THE required level of leadership across Australian parliaments continues to plunge, with rare exceptions.
Regular SMH letters correspondent, Bill Carpenter, wrote: “This (federal) government makes Billy McMahon and his crew look good, an achievement I thought to be impossible”.
His colleague, David Hind, was more succinct: “This cabinet seems to have about half a dozen competent ministers, about half a dozen duds including the PM, Tony Abbott, and the Treasurer, Joe Hockey, with the rest largely invisible to the public”.
All the taxpayer seems to get in recent times are inquiries, reports, investigations and surveys.
As Fairfax reports, the Productivity Commission alone in the first three months this year has put out three issue papers (on public infrastructure, childcare and workplace relations) and is conducting six separate inquiries.
In addition there are at least two Royal Commissions, the Henry Tax Review (now in mothballs by the look of it, unfortunately) and Abbott's own tax white paper, which some of his MPs see as a waste of time.
The SMH editorialised - appropriately enough on April Fools’ Day - “the time for inquiries is over, we need some policy”.
That requires leadership.
Instead, mediocrity abounds.
Hockey’s capability to run Treasury is seriously questioned while, as Carpenter wrote, we have “an education minister who is under the illusion he is head prefect of some flash private school”.
In November, 2012, Tony Windsor and Robert Oakeshott, the Independent MPs, told the Gillard Government to back former NSW Premier, Nick Greiner's call, to widen and raise the scope of the GST. It was ignored.
Current cabinet minister, Scott Morrison, the government’s best performer, this week urged the states and territories to sort out the GST mess.
Obviously his government can’t, or won’t, do it. So much for authority and governance.
Do we need so much unwarranted and duplicated government at state and federal level?
How this nation is governed, structured and represented warrants constitutional change.
- Graham Gorrel
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