Tag Archives: yes minister

Abbott’s “Yes Minister”-Style Economy Drive

15 Sep

Oh dear, perhaps I’m becoming a tad too sceptical.

Admittedly, this is a good look for the incoming LNP government.

Which, of course, is the whole point of the exercise.

But I for one cannot help but be reminded of the classic episode of BBC’s Yes Minister, the first episode of Series 3, entitled ‘The Economy Drive’:

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TONY Abbott has decided to bunk with Australian Federal Police recruits in a $120-a-night flat while renovations are conducted at the possum-infested prime ministerial residence The Lodge.

The modest and unusual digs, in a red brick AFP building close to Parliament, will feature a kitchenette and around-the-clock security from his AFP security officers and their junior colleagues.

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Perhaps most importantly for the fitness fanatic, the student quarters also include an impressive gym…

Mr Abbott rejected the other options on offer: a $3,000 a week dress circle rental in the nation’s capital. Mr Abbott currently stays at the five-star Hotel Realm.

Providing proper security to the Prime Minister was the biggest problem in finding a temporary new abode, with many options requiring significant security upgrades if AFP officers were to properly protect the PM. For that reason, staying a hotel was swiftly discounted as an option…

The plan represents one of the most unusual Canberra living arrangements for a politician since former Liberal leader Brendan Nelson camped out in Joe Hockey’s shed to save money after his divorce settlement. When Mr Abbott needs to entertain VIP guests he will do so at his Prime ministerial offices at Parliament House.

And then there is this:

Incoming foreign minister Julie Bishop has already clashed with her department over luxury hotel accommodation on an upcoming trip to New York.

The minister-elect told Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade bureaucrats to slash the cost of the trip after they planned to book $1850-a-night rooms at a swish Manhattan hotel for an entourage of dozens.

Ms Bishop also instructed DFAT not to book her on first-class flights when she travels overseas in her new brief.

It is understood departmental bosses want to take a delegation of 23 public servants to the United Nations leaders’ summit on September 19-20 along with two ministers and three of their staff with the travelling party staying at the four-star Westin Midtown Hotel. The department planned to put Ms Bishop and her colleagues in a suite at the Westin as part of an accommodation package worth $132,048.

But the incoming minister, who has yet to be sworn in, told her department she wanted to stay in an ordinary room and that they should ditch the idea of the suite and that, for future reference they should not book her in first-class on international flights. She sent the public servants back to their department to revise the cost of the trip.

After all the scene-setting headlines, and seed-planting news stories like this are done, and the positive PR benefits enjoyed, I wonder how long it will take for reality to set in.

About as long as Jim Hacker’s ‘Economy Drive’ lasted?

I wonder if any in the mainstream media will bother to follow up on this in … oh, let’s say, a month or three … to see how Abbott’s Economy Drive is really going?

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How To Proclaim That You Are A Moral Vacuum Too

31 Aug

JIM HACKER MP: What is the purpose of government if not for doing good?

SIR HUMPHREY: Government isn’t about good and evil. It’s about order or chaos.

JIM HACKER MP: It’s in order for Italian terrorists to get British bombs?

SIR HUMPHREY: *shrugs*

JIM HACKER MP: You don’t care?

SIR HUMPHREY: It’s not my job to care. That’s what politicians are for. My job is to carry out policy.

JIM HACKER MP: Even if you think it’s wrong?

SIR HUMPHREY: Almost all government policy is wrong, but … frightfully well carried out!

JIM HACKER MP: Have you ever known a civil servant to resign on a matter of principle?

SIR HUMPHREY: I should think not! What an appalling suggestion!

JIM HACKER MP: For the first time, I fully understand that you are purely committed to means and not ends!

SIR HUMPHREY: As far as I’m concerned, and all my colleagues, there is no difference between means and ends.

JIM HACKER MP: If you believe that, Humphrey, you will go to hell.

SIR HUMPHREY: Minister, I had no idea you had a theological bent.

JIM HACKER MP: You are a moral vacuum.

SIR HUMPHREY: If you say so, Minister.

*****

SIR HUMPHREY:  What’s the matter, Bernard?

BERNARD:  Nothing really, Sir Humphrey.

SIR HUMPHREY: You look unhappy.

BERNARD:  I was wondering if the minister was right.

SIR HUMPHREY:  Very unlikely. What about?

BERNARD:  About ends and means. Will I end up as a moral vacuum, too?

SIR HUMPHREY:  Oh, I hope so, Bernard.  If you work hard enough.

Yes Minister, “The Whisky Priest” (1982)

On a long journey home passing through south west Sydney yesterday, I was startled to see giant billboards on the M7 sternly warning that, “If he wins, you lose”:

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You see, I have been avoiding the mainstream media — especially TV — even more than usual during this election campaign. Frankly, it turns my stomach.

So I was not aware that our governing political party — the one whose former leader recently returned to the leadership, and pointedly pontificated from the heights of his self-erected moral pedestal about ending the “politics of negativity”, with “A New Way” that would transcend “3 word slogans” — had proclaimed to the world their complete and utter moral vacuity, by launching a 100% negative attack advertising campaign:

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My opinion?

If you cast a ballot in favour of a political party that is so clearly and repulsively hypocritical, that is so obsessed with ends that it is no longer capable of distinguishing between means and ends, then perhaps you are well on the way to becoming a moral vacuum too.

A Pox On Roxon For Smoking Hypocrisy

15 Jun

Health Minister Nicola Roxon – presently under fire for rank hypocrisy in her supposed war on tobacco – has perhaps been instructed in the school of Sir Humphrey Appleby.

Enjoy.

Yes Prime Minister – You Lied

15 Jun
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