New government, old tricks

Coming back from a very lazy Christmas, I find the comments threads full of hyperventilation about “jackboots” and “communist roots”. While this was a bit OTT, this SMH story about a message from the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research requiring that all press releases from CSIRO and other organizations be vetted at ministerial (or maybe Prime Ministerial) level certainly suggested that the new government was already up to the tricks of old governments.

I had hoped we would have had a bit more of the reformist phase before this kind of thing started and indeed it appears that there has been at least a partial backdown. With any luck, this misbegotten idea will be buried as a product of the silly season.

But the central point is clear. If we are going to get any moves towards open government and transparent processes out of the Rudd government, we need to demand them now, while the criticisms they made of the last government are still fresh. All longstanding governments seek to centralise power, which is one of the reasons why changing government every now and then is a good idea.

34 thoughts on “New government, old tricks

  1. No, we’re not going to play that game. I’ve responded to the logical disconnect in your “off with the fairies” comment. If you want to come up with something more substantial, go right ahead. Otherwise go away.

  2. Can I remind people of Kevin Rudd’s role in introducing Freedom of Information legislation and the first effective Parliamentary committee system in Queensland.

    Yes, his role is different now and yes people change but I know Kev Rudd both from having worked for him and as my local MP. He doesn’t deserve the sort of personal slander Observa, amongst others, are throwing at him.

  3. Ah come off it Ian. We’re just having a good old chuckle at how quickly the sanctimonious have fallen. Howard, as CEO copped plenty over this issue and it was just a lot of over-emotional claptrap, as the CSIRO have now confirmed. Now Rudd may well have argued against this kind of policy in cabinet and been overruled, but like Howard has to cop it sweet for overall govt policy now. He could of course chop this off at the knees, like he did with Garrett on the GW issue. That’s his prerogative, but until he does, he cops it sweet too. The clever timing of the announcement says he won’t of course, but the meeja will be on notice now as to where the new govt’s coming from.

  4. He doesn’t deserve the sort of personal slander Observa, amongst others, are throwing at him.

    Of course he does. Why on earth does he think it is good policy to filter the messages of supposedly independent scientific institutions?

    It’s lousy policy. Always was; always will be.

  5. It’s a despicable policy and rightly deserves to be roundly condemned with both reasoned logic and frothing at the mouth hatred. That said, the electorate chose mini-Howard, so we really should be expecting a continuation of the old tricks.

    (Although, if KR wants to censor the next edition of the Total Wellbeing Diet book on the ground that it has nothing to do with CSIRO’s mandate, he’d have my full support.)

  6. I think I’ll nick off quick and get stuck into some salty, transfatty food and sugary drink before the new year.

  7. Mmmm… perhaps some free post traumatic shock counsellors after Conroy breaks it to the kiddies that there’ll be no more Myspace or Youtube in the new year. Some freebies wouldn’t go astray around here this morning by the looks of things. At least they could make themselves useful with the empties.

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