Parliament House, the view from the top of the flagpole. Photo: Department of Parliamentary Serv
When the music stopped last Friday, more than 3400 job losses, depending on who you believe, had been announced in the three-and-a-bit months since the Abbott government took office.
That's many more redundancies than the entire previous year when about 2600 bureaucrats trousered their golden handshakes (behave) and headed for the coast.
Those who remain are going to have to reach into their sky rockets for an extra two-and-half grand each year to park their cars in the Parliamantary Triangle – swiftly renamed the Golden Triangle by Treasury officials counting the $74 million in loot.
But the past 12 months haven't all been doom and gloom; the notorious sex-in-the-motel-room compo case was finally put out of its misery by the High Court, a Dep Sec managed to occupy not one, not two but three Canberra offices suites and somebody finally, officially told DFAT that nobody likes them.
Laugh? We nearly did.
The year didn't begin well for the much-maligned Immigration Department with news that it was poorly managed, its workers didn't trust each other and its executives were financially illiterate. But the Public Service Commission says these things with love, so it's all good.
By February things brightened a little when then Opposition Leader Tony Abbott pledged there would be no night of the long knives for the public service in the event of his winning the election. Significantly, as it turned out, he didn't rule out a long night of the short ones.
Then Opposition Leader Tony Abbott making some big claims about public service cuts.
Then things got even better the following month when The Canberra Times told everyone how much richer bureaucrats could make themselves by simply holding out for that redundancy until they're on the cusp of retirement.
"The ethics is bloody ratshit but you'd be silly to leave other than with a redundancy," PS superannuation guru Daryl Dixon said at the time, with many in the service taking careful note.
But just weeks later there was widespread dismay at a ruling by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal that public servants weren't entitled to a compo-payout just for sharing an office with a colleague they consider a loud, annoying pain in the a*rse.
The chucking-out of the Defence staffer's, ahem, "case" was just one of many "you-don't-get-a-compo-payout-for-that" moments of 2013.
Late March saw a big one with the Labor government losing patience with the half-a-billion dollars that went down the S-bend on Comcare claims the previous year and announced sweeping changes to the notorious Safety and Rehabilitation and Compensation Act.
It was bad news for a few journos as well as would-be claimants when sweeping reforms to cut down on dubious claims for psychological injuries, payouts for dodgy therapies, doctor shopping and outright fraud were announced.
To recap; those Comcare funded trips to Buddhist retreats in Alice Springs, the massage therapy with "no curative effect'', the compo pay-outs for bullying and harassment that was all in your head, the endless, few-questions-asked, tax-payer funded "prescriptions". All things of the glorious past, regrettably.
At the time of writing the reforms are still sitting on the desk of Public Service Minister Eric Abetz who has done, well let's see, nothing..
The new Public Service Minister Eric Abetz is busy doing ... something.
We have a bit of paper somewhere that says he's in charge, but that's all the evidence we've seen.
The life and soul of the party in Opposition, Abetz has grown into quite the wallflower in government.
Come and dance with us Eric, don't be bashful.
Late in the year the Environment Department jettisoned decades of tradition and actually sacked a bloke for resorting to the old get-the-boss-off-your-case-by-cooking-up-a-bullying-claim trick.
If Environment has begun a service-wide trend, this could revolutionise conflict resolution in the public sector.
Changes to the Australian Public Service Code of Conduct giving bosses power to punish staff for off-the-job misbehaviour, including their conduct on Twitter and Facebook came in in July and look to keep the courts and tribunals ticking over for a few years.
Two bureaucrats, that we know of, were shown the door on 2013 from Immigration and DFAT for their (alleged) activities online and after hours.
Although they're both still fighting their dismissals, it seems pretty well established at this point that going online and trash-talking your employer all over town can and will lead to you not having a job. Public servant or no public servant. Graduates take note.
Those Code of Conduct changes also contained a bit about public servants losing their job if busted applying a little touch-up here and there to the CV to land that job or promotion in the first place.
In July, Coalition backbencher Brett Mason sent a message, again, that public service sickies were out of control and he'd be a holy terror on malingerers when he got into government, warning he had a "road-map for action" to get the bureaucracy "tuned in and turned up."
He went awful quiet after the election though, did Brett.
Things really hotted up in September when the people of Australia finally put the woebegone Labor outfit out of its misery.
The Coalition wasted no time in dispatching any Departmental Secretary who had ever been spotted within 100 metres of Labor's carbon abatement policies. Bang-bang Martin Parkinson and Blair Comley.
Industry Department boss Don Russell just didn't have a leg to stand on when he was accused by the new regime of being Don Russell.
From left to right: Andrew Metcalfe, Don Russell and Blair Comley.
Guilty as charged, the former Labor advisor was sentenced to receive more than half-a-million bucks and a nice long break.
That sure showed him.
Along with the other ''victim'' of long-knives-lite, veteran Andrew Metcalf, Russell copped it sweet, pocketed his substantial payout and didn't go whinging to the media. Although the offer remains open.
It was a bloody striking up of the band for the less-than-graceful machinery of government waltz that has now seen 10,000 bureaucrats MoGed around the joint, mostly in Canberra.
So far the process has been carried out in a remarkably good spirit with surprisingly little whining, tanties or general carrying-on.
OK, we lied about that bit.
Easily the most intriguing and dramatic MuGing, sorry MoGing was the "hostile takeover" of AusAID by DFAT, marked by the memorable WausAID piss-up in Civic that they'll be talking about for years.
DFAT supremo Peter Varghese was quick to demonstrate his esteem for his new charges by sacking all of AusAID's grads before they even showed up for work.
One Foreign Affairs rank-and-filer put the finishing touches on the public relations job by pretending to machine gun the massed ranks of AusAIDers who'd made the journey to Barton for Peter's first pep-talk.
Smooth, DFAT, real smooth.
The year ended much as it began, with some outfits getting the tough love routine from Stephen Sedgwick's Public Service Commission.
You'd like to bring the commission out shopping, metaphorically speaking, because it looks at the public service and says yeah, your arse does look big in those jeans, champ, maybe try the next size up.
Who else was game to tell DFAT that nobody likes them? Or Treasury that it was "arrogant or dismissive" and needed to get a life?
Takes a real friend to tell the truth and on that note, we'll be back in January, doing, well, something like that. Here's wishing you all a bureaucracy free holiday.