Home > Dead Ideas book, Economic policy > Zombie Apocalypse: Commission of Audit edition

Zombie Apocalypse: Commission of Audit edition

May 5th, 2014

I’ll be talking on this topic at a hastily-organized workshop at ANU tomorrow. Details here

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  1. May 5th, 2014 at 22:25 | #1

    This makes me wish I lived in Canberra. (To be honest, nothing else does, despite the presence of my life-long friend Michael.)

  2. SJ
    May 5th, 2014 at 23:10 | #2

    I find it a bit odd that the Commmission of Audit has been treated as some uniquely Australian thing, rather than linking it to the worldwide “Austerity” thing that’s been so hugely popular everywhere else. (No criticism of you intended here, John.)

  3. Alphonse
    May 6th, 2014 at 01:23 | #3

    The CoA’s tender concern for our fiscal health is evident here.

  4. Fran Barlow
    May 6th, 2014 at 06:02 | #4

    I am amused that the Commission of Audit apparently went $1million over budget in producing their report.

    Interestingly, it appears they skimped on proofing, as they had a section entitled “Towards Reponsible Government”. Hard choices had to be made …

  5. Ron E Joggles
    May 6th, 2014 at 07:05 | #5

    @David Irving (no relation) I arrived in Canberra about a week before Christmas 1971, and left to return to Queensland a few days before Gough was elected – I loved it there – walking to work on brisk winter mornings through parklands by the lake, Spectrum’s last live performance, and being part of the excited crowd at the big rally in Queanbeyan, where my mate Maurice and I got to within reach of Gough and Margaret.

    I was next there in June 2001, and saw nothing I recognized till I looked across from the new Parliament House, and saw the old Parliament, looking insignificant in the distance.

    Re the Govt’s plans for retirement and pension age, I look forward to the discussion here about how this might all work.

  6. Matt
    May 6th, 2014 at 09:19 | #6

    @ProfQ is the seminar open to non-students? As far as I can tell, the link doesn’t make this clear.

  7. Oliver Townshend
    May 6th, 2014 at 09:34 | #7

    Can’t we just call it what it is, the Commission of Austerity? or maybe the Commission of Zombie Austerity?

  8. Garry Claridge
    May 6th, 2014 at 11:45 | #8

    Could be a set of audits, with the first being titled: “Commission of Audit – a corporate perspective.”
    The other commissions’ of audit could be from perspectives including, e.g. social, economic, environmental.

  9. Collin Street
    May 6th, 2014 at 12:09 | #9

    Doesn’t the word “audit” come from a latin word meaning “listen”?

    Perhaps Commission of Dictat would be better.

  10. Val
    May 6th, 2014 at 13:41 | #10

    @Oliver Townshend
    “Commission of Zombie Austerity” – good one

  11. May 6th, 2014 at 18:21 | #11

    It really was a huge waste of money, considering that a couple of smart undergrads could have had all the basic ideas in an afternoon. I suppose fleshing it out to make it look respectable would be a bit more work.

    How much work did it take to decide that we see doctors on average 11 times a year, when the real figure is about 4?

  12. Bernard J.
    May 6th, 2014 at 20:47 | #12

    How much work did it take to decide that we see doctors on average 11 times a year, when the real figure is about 4?

    Indeed.

    I was staggered when this was touted around the MSM, but even more agog to see that it was unchallenged.

    Facts appear to be an optional extra in this government’s business.

  13. Caroline Pearce
    May 7th, 2014 at 09:36 | #13

    @Bernard J.

    I’m astonished this hasn’t had more airplay. If the COA can make such a glaring error in its facts how can we be expected to take the rest of the report seriously? I would love to see Joe Hockey challenged on it.

  14. Collin Street
    May 7th, 2014 at 10:19 | #14

    Rather than focussing on arcane semantic debating points like “do the facts support the conclusions” you’d be probably better served targetting not the flawed/motivated reasoning itself but the motives underlying the motivated reasoning, which are more intuitively graspable.

    Link the liberal party to people’s experiences of incompetent bosses who grasp at micro-managing because the micro is all they can manage with and you’ll get traction.

  15. Ken Fabian
    May 7th, 2014 at 11:15 | #15

    Abbott outsources the Audit to the ideologically correct lobbyists, allowing them to both be well paid for predictably saying what Abbott wanted them to say as well as lend these lobbyists a degree of respectability as allegedly “independent” sources of advice. Instead of the Audit being clearly a lobby groups wish list, it gets the appearance of being above such politicking. A bit like handing human rights to IPA lobbyists and Clean energy and climate policy to climate denying fossil fuel lobbyists. I think Abbott is demonstrating clearly to those in NSW how to mix lobbyists with political favoritism – make favored lobbyists into members of the team! Not to mention redefine luxury trips in private jets and similar favors as “saving the taxpayers money”.

    What’s seems clear to me is that our Mainstream Media are perfectly happy to allow Abbott and team the benefit of the doubt; perhaps regretting the excessively harsh and relentless hounding of Gillard, they’ve learned their lesson and don’t want to repeat that with Abbott. Safe to say that after Abbott they will decide they went too far the other way and were too easy on him so any non-LNP successor will get harsh hounding – doubled to make up for what Abbott missed out on.

  16. Ernestine Gross
    May 8th, 2014 at 18:40 | #16

    @Fran Barlow

    “… the Commission of Audit apparently went $1million over budget in producing their report. ”

    Are you sure? How much was to total cost?

  17. Ernestine Gross
    May 8th, 2014 at 18:48 | #17

    @Ken Fabian

    The smh and the guardian had many highly critical articles.

  18. Donald Oats
    May 8th, 2014 at 22:08 | #18

    Boy, I really wish I could vent the full extent of my feelings about the Commission of Audit and the “suggestions” for reducing climate science funding within Australian research institutions, Bureau of Meteorology (yes, they do conduct research) and CSIRO, in particular. Still, as no less an authority than our current Prime Minister has pronounced “climate change is crap”, so the science is in: no need for more pesky climate scientists to be encouraged into a genuinely intriguing field. Better to have them training as lawyers or something…

    Was it expected? Yes. Ideology wallops science.

    It is worth pointing out a couple of implications which can be drawn from this. Firstly, if the CoA delved into scientific programs of research methodically and across all such programs, surely those not on the hit list of the CoA must have been found to be sufficiently efficient, and sufficiently unique, that they should not be given the toe-cutting treatment. Given the literally thousands of programs of research ongoing at any one time, it is highly unlikely (to put it politely) that the CoA committee actually gave such a fair and even-handed treatment of the whole scientific endeavour within Australia. If they did not, then it begs the question of how they selected areas which involve climate science and/or climate change as being worthy of a good toe-cutting. Very difficult not to read a straight ideological reason for this…

    Secondly, given the time constraints and financial constraints upon the CoA, and given their collective ignorance of science in general, the basic question of their conclusion is how would they know what is duplication and what is not? How would they even understand the words on the page of a report into scientific collaborations in the area of climate science? How would they figure out what was actual duplication, as opposed to replication, reproduction, verification, one group providing the inputs for another group to improve their models, mathematics, data collection, etc? How would they possibly work any of these things out? Short answer…is a rhetorical one.

    Yes, I am a tad annoyed.

    PS: I do not work with/for, or have any association with climate science and/or climate scientists working within either BOM or CSIRO, or anywhere else for that matter. Obviously I know the names of some of them since they are public figures (David Karoly, for example). And I read the odd dedicated blog and occasional article.

  19. Ernestine Gross
    May 9th, 2014 at 11:52 | #19

    Objections to cuts to the ABC in the second safest Liberal seat:

    The North Shore Times (local paper), May 9 2014, reports: “Protesters angry at the suggestion of budget cuts to the ABC brought a petition to Bradfield federal Liberal MP Paul Fletcher’s Lindfield Office on Wednesday.” The petition had more than 2000 signatures from the Bradfield electorate and more than 240,000 nationwide.

    Bradfield is a safe Liberal seat:
    http://www.aec.gov.au/profiles/nsw/bradfield.htm

    The name of the seat is in honour of Dr John Bradfield, an engineer and bridge builder, who designed the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

    It seems the liberal minded people of Bradfield are defending their heritage against neo-liberal simpletons..

  20. Bernard J.
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