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Time has come to cull the number of political advisers

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11.10.2019

Scott Frasers' article "Parliament House: the bubble in the Canberra bubble" (canberratimes.com.au, October 10) gave a graphic insider's view about, as he put it, "the transfer of power and decision making from the public bureaucracy to ministerial offices".

Therein he unloads about all the inadequacies and downsides of working in the house, and reckons that it needs a revamp "to better provide decent working conditions and services for hard working ministers, staff and the opposition".

Parliament house from West Basin. Picture: Karleen Minney

But his lament loses credibility by seeking to entrench the very core of the problem, that of the unhealthy growth of ministerial advisors and spin doctors that have too much usurped the "fearless, apolitical advice" of the public service. His apparent anointing of the current 12 to 15 ministerial staff members boggles the mind, as it does when contemplating a similar, although less, numbers bending the ears of government and opposition members and senators.

Rather than focusing on the fabric of our (we, the people's) Parliament House, Scott's article should serve to confirm our growing concern about political gains and the media grab over sound policy, driven by these non-elected and often inexperienced apparatchiks.

If the offices are too crowded trim the "politics" and restore the balance of sound public service advice.

Like Keith Hill (Letters "Same old, same old", October 8) many would consider that the prime minister and federal treasurer are simply blathering on yet again when they suggest that an ASIC crack-down against CommInsure will be hard-hitting and illustrates that serious allegations are being made against some in the financial services sector.

Yet independent banking analysts have made it clear that the potential $1.8 million fine is "pretty immaterial" given CBA's $8.5 billion profit last year, and that the bank's brand is unlikely to suffer despite it facing up to 87 criminal charges regarding its troublesome and now former insurance offshoot.

When will the Coalition give ASIC the power to deliver more than a light rap over the knuckles for scandalous and deliberate business misconduct?

David Littleproud totally accepts that worsening droughts are linked to climate change and........

© Canberra Times