Pining for a dictator

If the government was a company employee, he'd be the one who'd call for endless and useless meetings to which he'd swan in late, he'd ask everyone to write 10 million reports and he would miss every deadline.

If the government was a company employee, he'd be the one who'd call for endless and useless meetings to which he'd swan in late, he'd ask everyone to write 10 million reports and he would miss every deadline.

There's a sort of numbness now when you hear the government has missed a goal it set. It occurs so frequently it's almost become run of the mill.

There's introducing health identifiers, for example, which was intended to begin by 1 July. With legislation still not passed, that deadline has already become a laughing stock. This week, telecommunications legislation, including the forcible Telstra separation clause, was again not heard despite originally being on the list of Bills to be debated. Yes, the government is often being stymied by the opposition, but I'm looking at government as a whole here, not just the party in power.

Then, of course, there's the filter legislation, which hadn't even been written two months ago, despite the government originally saying it would be passed by March. Try blaming that on the opposition.

And the endless procurement processes which run over time — this morning we found that the whole-of-government desktop panel had still not been chosen, despite the fact it was supposed to happen last month.

Everything has endless consultations, committees and checks. The pendulum seems to have swung completely away from getting it done to doing it right (where doing it right seems to be doing nothing at all).

I pity any small companies trying to peddle their products to the government. Not only do they have to deal with a lack of brand power, but they have to cope with a machine whose cogs turn so slowly, you'd be dead before you get that contract.

Sometimes I think a dictatorship wouldn't be that bad. At least then decisions could be made quickly. My mind goes back to the scene in The Empire Strikes Back where the Millennium Falcon is trying to escape from the giant slug in the belly of the asteroid.

"We don't have time to discuss this in a committee," Han Solo said to Leia. Sometimes, things just need to be done. And normally that means getting behind a leader you trust to make good choices. Back in medieval times, there were generals who were able to try far-out tactics because their men knew it would most often lead to victory.

Think of Steve Jobs. I bet you there are a million conversations in the executive boardroom which went something like this:

Exec 1: I don't know, Steve. It's a bit risky.

Exec 2: But he's been right before.

Exec 1: All right. But it'd better work.

And then, more likely than not, it does.

I realise that there needs to be accountability when taxpayer dollars are concerned, but how many taxpayer dollars are currently spent on this accountability? If the government was a ship with the checkers on one side and the doers on the other, it'd be in danger of capsizing.

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