Tuesday, January 23, 2007

It’s your turn to shuffle, my turn to deal.

The machine reportedly used by the PM to reshuffle his ministry.

As you’ve no doubt heard, for the sole purpose of generating some work for the desperately sluggish parliamentary stationery sector, the PM has announced a swag of changes to his ministry. And, to prove himself the consummate bureaucrat, he’s gone ahead and renamed a few portfolios without actually changing the substance of his government’s underlying policy.

A bit like when Toyota tried to flog Commodores a few years back as rebadged “Lexcens”. Not fooling anyone.

For example, from the “if we don’t name it, it doesn’t exist” school of thinking, we now no longer have a federal portfolio which references multicultural affairs in its title.

“The existing Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs will become the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.”
Oh my.

It seems less care was taken in re-re-naming what was previously Environment Australia.
“The existing Department of the Environment and Heritage will become the Department of The Environment and Water Resources.”
So this new department will have the exact same acronym as the existing Department of Employment and Workplace Relations!

Silly, silly PM. Do you know how many mistyped emails will be sent? Hundreds! Think of the wasted key strokes. Won’t someone please think of the key strokes!

Also, I’d like to inquire as to precisely what is a ‘water resource’? I thought water was a resource itself?! Although, maybe this is to distinguish environmental flows and greedy cotton irrigation from other sorts of water use, such as water pistols, water bombs and of course, going to water. Ha ha.

And poor old Amanda Vanstone. 10 years of service, only to be dumped in such a way as to say "you make us unelectable" (and I note that there were no women appointed to the Cabinet or even the Ministry proper - Parly Secs don't count in my book - to replace her).

I have so many fond memories of her time as Education Minister in the mid-late ‘90s. She made great fodder for satirists and poxy-student-march slogans: ”one two three four, Mandy Vanstone hates the poor!”

I’d like to go on record here and put down my pick for the key appointment – the one that all the major newspapers will be leading with tomorrow. Yes, all those millions of Australians who rate the Arts as the issue most likely to affect their voting intentions will be thrilled to hear of the new Minister for Arts and Sport, Senator George Brandis.

"Enjoy the Arts or I’ll rip your head off."

We’re in safe hands there I think. Phew!

For all uber-nerds and second-year law students out there, it is interesting to note that Peter Reith lite Georgie started his time in the Senate as a state appointee replacing a retired Senator. Good to see the ol’ constitution getting a workout, I say. Too many sections go unused, like that “lighthouses, lightships, beacons and buoys” head of power. What a bludger of a head of power! I should get Today Tonight onto that.

Lastly, the showdown between Hockey and Gillard in workplace relations will certainly attract column inches. I’d like to get them both in a pit-fighting battle royale! Mexican wrestling masks for all! I’m sure there’s a reality TV show in that somewhere.

The problem for me is that whenever I hear “Joe Hockey”, I become uncontrollably nauseous.

Ahem. Let me explain (you might want to put down your snack/meal/protein shake before proceeding, mind you).

I once asked a friend who was working in Parliament House what it was like to be in the thick of Australia’s political jungle (and by that I meant during the 20 sitting weeks the plonkers are around for).

Not long after, the conversation turned to the facilities available to staff and she mentioned there was quite a nice gym and swimming pool, which staff could use any time they like.

Sounds a bit fancy, doesn’t it? That’s what I thought, and so I remarked that this sounded like a cosy deal. Her response:

“Yeah, I guess. I mean, I was really enjoying the pool but then I saw Joe Hockey in speedos and I could never go back”.
I really hope she was able to access counselling for that.


Anonymous said...

So no chance we will get a Minister for Arts and Sport that knows anything about either area then? Brandis! Brandis wanted to ban a book. That's a great history for a Minister for the Arts. He has never been on a committee even remotely related to arts nor sport. And he is going to be the one standing next to our Beijing Olympians. The deck is shuffled indeed.

Sam said...

Fascinating deck reshuffle indeed. Hopefully just a rearrangement of chairs on the Titanic sort of thing.

Turnbull and Hockey promotions = appeasing the Wets - all 3 of them that still exist in the Howard government?

And sensible floral frocks notwithstanding, I can't help but think 'Oh Mandy'. Even a very pro-Labor acquaitance of mine working in the former DIMA admitted she picked up the department from Mr Burns in total shambles, restored some kind of functionality to it and did as much work as possible behind the scenes to dismantle Baxter.

Kevin Andrews as new Immy: Catholic Fundy Australia Policy the new WAP?

seepi said...

Yes - several pro labor friends of mine in Immigration Dept respected her too - where did she go wrong?? Not mean enough to the detainees for Johhny's liking?

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