10 November 2007

love and theft

I haven't seen this story in the Canberra Times today picked up anywhere else. Compiling lists of expenditure in individual electorates should be the work of the appropriate Minister's office, based on lists of approved grants supplied by the relevant department. Sadly, the politicisation of Australian public services (oh sorry, I actually mean new managerialism, nothing political* about that) means that it is now seen as quite OK, in fact desirable, that the government's request for a breakdown on an electorate-by-electorate basis is seen as legitimate taxpayer-funded work.

Making that info available to government candidates in marginal electorates? Dodgy. If only for political campaigning purposes? Wrong. Keeping the lists from public view because they don't add to the sum of understanding (after all, they just total up in different ways amounts already in the public domain): despicable.

This country has been turned into a giant kleptocracy and it pains me to have to say that this, at least, is not all Howard's fault. The warning bells were rung a while ago, but of course the
messenger got shot.

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