Posted by Whistler 680 words
There was a huge response to the ‘Giant Local Government Utopia Quiz’. Not unexpectedly, the winner was Gordon Brittas, star of the Brittas Empire (a 1980’s documentary series about local government). For the record, here are the answers:
- True. Public servants have an implied constitutional right to express private political opinions but the opinions mustn’t be expressed to anyone else. This is because it is widely acknowledged that allowing public servants to contribute to public discourse could undermine the infeasibility of political decisions and confuse people with logic.
- False. TotalPave is not a municipal engineering project to cover the world’s surface with concrete with 1% fall. It is the innovative idea of some college students in the U.S. that we will studiously ignore in Australia. Well done.
- False. The ‘Women of Bologna’ is not a new municipal sitcom showing on Netflix. No, women in Bologna have joined forces to work with local government and care for public infrastructure, forcing the creation of the innovative and precisely worded ‘The Regulation on Collaboration Between Citizens and the Administration for the Care and Regeneration of Urban Commons’. Citizens are now helping their cash-strapped council instead of strapping their council for cash. Amazing really.
- False. Public value, best value, value for money and value-adding are all related ideas that your council may talk about but it will have no real idea how to make happen. These terms are often heard in conjunction with innovation, efficiency and cost saving – more ideas that councils have very little idea about.
- False. Despite occasional conjecture to the opposite, John Seddon and Mark H. Moore have pretty much wasted their time since the last century writing about the problems with current public sector management and proposing alternatives. Never mind, there is always next century.
- False. Slacktivism is rife in local government. It is becoming an epidemic. Anyway, it beats face to face engagement or any other form of engagement that requires effort and for people to be accountable for their views.
- True. There are no followers in local government, only leaders. Everyone is a leader. Many of those leaders are highly innovative and do not conform to traditional leadership practice, which dictates that when something goes well the team is given credit and when it goes badly the leader takes the blame. It is one area where local government leads.
- True. Local government rate capping is not the equivalent of knee capping, window capping or introducing a new player into the Australian cricket team. It is an attempt to stop the most accessible and responsive level of government from being accessible and responsive when inaccessible and unresponsive levels of government have successfully been inaccessible and unresponsive. Well done again.
- False. Because councils are asking families to obtain permission to use public parks and then charging a fee for a permit, does not mean that councils believe people are not smart enough or don’t have sufficient wit to work it out how to share a park themselves. No. It is simply saying that councils reckon they are so much better at working these things out. In fact, all governments are. Letting people make decisions and sort matters out for themselves has led to conflict all over the world. Government intervention is the answer.
- False. The Strategic Triangle is not the local government equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle, where people and ideas are mysteriously lost without trace. It is a simple to understand and even easier to ignore idea about the fundamental relationship between politicians, public administration and the community in the use of authority to create services that the community finds valuable. Never mind.
- False. Wanksy is an internationally celebrated artist whose ephemeral and inspirational works are quickly obliterated by councils in accordance with their road management plans. Like his namesake Banksy, his work has challenged public policy and the way councils respond to illegal artworks. I say bring on more asphalt.
- False. This quiz was not intended to highlight the systematic failure of local governments to think about what they do and take heed of information and thinking that is freely available. It is simply a bit of fun.