Well, at least when it comes to social policy and their treatment of the ACT community (Us). And certainly when it comes to the language they use – a dead give away. Consider what the Office of Regulatory Services has to say about Designated Outdoor Smoking Areas. And please note that I am not taking issue with the notion of having separate smoking areas. I like many other don’t like hazy smoke filled areas. That’s about clean air.
‘The main purpose of a DOSA is to allow an area for customers to briefly enter in order to smoke and then return to non-smoking areas of the premises. It is not intended to be a place to ‘hang out’ and socialise. Consequently, there are restrictions on what can occur in a DOSA.’
It has to be one of the gems of Australian politics. Tobacco is not illegal, yet the Stanhope government goes as far as to send a message that clearly indicates they want a section of the population discriminated against to the extent that it is OK for the government to take steps to prevent them from ‘hanging out and socialising’. And it goes further.
The Stanhope government even goes as far as to define what the entertainment is that must be banned so that DOSA is unattractive.
‘The Act defines entertainment as including television (for example, televised sporting events), but does not include public announcements or recorded music. For example, premises may provide taped music in the DOSA and announcements such as “Meal number 35 is ready”. It should be noted that the definition of entertainment in the legislation is not exhaustive. Entertainment would include other forms of entertainment such as viewing sport, playing sport, radio broadcasts or live music etc.’
Well bugger me. If I choose to enter a DOSA and listen to my iPod I bloody well will!
As I say, the language is a dead give away and the approach of making an area unattractive? Smacks of psychology 101. So again more behaviourist manipulation.
But let’s go further with this. I don’t know about anyone else, but the apparently endless regulation of the lives of individuals and the collective life of the community is a hallmark of the ACT Government. Office of Regulatory Services? Smacks of the Stanhope Governments brown bombers. Is the Canberra community that lawless and individual citizens so inconsiderate of one another that the administrative boot of this government needs to endlessly stamp its ugly imprint on the community? I think not.
Not let’s shift to a slightly bigger picture. The ACT government behaves less like a State or Territory government and more like a local council that is out of control. Mind you, it is also worth noting that over the past ten years the pendulum has swung away from the rights of citizens and more toward the right of governments – to walk all over there own citizens.
Mind you, at the same time the Stanhope government can’t get health right, small business continues to drown in red tape, the transport system is a mess and let’s not talk about the fact they even seem to find it hard to keep the roads and footpaths in good repair. Balance that against the fact that the only thing they seem to be consistently good at is gouging more and more money from the community in the form of taxes and charges.
Of course, some of this comes down to the public roles played by individual politicians. If you look at the media performance of Katy Gallagher problems rarely get acknowledged, Andrew Barr continues to play wedge politics with the Canberra community – e.g Trying to play baby boomers and younger members of he community off against one another over urban infill – and John Stanhope nigh on plays the role of Pontious Pilate when an problems come up. Talk about a triad of denial.
And the bottom line? Maybe at the next election we should vote for whichever party has the courage and trust to run a truly consultative government and place more of an emphasise on individual freedom and community responsibility. And one that is transparent I might add.
If I had to place the Stanhope government on a political spectrum I would describe some of their behaviours as heading towards the fascist end of the scale. However, let’s be kind and call it paternalism out of control.
Anyone going to hang out and socialise this Christmas?