Perhaps this is a nuanced question, but it is of fundamental importance in a liberal democracy.
A government is the administrative tool of the state. They are not the same, but in certain situations they can converge. For example in a totalitarian dictatorship.
With this in mind, consider the following statement from a Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia, and member of the Liberal National Coalition Government:
And who said this? The Hon Michael Keenan MP, Minister for Human Services and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Digital Transformation.
It is unlikely that Mr Keenan came up with those words by himself. Possible but unlikely. Most likely it was fed to him by a departmental staffer. But here are the problems:
- That Mr Keenan’s political and philosophical radar did not warn him off such a combination of words is most concerning;
- If it was a departmental staffer, that they saw no problem in conjoining state and government; and
- A Liberal government projects that the size of the Australian government will be so great by 2025 that it will warrant the investment to ensure that it is “one of the top three digital governments in world”.
Depressing it is.
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