Quickly now, in 3 seconds answer this question: does your family have private medical insurance? If you know the answer, give yourself 5 points. Now another quickie (no cheating, by looking at your will or asking your accountant) Do you own any properties? If you got that right, you get another five points and hit the jackpot.
You have now scored better than the Greens candidate for the Senate in the ACT, Lynn Hatfield Dodds, who, according to an article in today’s Canberra Times, could not say whether her family had private health insurance, even though she was holding forth on the topic.
Shocked? It gets worse, this time from the ACT Labor government. They were going to buy Calvary Hospital for $77m, but it got messed up and fell apart. Now it turns out (I’m don’t know whether to laugh or cry) that they paid Price Waterhouse Coopers to look into the ACT government finances, and it turns out the ACT government already owns that hospital. So I guess that was $77m that would have been down the drain.
That’s the level of informed knowledge among our political elite here in the capital, and I hope it gives you comfort. That is, you can never now be disappointed at any other politician’s or government’s ignorance.
It’s like when I used to teach high school mathematics, and soon learned that it was impossible to underestimate the abysmal level of knowledge of my students or their total lack of interest in the subject. Now Science Daily News tells me students don’t even understand what the = sign means. It seems they treat it more like a running thing, as on a calculator.
It is surely not OK for government accounts to be so complex, convoluted or opaque that the government has to hire a consultant (I don’t want to know how much they were paid) to tell them what they own.
Another big negative for the Greens candidate was her spiel about how cutting the public service here would hurt the ACT economy, bla bla. Anyone who has ever been near the public service in Canberra knows that it is top heavy and bloats the whole local economy. Sad that the Greens can’t point that out and call for a bit of reform instead.
One would never get to the bottom of it, but I would venture to guess that much more than the equivalent of the wastage of Building an Education Revolution gets wasted on general salaries every year. But who’s counting?
CODA: an excellent presentation today by an environmental epidemiologist said that today’s climate change is happening at 30 times the rate after the last ice age, when wine was indeed grown in England.