28 Feb 2010, Comments (7)

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Find out what it means

Author: Helen

You know when a government come up with something that just really stinks of “cooked up by a PR company”? To give him credit, our State Premier John Brumby took on board that the recent attacks on Indian students and workers in Melbourne really did have a racist component and didn’t try to take the “Racist? Who? Us? How dare you!” route. But. Come on. Wasn’t there anyone in the State PR machine to say “hang on a minute guys, I think this might cause widespread uncontrollable laughter, eyerolling and blowing of mighty raspberries from the people we are trying to impress with our Sincerity™?

A FORMER AFL footballer is the nation’s first “respect” minister after being appointed by the Victorian government to tackle the growing racism and alcohol fuelled violence problems in the state.
Premier John Brumby announced Justin Madden would be the minister for the “respect agenda” as part of his election year cabinet reshuffle following the shock resignation of embattled Transport Minister Lynne Kosky this week.

I mean… Madden! Not only does he come from the background of Australian Rules football – a milieu which is trying with limited success to shake off its reputation for a lack of respect when it comes to women and people of other races and cultures. He’s also the minister least likely to be associated with the word “respect” by the long suffering inhabitants of Victoria. He has a long history of showing respect to developers and money, and none to architecturally significant buildings, grasslands, coastal communities or the planning rules set up to make our city livable. This leaked email about setting up a false public consultation process for a development has shown just how much respect Madden and the Vic Government have for the people of his State and the iconic buildings and places which they love.

Really, I’m not under any illusion that the Victorian government has our best interests at heart – let alone those of international students – but you’d think with all the money from developers pouring into the party coffers, they’d be able to come up with a more sophisticated PR response to the problem.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T – Find out what it means, before you create a ministry of it.
Crossposted at Larvatus Prodeo, with bonus Bernice

Comments (7)

  • Armagny says:

    Ay, sacking the media adviser was also trite and abusive.

    The strategy she came up with was hardly novel, nor even the worst I’ve seen in terms of ethics etc. And it’s pretty obvious she came up with it because she expected that was what her superiors wanted, with no doubt some good reason.

    AND while we consider it legit for our Ministers, at state and federal levels, to spend their limited adviser budgets on spin doctors (rather than say substantive policy or subject matter experts) this really ought to be assumed as par for the course.

  • Bernice says:

    Arr yes- democracy Ozstralya style – youse get the lucky door prize for doing what any self-respecting PR person would have done; meanwhile some other bludger gets another 5 year contract after getting balled out by her minister in a state vs fed shindig (not to mention having oops! silly me lost 383 queue-jumperes people.

    Perhaps Brumby is hoping Madden will learn all about respect? About as useful as making Graham Richardson, Minister for Parliamentary and Public Service Standards. Don’t these people know how hard it is to do irony when they pull stunts like this?

  • Helen says:

    Don’t these people know how hard it is to do irony when they pull stunts like this?

    ROFL. I’m stealing that…

  • TimT says:

    If they’re going to have a Respect Portfolio, are they going to have a Niceness Agenda, and a Ministerial Inquiry into Politeness, and a Department for Drinking Tea in the Appropriate Manner?

  • Ed says:

    I agree. It is a bit hard to take all this seriously when this is the guy that gave himself executive authority to push through any planning process roughshod over Melbourne city council and Geelong council. As well as being recently sprung for sham consultations.

    Although government does sham consultations all the time. The question is really if they get caught out or not. A lot of time consultation by government is just a process check box where they can then turn around and say ‘Well the people have been consulted,’ then proceed to do what they want anyway. Same applies for research, basically the government only wants research that tells them what they already believe.

    Firmly convinced they only do the right thing when they are held to account by the public through public protest and dissent.

  • Helen says:

    Sorry to take so long to fish you out of the moderation queue, Ed!

  • […] Because their “planning” minister, Justin Madden, gives a tick to any project which the consortiums and developers want, over the objections to any informed protest, destroying priceless environmental and architectural treasures as he goes. They plan for sham consultations and then add insult to injury by trying to paper over this by starting a “department of respect”, headed by…? Justin Madden! […]

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