Cartoon: by Nicholson.
It [the State] has taken on a vast mass of new duties and responsibilities; it has spread out its powers until they penetrate to every act of the citizen, however secret; it has begun to throw around its operations the high dignity and impeccability of a State religion; its agents become a separate and superior caste, with authority to bind and loose, and their thumbs in every pot. But it still remains, as it was in the beginning, the common enemy of all well-disposed, industrious and decent men. - H. L. Mencken, 1926.
The Courier Mail has run an article, “Ten Greens politicians juggling 69 portfolios from whaling to inter-sex issues,” which reminds me of an old line from “The Two Ronnie’s” from way back. It went, “Next week we will be asking, does the government have too many departments? With the Minister for Steak and kidney pie giving his opinion.”
THE gang of Greens poised to take control of Australia's Senate come armed with an unprecedented 69 areas to put on the national agenda.From high-speed rail to whaling and Antarctica, democracy, dental care, and Tibet, the Greens have portfolios that have never before been subject to a ministry.
The Greens will hold the balance of power in the Senate from July 1, with leader Bob Brown yesterday declaring the party was "happy and cohesive'' and the "most stable party in this Parliament''.
While most parties give politicians between two and three areas to look after, the Greens each have about seven responsibilities. The decision has seen Senator Brown split the more typical portfolio of "foreign affairs'' into the separate portfolios of Burma, West Papua, PNG and Tibet.
The current situation where Labor have roughly 48 portfolios spread over 20 ministers is excessive, but 69 is getting into la-la land, especially given that they have only 10 people to do it. There is little to suggest that the people administering the positions are likely to act in the best interests of the people or industries involved.
Larissa Waters, an environmental lawyer will take on the portfolios of environment, biodiversity and natural heritage, population, Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea, Cape York, world heritage, tourism and mining. The mining industry must be really happy to have Larissa relishing the opportunity to deal with them.
Senator Sarah Hanson-Young holds the most interesting combination as she has been named Greens spokeswoman for a string of portfolios including gay-lesbian-bi-transgender-inter-sex issues, and Tibet. Bob Brown probably understands that the Dali Llama has the problem of being reincarnated, and has no guarantee of what he is going to come back as. If he turns up next time as a gay, cross dressing, transgender, bipolar bear, then Sarah has it covered.