Commenter dd replied to my critical appraisal of the achievements of the Gillard era, pointing out that over 500 pieces of legislation went through and that counts as a huge success for various interests such as the trade unions movement and others who support the ALP including the regulatory drones who have proliferated under all governments since the 1970s. Typical of this is a new regulatory agency described by Alan Moran of the IPA.
As the present Parliament was drawing to a close one of the uncontrolled government entities, the Standing Council on Energy and Resources (SCER) started to implement an agreement to establish a new qango, a national energy consumer advocacy body, the Australian Energy Consumers Organisation (AECO). SCER is a regular meeting of energy ministers with a long agenda determined by bureaucrats keen to extend their empires. Having proposed a new body, it then set about validating its sentiments that this was a good idea. Cover for the establishment of this bureaucratically pre-ordained AECO was provided by the appointment of two seasoned bureaucrats, former head energy regulator John Tamblyn and former head of the Commonwealth industry department John Ryan.
Lo and behold Tamblyn and Ryan found fresh gaps in the regulatory arena to be filled by drones and activists…The SCER set about filling the newly discovered regulatory gaps. It scoured the world for suitably qualified people but appointed two seasoned consumerists to head up the new agency. The appointees are Fiona McLeod, the former Victorian Ombudsman, who developed the AECO proposal, and Catriona Lowe of the Consumer Action Law Centre. Both are veteran campaigners and proponents for their view of consumer interests, on whom the costs of the body eventually fall.
Agencies like the IPA don’t have the resources to do the research required to document the costs and benefits of hundreds of things like that and the amendments to the Fair Work Act that PM Kevin Rudd waved through despite his pledge to consult and cooperate with the business community. So here is an idea to make some use of the best of the surplus bureaucrats who will be surplus to requirements under an Abbott administration. The idea is not original, it is just a “Regulation Impact Statement” (compared with the Environmental Impact Statement required for buildings and infrastructure) applied on a grand scale using the kind of resources that have never been applied to the task before.
Maybe people like the evil dwarves at the IPA probably have a Regulatory Impact Statement Form already prepared that can be rolled out to take account of the costs, benefits and implications of laws and regulations. The form would need to cover more than just the dollars and cents involved, it would indicate the sponsors of the legislation, the interest groups, lobby groups and others who wanted it, and it would attempt to assess the full cost of the impact in terms of time taken to comply with bureaucratic procedures, and the decision-making power allocated to faceless bureaucrats who are not visible or accountable to the public.
The same audit should be extended to all the agencies of the grievance industries, including the innumerable Human Rights Commissions and every other tax funded niche occupied by members of Nick Cater’s elites, the agencies of the “adversary culture” as they have been called. BTW that link takes you to a very fine site that I must mention in a Roundup or two in future.