Let’s Have Some Reform

Writing in the AFR (on website tonight, in the paper tomorrow), the IPA’s John Roskam writes:

If Daniel Andrews were a bank chief executive instead of a state premier, he would have been forced to resign weeks ago. And the person leading the demands for Andrews’ resignation would have been the Prime Minister himself, Scott Morrison.

Fair point and entirely true.  Roskam further adds:

It’s easy for prime ministers to give free advice to bank board members. Politicians are forever telling CEOs and boards how they can run their companies better. It’s interesting, given how much politicians think they know about private enterprise, that so few of them ever make a successful transition to careers in the productive economy.

Here’s something about private enterprise that most politicians also don’t know.  There is a provision in the Corporations Act that allows members (shareholders) to requisition a general meeting and to add and remove directors through that mechanism.  It’s not a perfect analogy but it is kinda sorta a recall election and a citizen initiated referendum.

Our political masters like to pass laws to make directors accountable to shareholders but they won’t allow similar mechanisms for governments to be accountable to citizens.

There should be no doubt that if Australia had better government we would have been in a better shape going into #CovidCrisis2020 and we would have better managed it.

Rather than funding and fighting over sporting facility toilet blocks, our government could have been better planning for a pandemic like the Taiwanese and South Koreans did.

Rather than hiring Directors of, inclusion and intersectionality at a salary of $192,800-$249,700 plus superannuation, they could be cutting payroll taxes allowing business to hire.

The reforms that come out of #CovidCrisis2020 should not be limited to economic reforms only.  There needs to be significant structural reforms, ie democratic reforms, such that government does what it is supposed to do rather than the stuff our politicians like to do.  Using the banking analogy, make government basic again.

Recall elections.  Citizen initiated referenda.  Federation reform.  The end of horizontal fiscal equalisation.

There needs to be a mechanism to remove a corrupt or incompetent or combined corrupt/incompetent government without having to wait the requisite 3 to 4 years for an election.  Governors and Governors General won’t do it.  Citizens would if they could.

There needs to be a better mechanism.  If your house is on fire, you should not be required to count to 1,000 before calling the fire department.

whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government

TAFKAS knows this will never happen, much like the necessary economic reforms.  But he can dream.  It’s all down hill from here.

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37 Responses to Let’s Have Some Reform

  1. Chris M

    TAFKAS knows this will never happen

    Why you give up so easily Tafy? If enough people demand… it’s a time of change.

  2. Bruce of Newcastle

    I’d love some reform, but what pollies mean by the word is not exactly what I mean by it. It’d help if Treasury would actually model the reality of these “reforms” rather than just squeegee numbers to fit whatever outcome the the Left wants. Which is what they currently seem to do.

    Perhaps a useful reform would be to hold a national plebiscite each year in order to choose one politician to be executed by firing squad. Might improve their performance.

  3. H B Bear

    Governments should be sacked and changed regularly.

  4. Certainly, agree about recall and citizen initiated referenda. The Swiss have been doing it for many years. They even gave a vote to women only a few years ago although some say that may have been a mistake as women are more inclined to social issues such as babies (who need nuturing) and have less inclination for technology. The Swiss vote some 3 or four times a year on three to five questions each time. They even vote to approve budgets. Australia could well look at there system of voting.

  5. Squirrel

    The banks and their CEOs never had the level of public support – even before the Royal Commission revelations – which Andrews still gets from the people who elected him (and probably some others who are motivated by defensive parochialism). That, plus their vulnerability on aged care, would surely go a long way towards explaining why the federal government has thus far been restrained in its public criticisms of Andrews and his government.

    There will, eventually, be some worthwhile reforms of how this country is governed, but only when all the easy options have been exhausted – so it will take a few turns of the electoral cycle for it to happen. In the meantime, there’ll be lots of talk, lots of cosmetic stuff masquerading as real reform, and a fair number of self-interested try-ons dressed up as “reform”. On the latter, reflect upon the number of corporate types and their shills who think that increased incomes (wages and/or welfare) for punters is a great idea because it will increase demand – as long as someone else pays for it.

  6. Adam D

    No way – look at the U.S with trump. Every time a conservative political party is elected the left would abuse these powers endlessly

  7. Cynic of Ayr

    I don’t know how we can do this, or anything like it.
    As I found out, Partys are run by apparatchiks of the Party, and the Members can huff and puff all they like.
    Ideally, the Members can vote out the Head Apparatchik, but the choice is limited to those who nominate, i.e. those who want to be an Apparatchik.
    Consider the Members of the local Liberal Party of Morrison’s electorate. thay have no say in what Morrison should or should not so. The Apparatchik have a little say, as they could could disenfranchise him.
    Consider, TAFKAS, a local Party meeting. Any party. The Members put up a motion that the Government dispense with – name a few positions or departments. The General Assembly (whatever) move that this motion be Party Policy. The Delegates agree. So let it be written, so let it be done.
    Never, in our wildest dreams, will any Party Politicians in power adhere to their own Party Policy, as put forward and agreed to by the Members.
    It’s the system that stinks. The only problem is that it’s better than anything else.

  8. wal1957

    Bruce Of Newcastle @9:00

    Perhaps a useful reform would be to hold a national plebiscite each year in order to choose one politician to be executed by firing squad. Might improve their performance.

    Why stop at one? Give the nation a better chance and roll a die!

  9. Recall elections. Citizen initiated referenda. Federation reform. The end of horizontal fiscal equalisation.

    There needs to be a mechanism to remove a corrupt or incompetent or combined corrupt/incompetent government without having to wait the requisite 3 to 4 years for an election. Governors and Governors General won’t do it. Citizens would if they could.

    There needs to be a better mechanism. If your house is on fire, you should not be required to count to 1,000 before calling the fire department.

    SORTITION, CONFEDERALISM, SUBSIDIARITY AND DIRECT DEMOCRACY WILL SET YOU FREE.

  10. Steve

    Breaking the Lefts stranglehold on power in Victoriastan – in short, I believe the game isnt about infection, its about control – and the perverted ability to mess peoples minds up by keeping them locked down like criminals and forcing people to treat normal healthy people as pariahs. This appears to be a form of low grade of mental torture more at home in some black ops prison.

    That and driving people to despair so they will take the “heres one we had sitting around for 6 months” globalist vaccine :

    However – drugs to break the vaccine death roll enacted upon victoriastan, an Australiuan to the rescue:

    https://www.biospectrumasia.com/news/91/16457/australian-develops-effective-triple-therapy-to-treat-covid-19.html

    “”Professor Borody says his research has led him to a triple therapy of Ivermectin, zinc and an antibiotic – which are all TGA and FDA approved – which could be the fastest and safest way to stop the Victorian outbreak within 6-8 weeks. [See Professor Borody’s published research papers ORIC here http://orcid.org/0000-0002-0519-4698%5D

    “Professor Borody said, “These 3 medications are already approved. They do not need pre-clinical or clinical trials nor additional TGA approvals unless the aim is to combine in a single capsule, for example. Patient treatment programs have been done in the US and elsewhere which indicate it can work within 4-6 days.”

  11. Howard Hill

    I’d sooner dish out reform the way they know best. Break their windows, drag them out of their cars, grab them by the throat and then put a knee on their necks till they yield!
    Seems to work pretty good for them.

    You’ll never win this game while you play by the rules they never follow themselves!

  12. Russell

    While I agree with the basic sentiments of the story, especially drawing a parallel with banking CEOs, I think there is a very big difference between “shareholders” and stakeholders. The majority of shareholders care about the productivity and outcome of a business and expect to hold their management accountable for performance.
    But for Oz governments, the vast majority of the “stakeholders” (voters) don’t give a toss about the productivity or outcome. They just want to bitch and complain about anything and everything. Much more like “customer” stakeholders than shareholders. And I guess we don’t really want our customers being able to add or remove a director. Careful what you dream and wish for.

  13. John A

    wal1957 #3546955, posted on August 13, 2020, at 9:56 pm

    Bruce Of Newcastle @9:00

    Perhaps a useful reform would be to hold a national plebiscite each year in order to choose one politician to be executed by firing squad. Might improve their performance.

    Why stop at one? Give the nation a better chance and roll a die!

    [Fairy Queen:] But we can’t slaughter the whole company!
    WS Gilbert in Iolanthe

    Just enough to encourage and “incentivise” the rest!

  14. John Comnenus

    I don’t think citizens of Victoria would recall Andrews. He gets away with every lie because the media covers for him and the majority of Victorian voters accept them. A sensible Victorian electorate would have dumped Andrews and his government over the red shirts business. Instead more Victorians voted for him. Combined with their stacking of the most overturned at the High Court bench and you have a one party State in the making – just like California. Victoria is going into a long slow decline because Victorians continue to vote for this decline.

  15. Entropy

    At the end dog the day the analogy while tempting, falls when one considers that governments are meant to govern for all, not operate a company chasing a dollar.

    The problem is that government has started to believe it can run businesses. They are paid the same sort of salaries, so why not?

    The solution is not to make government more like business, it is to stop trying to do stuff businesses, large and small, already do.

  16. The Manager

    The last effective Lib state government in Vic was Kennet/Stockdale, like them or not.
    Kennet got the arse after a relatively short time because he was perceived/stated to be “arrogant”
    They never got enough time to finish the job and had just started to get on top of the mess they inherited.
    FFS. They certainly were not perfect but there’s no such thing in politics anyway. I’ll take a bit of “arrogance” any day over what we now have.
    So imagine how long they would have lasted in the current political climate under proposals for early dismissal, with the left media and other factions at their throats and a significant number of the voters swallowing the bullshit.
    So as Russell says, Careful what you dream and wish for.
    Is there a saviour waiting in the wings?
    Sadly, it doesn’t look like it.

  17. Jonah

    Unfortunately if there ever was a civic power to force a recall election, such power would inevitably be abused by serial left-wing pests like Get Up! and Sleeping Giants.

  18. Fair Shake

    And Labor have governed the Victorian swamp in 18 of the past 21 years…yet they still try to blame Kennett. The Dandrews virus will take more than antibiotics to cure.

  19. Roger

    It’s interesting, given how much politicians think they know about private enterprise, that so few of them ever make a successful transition to careers in the productive economy.

    Hang on…there was that Baird chap from New South.

  20. Roger

    Victoria is going into a long slow decline because Victorians continue to vote for this decline.

    And the rest of us will be forced to prop it up via the Commonwealth grants system.

    Return income tax powers to the states and let there be competition between them.

    The sort of shenanigans Victoria’s government has been up to will fast become a luxury they can ill afford.

    At the same time the Commonwealth will have to trim its cloth to suit its reduced budget.

  21. HT

    I’d be happy enough if the system implemented at Federation operated like it’s supposed to, with doctrine of separation of powers as an actual “thing”.

  22. Texas Jack

    We have the worst of all worlds now. Three layers of government, often overlapping, and literally thousands of politicians squirreling away hoping to do enough to get noticed for their virtue rather than die-in-a-ditch principles they’re unwilling to breach. They outsource anything requiring logic to committees or bureaucrats or the RBA and the mode of hyper-intense media management now operating makes it very hard for punters to assess accountability.

    I’m in favour of the most competitive form of competitive federalism, where the role of the feds is to embrace doing not-very-much at all beyond defending the country – while forever gauging worlds-best-practice and doing quarterly reporting in the form of a State of the Commonwealth, where varying state outcomes are exposed to the cleansing sunlight that is genuine public scrutiny.

  23. HT

    Roger
    #3547123, posted on August 14, 2020 at 8:05 am
    Victoria is going into a long slow decline because Victorians continue to vote for this decline.

    And the rest of us will be forced to prop it up via the Commonwealth grants system.

    You mean like the NT, Tasmania and SA? And to a lesser extent WA and Queensland? Not to mention the parasitic ACT?

  24. Texas Jack

    Oh, and I’d make the Feds the only taxing authority…

  25. bollux

    Too late now. More voters on the “take” than the “make’, and like the S.A. power industry, the Feds rush in to subsidise any perceived stupidity instead of allowing voters to suffer their own consequences. Learn to speak Venezuelan, it seems to help them.

  26. sfw

    Is Jeff Kennett the leader of the libs in Vic? He is the only person who seems to be trying to take it to Andrews and Labor? I doubt if he would want it but even in retirement he is an effective force. Maybe he does want it and is having a tryout. The rest of the libs are invisible.

  27. Roger

    Oh, and I’d make the Feds the only taxing authority…

    They already are; the power to tax incomes was taken from the states in 1942 as an “emergency war measure” and – surprise! – was never returned.

    Thus we have the absurd situation where the state governments that provide most of the services (health, education, etc.) do not collect the taxes that pay for them. The government that collects the income tax, otoh, provides few direct services to citizens (how many schools or hospitals does the Commonwealth run?).

    Btw, states once had varying income tax rates too!

  28. HT

    Roger
    #3547177, posted on August 14, 2020 at 9:03 am
    Oh, and I’d make the Feds the only taxing authority…

    They already are; the power to tax incomes was taken from the states in 1942 as an “emergency war measure” and – surprise! – was never returned.

    They can’t tax income. But they levy plenty of other taxes: payroll, land transfer, land tax etc.

  29. H B Bear

    SloMo and the Lieborals had no stomach for economic reform when everyone was fat and content pre- Covid. To think they would attempt to undertake it now is fanciful.

  30. H B Bear

    Somewhere along the line the media and the Twitter peanut gallery demanded no group should be worse off as a result of government changes. Consequently the process has been one of ever increasing hand outs with the floodgates opened by Howard, The Father of Middle Class Welfare.

  31. Bruce

    Government accounting explained, Canadian style:

  32. Rob MW

    Recall elections. Citizen initiated referenda. Federation reform. The end of horizontal fiscal equalisation.

    Absolutly, yesiree, get rid of the 4 yr fixed terms would even be a good start.

    With the exception of voters continually voting in commie/socialist governments, voters never make the same mistake twice 🙂 🙂

  33. Rob MW

    How to get rid Venezooueladan:

  34. Professor Fred Lenin

    Abolish politics as a career ? One term in a lifetime ? Put all public employees on one year contracts with performance based salaries? Stop bribing politicians ,lobbying ?Cut migrstion to skilled english speakers only ? Scrap the subs and build a new Missile Force with Aussie built missiles and drones ? Decentralise public departments fromCanberra and abolish those which duplicate state functions ,Health Education etc .?
    So much to do,so little time !

  35. NoFixedAddress

    TAFKAS knows this will never happen, much like the necessary economic reforms. But he can dream. It’s all down hill from here.

    In the great TAFKAS Dreaming I would like to add a balcony.

    1. That there be No compulsory taxation, excise, duty, charge or impost by whatever name can be charged, levied, deducted nor garnisheed by any body ever again.

    2. All existing States, Territories, Islands and land and sea comprising Australia will be dissolved and 151 New States will be formed based on existing Commonwealth Electorates.

    3. Every New State is responsible for its own orderly conduct and welfare.

  36. Rayvic

    “Recall elections. Citizen initiated referenda. Federation reform.”

    They may be constuctive ways of dealing with the elected reprentatives.

    If only there were similar ways of dealing with the unelected — the bureaucrats. It never ceases to amaze why a major conflict of interest is allowed to continue in Treasury — namely the administration of Treasury by Green-left bureaucrats who act contrary to the national interest by promoting high-cost, unreliable, renewable energy at the expense of abundant low-cost coal-fired baseload power — thanks to our elected representatives capitulating.

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