Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ministers for bits and pieces

Quite early on in the Rudd ministry I suggested that there was a danger of that government being New South Walesed. By this I meant simply a form of government in which process, style and box ticking overtook substance.

One feature of the NSW approach has been to have a minister for absolutely everything, or at least everything perceived as requiring a public tick. This leads to multi-barrel ministerial titles. 

In the first Full Gillard ministry list, no less than 72 overlapping subject areas were listed. This type of approach creates problems.

It makes it difficult to work out who is responsible for what.  Further, once you start listing so many things, the non-inclusion of others becomes far more important. Governments may argue that that this is not important, but practical experience suggests otherwise.

We have seen both problems at work here in the reactions and responses to the initial Gillard ministry. First. people had to try to work out what fitted where. Then, that done, objections arose to the non-inclusion of certain things. This forced the Government to add indigenous health to Warren Snowdon's title as well as adding tertiary education to Chris Evan's title. In addition, it appears that the term "Regional Queensland" has been added to Jan McLucas's parliamentary secretary's role.

You see what I mean when I say that it all gets very messy.  

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