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SA politics: more spin « Previous | |Next »
December 17, 2003

Now for something more substantial than reading about lifestyle in the regions. It is a story that has similarities to what has been happening in NSW recently.

The Rann Labor Government announces that it will split the super department of Human Services put together under the former Olsen Liberal Government into two:---a health department and a welfare department. More restructuring. This is a department that undergoes constant restructuring----that is all head office does these days.

This time the restructuring is because the two ministers involved Stevens and Keys, cannot get along and work together. They want their own territory. So how is this to be presented and sold when the idea of human services department was widely accepted as a good idea?

We find the answer in the newspaper this morning. Blame the Department. It needs to be made more accountable. The reason?

The Rann Government says that the Health Services Department was riddled with mismanagement. The gist of what Kevin Foley, the Treasurer, said was that:

'...officers in the Human Services Department routinely had shifted money among health, housing, child protection and community services to "plug holes" in the budget....There are issues of money being misallocated, misdirected, money underspent, money overspent, money meant for housing spent in health, money meant for kids spent in health, money meant for health spent in family and community services...evidence of "a culture of mismanagement" was detected earlier this year following the resignation of senior financial officers and the appointment of a new executive director of corporate services and a new chief financial officer. They uncovered some financial mismanagement issues and highlighted a culture within the department that allowed internal transfers to occur that compounded the financial problems of the agency.'

Then we have the standard bad guys good guys spin. The problem can be sourced back to the former Liberal Government. They created the mess. The AlP will clean it up by being tough.

The spinners and advisors must think we citizens are fools. We know that shifting money around is done under the authority of the Ministers: the underperforming Stevens and Keys. They did so because there was not enough to fund the day to day emergencies. So the emergencies are dealt with by shifting money around: hence money meant for housing was spent in health, and money meant for health was spent in family and community services. That is what public adminstration amounts to these days.

Why the budget shortfall? Because the Rann Government has been making large cuts to the Human Services Department budget in order to please the money market. It is committed to small government and budget surpluses.

The Rann Government deals with the political fallout of a dysfunctional health system---symbolized by the dreadful delivery of health services in Mt Gambier---by making the officers in the Human Services department the scapegoat. The Ministers evade all responsibility for the consequences of the Rann Government's own actions in underfunding heath and welfare whilst talking in terms of defending Labor values.

Even The Advertiser can see the cheap political ploy.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:58 AM | | Comments (5)


Wouldn't surprise to see a Labor Govt in Canberra and Libs in the States after the next round of elections. Ho Hum!

And the health system still in a mess.

Mess? Mess is a relative term.

Define a 'mess'

The health system in Mt Gambier.

It's not working too well, is it?