This paper critically analyses performance Indicators as used in the social housing system of Australia. The use of performance indicators emerged in the mid nineties and grew out of the new managerialist and economic rationalist ideas that shaped public sector reform in this decade. This context gave a particular form and direction to performance indicators and in hindsight limited their capacity as useful indicators. The paper outlines the specific forms of indicators used in the social housing system (mainly in public housing), the assumptions that underpinned them, and the conceptual and methodological problems with the indicators. We our now entering what could be called a second phase of performance indicators and there is some promise that they could be more effective performance measures in the future. However given, as the paper argues, such indicators are as much creatures of political ideology as good management tools any use of indicators has to be placed under critical scrutiny.