Another good piece by Adam Creighton

In today’s Oz, Adam Creighton writes another top piece, this time on the costs and lack of benefits of political and ministerial advisors.  Cats should really read it:

Barnaby Joyce affair: political advisers cost too much

Spartacus has previously written on this august site (get stuffed Chris Mitchell) that the average cost of every MP and Senator is well over $1m per annum once you add in electoral and parliamentary offices, travel, staff, stationary, etc etc. (I can’t find the link – forgive me).  For the 150 MPs and 76 Senators, we are talking about close to $250 million per annum; and this does not include the cost of maintaining the white elephant on Canberra Hill from which they look down on us from.

Imagine how much the ABC would cost with that kind of productivity and cost structure.

One thing Creighton missed, possibly because of space constraint, is the complete lack of oversight and accountability of these advisors.  Notwithstanding their salaries being paid for by taxpayers, they have no accountability to the Parliament and to the citizenry.

If these people are really political apprentices for the parties, they should perhaps also be paid apprentice salaries.

There have also been ample cases of egregious advisor cockups with no sunlight or accountability.  Time for some change.  Well done Adam.

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23 Responses to Another good piece by Adam Creighton

  1. IRFM

    The most puzzling aspects of all is the fact that the advisors are much younger than the person who they are advising. I would have thought that it would be the other way round – you know a sort of mentor with wisdom perhaps to aid the time short Member/Senator.

  2. stackja

    Gough created staff regime, he didn’t like public service advice.

  3. manalive

    Who’s advising Josh Frydenberg?

  4. Bruce of Newcastle

    from which they look down on us from

    I’m glad it’s not just me who has this disease. 😀

    Imagine how much the ABC would cost with that kind of productivity and cost structure.

    Oh but they do! As other Cats who know have remarked from time to time, when a Newsworthy Situation arises the commercial stations send out one journo who basically does a selfie to the camera she sets up. The ABC on the other hand sends a journo, cameraperson, boom operator, political officer and the full bit. Ok not the political officer. Yet.

    If these people are really political apprentices for the parties, they should perhaps also be paid apprentice salaries.

    Exactly. That goes for all the APS hangers on. Why are APS weenies now paid vastly more than the private sector? The fat cats are feeding their kittens.

    The whole place needs a Trump to come in and sack two thirds of them. I’m sure the Australian Federal Government could operate quite well with the remaining people.

  5. zyconoclast

    Who’s advising Josh Frydenberg?

    Susan Lamb

  6. H B Bear

    Adam Creighton should offer to mentor Alberscreechi. She might learn something. He is generally very sound.

  7. Marcus

    The most puzzling aspects of all is the fact that the advisors are much younger than the person who they are advising. I would have thought that it would be the other way round – you know a sort of mentor with wisdom perhaps to aid the time short Member/Senator.

    I’ve wondered occasionally how some of these advisers are employed in the first place. Plenty of them seem to be bright young things fresh out of uni, who are up to date with all of the latest theories and buzzwords, and who are hired as much for their enthusiasm for party politics as they are for their experience or expertise.

    Of course, many of them will go into politics themselves and get to hire bright, young, enthusiastic things themselves … and on and on it goes.

    But the upshot of it would appear to be that the advisers don’t seem to be there to provide good advice so much as to protect their boss’s interest, network like crazy and hope that it’ll pay off for them when it comes to the next available preselection.

  8. egg_

    JFK was banging a select menagerie of interns long before Bubba Clinton.

  9. The remuneration data in Creighton’s article was absolutely staggering.

    But of particular concern was the astonishing increase in advisors in the last few years of government -& on both sides of parliament.

    Have they no shame?

  10. The most puzzling aspects of all is the fact that the advisors are much younger than the person who they are advising.

    Ahem…. is it any wonder so many MPs stray into forbidden territory?

  11. Jimf

    It is another insightful piece by Creighton. Where do they get these 20-30 something yo’s? No one should be allowed near influence and salaries like that until they’ve done 10 yrs in the private sector and shown ability to grow businesses or cut costs or both.Additionally, an MP should have a total team capped $ allowance, and over spends deducted from their own perks . Watch the head count and salary chainsaws when this happens .

  12. PK

    … up with which I will not put.

  13. Jimf

    The shameless nerve of Turnbull to espouse “agility and innovation” when he has created a bloated inefficient claque around his own office. What a fraudulent prancing show-pooch he is.He should just hire a sun-bed technician,and Lucy to do the dishes. Makes Billy McMahon look like a game changer does Sir Mal.

  14. Tim Neilson

    But the upshot of it would appear to be that the advisers don’t seem to be there to provide good advice so much as to protect their boss’s interest, network like crazy and hope that it’ll pay off for them when it comes to the next available preselection.

    They’re there as a Praetorian Guard.

    No-one is actually allowed to see a Minister if there’s any danger that they’ll tell the Minister anything that the Minister may subsequently want to deny knowing.

    So anyone wanting to talk to the Minister about some really serious matter, even if they are a very senior person with serious responsibilities which the Minister is responsible for overseeing, will never get an appointment. They’ll always be fobbed off with some BA (Politics) LLB type with hipster glasses who’ll refuse to promise to bring the matter to the Minister’s attention. Phone calls will be put through to one of the hipster glasses wearers. Emails and letters will be replied to, if at all, by one of the same.

    And if the balloon goes up, the Minister will deny personal responsibility by saying that there was an error in communication within the department and that procedures are being reviewed. The hipster glasses wearer will be looked after (in order to ensure that the next generation of hipster glasses wearers aren’t tempted to cover their own arses at the Minister’s risk).

    Well, that’s my perception. I don’t know whether Des or someone is around to comment.

  15. Entropy

    I remember when agriculture minister and DPM John Anderson (the measure of the man is that Tony Windsor hates him) became a minister he got his experienced advisers from industry organisations. What was markedly obvious is they understood the industries and most importantly knew people.

    No minister since did anything like that though, which means public servants are the source of what goes on in the various industries and who know people. The advisers are just gatekeepers but really spend most of their time networking their juvenile little hearts out with their facsimile mates when not sucking up to their factional master..

  16. H B Bear

    The most puzzling aspects of all is the fact that the advisors are much younger than the person who they are advising.

    KRudd loved surrounding himself with kids in short pants. Unlike Rene Rivkin’s boys they were not mostly shirtless and oiled up. So that’s one positive.

  17. John NOBEL

    … on Versailles on Lake Bloody Griffin, home to repressive democracy, focused on the money/ pollyTICs/ media spin cycle, which need cutting down to size, and direct democracy, refocused on advancing Australia, fair!
    Moving beyond agriculture, resources (curse) and non-value added manufacturing, into services, knowledge and experiences. For the fourth industrial revo has arrived.
    Opportunity, cost of living, education, healthcare, human rights, infrastructure and for real public safety and security (in institutions, streets, homes, rather than barbed wire on the beaches).
    GIven the size of the local gov and the states, Canberra ACT can be cut down to about five ministries (DPC/ COAG/ benchmarking, justice, trade, defence and dollars).
    The public service should be redeployed close to where people live.
    Parliament should be halved, and those remaining paid double.
    State premiers can just rotate through the PM slot, a year at a time, same for state governors and the GG slot.
    COAG’s high end teleconferencing system should be extended to parliamentary offices, so we get pollyTICs that go home to their families at night.
    It would also cut down on travel expenses.
    Next a federal ICAC.
    Why not signal the change by removing the colonial Union Jack from the flag, Eureka?

  18. John NOBEL

    One more: Campaign finance reform, you either get paid by taxpayers or lobbyists, not both.

  19. The Barking Toad

    KRudd loved surrounding himself with kids in short pants. Unlike Rene Rivkin’s boys they were not mostly shirtless and oiled up. So that’s one positive.

    Hahaha – nice one centurion

  20. Spring is near

    May i be so bold as to ask, what is the role of the Media Advisor?

    Surely its to keep the Advisee out of the sh!t

    How does shagging the Advisee and getting preggas align with this role?

    Champion efforts all round. FMD.

  21. Caviar

    Surely you can’t expect Barnaby himself to post on his twitter and facebook?

  22. Diogenes

    Maybe the cure is the other way.
    Ministers keep advisers, given the number of “independent” bodies that supposedly give advice to keep Ministers out of the doodoo (eg Infrastructure Australia) and we sack the Public Service.

    Long live the Rabz doctrine !

  23. Tator

    reminds me of Ditherall in SA, when Education minister, his office had oversight over the Largs North Primary School sexual assault case. This was marred by the Education Department wanting to cover it up and not let other parents know about what was happening. They directed staff not to advise anyone else and it was only the fact that one of the victims parents was a serving police officer that any action was taken by SAPOL as she ensured proper reporting of an offence procedures were followed when she had her child reporting the assault.
    Now Ditherall denied all knowledge of this incident as it was when he was plotting against Randy Rann to take over the Premiership. One of his staffers “confessed” to not forwarding on the information to the minister even though it is exactly the type of incident that the minister should be aware of personally, and was subsequently rewarded with a pay increase once Ditherall was anointed Premier. Zero accountability which is a trademark of this current ALP government as nobody takes any responsibility for anything that goes wrong.

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