Managerial Madness In Public
The madness that grips our community executives is nowhere more obvious than in politics. The ludicrous events occurring in offices throughout the nation enacted by people like Bondi, are repeated by parliamentarians in the full glare of the media. The complete lack of managerial purpose, the widespread incompetence, the hyper-sensitivity to all criticism, the huge volume of words that communicate nothing of value, and the widening gap between official truth and reality, are there for all to see.
Required Qualities Of Managers
Despite media gloss, the qualities necessary to be a successful politician are painfully obvious. Becoming popular with the public needs a glib tongue, a credible appearance, a complete lack of integrity, and a willingness to indulge public opinion regardless of its impact. This means that politicians must be confidence tricksters who are oblivious to the real needs of the community, happy to tell any lie, betray any colleague, and commit any crime, as long as they retain their job and status. So they can have only one aim, their immediate short-term benefit.
Elections Are Sales Campaigns
Political campaigns are sales promotions with soap-powder (or breakfast cereal) being replaced by politicians. The principles are the same in both cases, with the appeal being to emotions not intelligence. The emphasis on winning the next election makes addressing community problems irrelevant, if not impossible. Indulging the electorate to gain office precludes unpopular measures or actions that could create anxiety and therefore resentment. This places contemporary politicians in the category of con men, which is the real nature of modern management. By playing on public gullibility they win the perks of office, without any intention of meeting the associated responsibilities.
A cartoon published by the Townsville Bulletin in May 1994, showed the opposition leader being crushed by the revelation that unemployment was at a two year low. The drawing implied that government handling of unemployment was so good that the opposition must be silenced by its success — a palpable lie. The quoted statistic revealing a trivial drop in unemployment figures, a rate doctored by a government determined to supply the lowest possible value. Yet the official percentage was still astronomical, and had been for over a decade. The efforts of the government over ten years had made no real impact on the unemployment rate. A fact confirmed by the still growing numbers of vacant commercial premises, undeniable monuments to official incompetence, obvious to any citizen who strolled through a shopping centre. Yet the media broadcast the official pretence that something important had been gained by political strategy.
Speak Volumes Say Nothing
Political necessity has not just abandoned truth but clarity. Individuals desperate for public acceptance can ill-afford to upset sections of the community by taking a clear and direct stance on contentious issues. Commentators' questions to these popularity seekers invariably produce an avalanche of words that mean nothing, leave the speaker uncommitted and the audience confused.
This reveals why modern managers like Bondi talk so much without saying anything. Communication and decision making is part of their job, but controversial issues make commitment dangerous and unrewarding. So they talk a lot, say little and resolve nothing. Their only concern is to be on the winning side, which ever this may be.
Every Man For Himself
To these aspirants to public office, loyalty has become merely a device of convenience. Publicly stated support for rivals within the same party has been regularly contradicted by immediate betrayal. In odious demonstrations of opportunism at the expense of integrity and principles Bob Hawke, the leader of the Australian Labor party was deposed by Paul Keating; Hewson, the leader of the Australian Liberal party, by Downer. Such blatant treachery rarely wins media criticism, despite its obvious implications. Later glib explanations cannot hide the nature of the act or that of its perpetrator, but treachery no longer wins public odium.
The glaring incompetence of members of parliament is displayed by word and deed. The appalling level of debate in the house reveals that these people have nothing of value to say and no rhetorical skills to hide the fact. Hansard must be one of the world's most boring books, containing the least meaning for the most words.
Record Of Failure
The achievements of these individuals match their eloquence. Recession is the single over-riding problem facing the Country; the spending power of the average citizen is shrinking daily. Unemployment hangs like a spectre over the whole community, affecting everything from the family budget to the future of our children. The ever-worsening economy after years of political interference is undeniable proof of the total incompetence of our elected representatives.
Resort To Pretence
Unable to solve real problems the guardians of the people discover issues suitable to their skill. Issues where their efforts can win them media space and public approbation without risk of failure. Such matters as global warming, pollution, the hole in the ozone layer, women's rights, the dangers of passive smoking, all qualify as ideal bandwagons for them to leap upon. These concerns are intangibles, with no certain indicator of success or failure. This allows our people's champions to claim success whatever the result. A shrinking ozone hole report would be clear vindication of their efforts, with the opposite just confirming the need for their concern.
Official incompetence is nowhere better represented than by the Australian Commonwealth Employment Service (Now-1998 Employment National.) This massive government department, which cost the country an enormous amount of money, was nothing but a white elephant. Its ostensible purpose was to find jobs for the unemployed, and help employers fill vacancies. It was established in a time when jobs outnumbered applicants and the department had a useful purpose, now the reverse is true, applicants far outnumber vacancies, and the department no longer has anything to do. A condition that gives no indication of ever improving, only worsening.
This ridiculous organisation then wasted time, money and effort pursuing a myth. It harasses the recipients of the dole by demanding they spend their time looking for non-existent jobs. Anyone who they believed has not looked hard enough forfeits the meagre dole. It sent agents out into the community asking employers if they are sure they do not have any vacancies. Inducements were offered to firms to create jobs, with the government paying the wages of any junior employed. Local authorities were given money on the condition it was used to employ staff. Just before the federal election where Keating defeated Hewson, it became impossible to drive around the country without being held up by road works. Every other suburb had some major route partially closed as the temporarily employed disrupted traffic flow while improving the official jobless rate. If the created work merited the expense, there would be no need for official bribery. The suspicion must be that the work, hence the employment, was discovered because it suited the electoral aims of the political party then in government; a charade just as silly as running retraining programs to give people skills for jobs that do not exist. Official proclamations of their success are contradicted by the still empty shops, offices and factories.
Change In Name Only
The Commonwealth Employment Service has now (1997) become history, but the attitude it represented remains. A new government department named Centrelink has become the instrument that enforces Job Search and Work For The Dole. While 'Employment National' seems an even worse white elephant than its predecessor. At least the C.E.S. had some useful function by supplying employees to small businesses. The new organisation charges a fee, which makes it too expensive for most businesses to use.
Another Real Problem
Iran acted as an international gangster in sentencing Salman Rushdie to death. The government of Iran openly breached international law by issuing a public reward for the murder of a law-abiding citizen of another country. It was also an attack upon the authority of foreign governments, and the freedom of speech of all peoples of the world. The deafening cowardly silence of the Australian government condoned this offence against humanity. Our national impotence in the face of naked aggression sent a clear message of weakness to all our enemies.
Real Problems Ignored
To deal with Iranian fanaticism, or unemployment, requires talent and courage. Our elected representatives have neither. They ignore the growing number of vacant commercial premises, the escalating foreign debt, the worsening unemployment and keep silent about Salman Rushdie. Instead, they rant about the imaginary and irrelevant. Rather than confront the truth our leaders are happy to allow Australia to regress into a new Dark Age — as long as they keep their jobs.
The Scum Rises To The Top
My private experience with management is clearly not unique or unusual. The farce that inspired 'The Scum Rises To The Top', is enacted every day in public by our politicians. The media's rose coloured glasses cannot hide the awful truth about our trusted executives; public or private, elected or selected. They are incompetents, bolstered by conceit, unrestrained by intelligence, whose sole aim is to win private profit at the public expense.