web analytics
≡ Menu

Voters must vote against ineptitude—but will they?

Voters must vote against ineptitude—but will they?

Maurice Newman’s closing paragraph sums up what we all know but in a moment at the ballot box we falter! Maurice, once more cites the Einstein theory of insanity. Never more so has government and opposition displayed such astounding incompetence. The list is long but not to be forgotten is government’s collaboration with the enemy—GetUp! What could be said in their defence? NOTHING!

 Yes, we do have elections. But as long as the electorate puts its trust in the same discredited snake-oil promises, politicians will keep pushing their “government is the answer” remedies. Only when voters realise that insanity is voting for the same thing over and over and expecting different ­results will change and accountability be possible.

Source: News Corp

Fat and mismanaged public sector is eating us alive

Milton Friedman once quipped: “You’re lucky you don’t get all the government you pay for.” Well our federal public service costs more than 6 per cent of GDP simply to run, so just how lucky are we? America’s population is more than 13 times Australia’s, yet employs only eight times as many federal public servants. On a relative basis the US has fewer departments and agencies.

In Australia, growth in public service employment and wages outstrips the private sector. ­According to The Australian’s economics editor: “Inflation in the cost of public-sector services is rising at more than five times the pace of the private-sector, and is equivalent to a tax of more than $800 a year on the average ­household.”

But running costs are one thing. In a Crikey article, carried by the Community and Public Services Union, Eric Beecher chronicles appalling mismanagement in service delivery.

There’s Centrelink’s fake debt letter “debacle” where thousands of poor Australians were hit with demands to repay money they didn’t owe.

Centrelink considerately attached a “suicide call-back service number” for the despairing. Beecher describes the handling of the North West Shelf royalty ­revenue by the Department of ­Industry as “extraordinary ineptitude”, “possibly costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in unjustified tax offsets”. The Australian National Audit Office confirms “available evidence indicates that the problems are much greater than has yet been quantified”.

Then there’s the $11 billion spent by the Defence Department managing 119 bases around Australia which the ANAO says is well in excess of the $9.3bn “expected value” of the 10 services contracts, signed in 2014, to do the work.

The department has defended its performance, saying the vast project to renegotiate the contracts has delivered value for money, when considered against increased service demands and changing expectations of the ADF. Yet a new $120 million IT system, meant to manage contracts ­between Defence and the private companies servicing the bases, was $39m over budget and five years late.

There’s also the flawed tendering and contracting processes overseen by the Immigration ­Department, which resulted in the waste of “tens and possibly, hundreds of millions of dollars”. Given these practices were subject to a scathing ANAO report, they could hardly be ignored.

We’re reminded of last year’s Australian Bureau of Statistics census “stuff-up”, the Australian Taxation Office’s massive and damaging IT outage, the Department of Health’s decade-long mismanagement of e-health records, and the embarrassing release of identifiable Medicare information. There’s also the Department of Finance’s lax oversight of ministerial travel arrangements. But not raised is the $576m public service travel bill — a blowout of $75m in just four years.

While this shocking record is acknowledged, Beecher argues the blame lies mainly with outsourcing to powerful private contractors who take advantage of CPSU members, under-investment in IT, IT service providers, and, of course, Tony Abbott.

It appears Abbott “demoralised and demonised” the public service. He imposed an industrial relations “hardliner” to negotiate a new enterprise agreement which the union rejected. His aggressive approach resulted in 27 agencies taking industrial action, with some managers admitting that “staff are simply no longer bothering to make any extra effort to achieve government priorities”.

Is this what the Australian ­Public Service means when it says it “must set the pace for a ­contemporary Australian workforce”? Treasury’s shortcomings are also Abbott’s fault. He ­appointed department head John Fraser, who, it is argued, brought with him a “dearth of quality thinking”. Treasury’s poor forecasting record for most of the decade is conveniently forgotten.

Forgotten too are the 1500 ­Department of Education and Training staff who are supposed to create the conditions and incentives for schools and universities to flourish. They do not operate any schools or employ any teachers, but oversee the spending of more than $34bn a year.

Yet, despite regular funding ­increases, a UN agency ranks Australia 39th out of 41 high and middle-income countries for quality education.

Only 7 per cent of Australian school students perform at ­advanced-level maths, compared with 54 per cent of Singaporean students. But when gender-diversity, climate-change and a negative view of our history fill student’s minds, this is not surprising. Higher education is also lagging. Despite federal university funding per domestic student ­increasing 15 per cent between 2010 and 2015, Australian institutions, according to The Times Higher Education editorial director, are falling behind those in China and Hong Kong.

Regrettably, bad policy decisions and poor administration aren’t restricted to recurrent programs. We remember well the $2.45bn pink batts fiasco which ­resulted in deaths and house fires, and the $16.2bn “Building the Education Revolution” debacle, ­almost $2bn of which was completely wasted.

The latest taxpayer extortion is the National Broadband Network “train wreck”, which was forecast to cost $43bn but which will deliver a system little better than what it replaces for about $60bn.

Then there’s the uncosted French submarines, Snowy Hydro 2, experimental battery storage and the countless other brainwaves probably in our future. The inescapable conclusion is that today’s political leaders, federal and state, treat taxpayers’ money with contempt. They cultivate a culture which fosters conceit and deflects responsibility for failure. These days, announcements pass for policy. Implementation is for others to worry about.

And we complain about capitalism? Such negligence would see corporate executives fired, sued or in jail and their businesses bankrupted. That’s how the private sector is cleansed.

Political ineptitude, on the other hand, is perpetuated, courtesy of taxpayers.

Yes, we do have elections. But as long as the electorate puts its trust in the same discredited snake-oil promises, politicians will keep pushing their “government is the answer” remedies. Only when voters realise that insanity is voting for the same thing over and over and expecting different ­results will change and accountability be possible.

{ 17 comments… add one }
  • Penguinte 13/11/2017, 7:39 am

    Never a truer word:

    Insanity Is Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again and Expecting Different Results. Albert Einstein?Mar 24, 2017

  • Lorraine 13/11/2017, 8:11 am

    2007 slime bag Kevin Rudd , convinced the voters John Howard had been in the job to long and “Me Too” My name is Kevin and I am here to help took over and we have the useless in charge. Gillard was double useless, Tony Abbott was not the media’s choice got rid of the carbon Tax only to be taken down by Turnbull. Up until 2007 our Governments run the country fairly good. The last 10 years and the voters want all things free not prepared to forsake anything for the actual good of the Crown. and we have a bigger slime ball Bill Shorten waiting in the wings…….how will our vote change this , if we can out the major parties and make them minor players ,we could be no worse off, will the voter opt for the smaller parties??????

    • Graham Richards 13/11/2017, 9:01 am

      Looks like this mob are going to follow Labor when they finally dump Turnbull.
      The stick insect!! God help us! I wonder if she’ll tell us there’ll be no ETS under the government she leads. Or maybe there’ll be no electricity price shifting, the movie tickets however will remain. What catastrophes await us??

  • Albert 13/11/2017, 8:28 am

    I’m not sure that I agree with this piece entirely. We do have and always have had a problem with sheeple and their crazy voting habits but today they are not the whole problem.
    Cast as eye over the craziness of the under 35’s. It is they with their thoroughly brainwashed tiny minds corrupted by Socialist/Marxist/Communist ratbaggery that infests our universities. It is they who demand everything as their right while employing their mad thuggery to remove your rights. It is they who will vote to achieve their freedom destroying goals and that makes them very dangerous indeed.

    • steve blackett 13/11/2017, 10:13 am

      So unbelievably true Albert,that’s exactly what were up against.

  • Topsy 13/11/2017, 9:24 am

    I don’t think voters do much thinking when it comes to politicians, government or voting. Having handed out at many elections, been deeply involved behind the scenes I am only too aware that people resent having to vote, feel put upon to have to inform themselves about a subject they find boring and uninteresting. The only answer to this problem is to make voting non compulsory, then we would possibly get better governments than we have had for many years, with a very few notable exceptions.
    More than this there needs to be a revalution in the two big parties such that better candidates come forward and are freely and widely vetted by the grass roots with no underhand interference from upper levels of parties.
    Until these matters are addressed, until both parties introduce rules to stop what Turnbull, Bishop et al did to Abbott, until parliamentary members learn to respect voters choice and don’t interfere there will be many more Turnbulls – that is, if the Chinese do not enter through the strategic port of Darwin and take us over when such as Turnbull is in charge.

    • Honeybadger 13/11/2017, 12:21 pm

      Yes one would think non compulsory voting would get rid of the low information, lazy, resentful voter, but look at NZ where it’s non compulsory. A commie wolf in sheep’s clothing as PM. Their weird mmp voting hasn’t helped either.

      • Topsy 13/11/2017, 1:06 pm

        Yes, but they have a weird voting system. We do not – other than for preferences which should be abolished as well as compulsory voting.

  • Biking Voter 13/11/2017, 9:55 am

    Get rid of unions and and almost as if by magic most problems would cease to exist.

  • Aktosplatz 13/11/2017, 11:10 am

    If unsuccessful being a dole bludger, then join the Public Service, it’s the next best thing!! (If you can’t beat them, join them)

  • Maryanne 13/11/2017, 11:54 am

    The NSW government wants 90% of Health Department staff to complete up to six hours of face-to-face training on Aboriginal history, culture, identity and health by 2019.

    This is brainwashing into PC nonsense. As there were hundreds of different language groups exactly which group’s history, culture and identity will be taught? Cape York? Hindmarsh Island? Central Australia? No, it will be the made-up pan-aboriginal ‘culture’ that serves their political agenda.

    If the staff have any dignity they should refuse this ‘training’ but they won’t. They have to earn a living. I never thought I’d see the day when the Australian people would so meekly obey their tyrannical masters.

    • Biking Voter 13/11/2017, 2:17 pm

      The way I see it, the vast majority of Australian people are decent law abiding citizens and as such they unquestioningly accept just about every damn lie the government sees fit to throw at them.
      “Oh well, they are the government, so they must know what’s best for me”, never do any of these people rebel or even question the bullshit they are being fed.

  • Bwana Neusi 13/11/2017, 12:33 pm

    “Competence freefall” describes our governments one and all

  • Joe Blogs 13/11/2017, 3:05 pm

Leave a Comment