criminal offence.
Well, for my money it’s a bloody shame the coppers will not be around Ashfield-way to remind Housing NSW big-shots about behaviour that constitutes a moral and ethical offence.
If I needed a reminder at Christmas, that Housing NSW views its tenants as a job-lot of naughty children that need a stern talking to by a policeman from time-to-time to keep them in line, then I’ve had it!
The 2012 Christmas message from Housing NSW constitutes a fail of epic proportions, which only serves to reinforce stereotypes that HNSW claims elsewhere to abhor. I am deeply offended by it; as is my partner, who found the note on our kitchen dresser and thought it so outrageous that it must be a gag from one of our many friends within Housing NSW, and I can see why. The letter ticks so many boxes in the “How to completely overlook the spirit of Christmas” manual that it’s hard to imagine how it could have been more offensive short of signing it “Stuff you, from Housing NSW”.
I have many concerns about the 2012 Christmas greeting from Housing NSW, but there is one error that I would like to address above all others. Despite your clearly deluded and overtly patriarchal belief to the contrary, you do not own the communities in which public housing tenants live. Communities are made up of people, not houses. You do not own the people, nor do you live in the houses, the configuration and condition of which, combined with short-sighted and socially irresponsible government policy, contributes so much to the antisocial behaviour your MoU with police was developed to address.
In closing, a Christmas greeting from me to you:
It will soon be holiday season. Tenants would like to remind Housing NSW and its Minister/s that maintenance and responsible social policy is expected on time.
To the many responsible, courteous and helpful people within Housing NSW and Government, who will be every-bit as outraged by Housing NSW’s latest social faux pas, we wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy, safe and prosperous 2013.
Garry Mallard
Bega Valley, NSW


  1. Well, when we houso scum are all sitting politely, with our hands neatly folded on our laps, not uttering a noisy word or chewing too loudly, nor enjoying Xmas in any way whatsoever, it will be so quiet that all the ugly parties and bad taste in music, litter and crime, and other such s..., will have to be attributed to everyone outside of housing tenancies. Have a good one,friends are the best sort of present one can have!!!

  2. We totally agree & empathize with Gary Mallard's Blog & being regarded as naughty irresponsible children & told to behave or else .
    It's not acceptable,'' to Us, the majority of law abiding tenants who are thankful to have A roof over our heads & respect & look after our homes
    We recently had A similar issue from A letter we received saying that we had not let the fire alarm man into our premisses to check it
    For nearly 12 months we had arranged for this to be don The Alarm man never ever came on the date we had arranged except for one day 6 months ago he came fixed A sticker on of that date (in June) Then told us they would come back in 6 months time for the next check up
    So we told the dpt housing many times & after many more letters to us .That it had been done .
    But we then were told in that last recent letter.
    THAT WE WERE BREAKING THE AGREEMENT OF OUR TENANCY For not letting the Alarm person into our home & that our tenancy would be suspended if he was not admitted into the premisses within 2 weeks
    So with much fear And trepidation we sat on the phone to all & sundry begging for the Alarm man to come
    & when He "
    DID FINALLY show up!! He saw the sticker with the date on it & said. Oh I remember coming here & he will see us in 6 months time for the next one,& cheerio .
    So will we be subject to all of this again next year ?? Honestly the mind Boggles. & Who are THE FOOLS here I ASK Regards lyn An Inner city tenant of long standing

  3. As tedious as it makes our lives, we have to put everything in writing, a letter of request that it get done, to Housing, a stamped copy back to you from Housing, all this..... when they put the blame on you, there is satisfaction in presenting the evidence that YOU aren't the idiot in the story, plus the fact that legally you are doing the right thing all along. I keep my file in a place where I don't have to look at it - I agree that we are already compromised and actually grateful to have somewhere to live.

  4. Your righteous indignation is admirable. I however, am glad the police are out there! Even in seniors housing, which, after all just means scumbags just get older, they sabotage each others happiness, cadge and use one another, gossip is off the richter scale, NEVER stick up for one another or back each other for the betterment of the whole. Like it or not, A LOT OF PEOPLE NEED TO BE POLICED!!! HURRAH FOR THE POLICE!!!

  5. Glad the police are out there?
    Then you've been one of the lucky ones not falsely arrested on bogus charges to aid and abet police criminal trading then haven't you. Lucky you.


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