How excited was I to learn that Tony Abbott’s propensity for saying what he thinks his audience wants to hear has led him to commit to a ‘Cut Red Tape Day” in March.
For once, I thought, a good idea, and I’m determined to play my part.
Fired with determination to serve the common weal, I delved into the red tape that so obviously besets our very existence, searching for the slashable.
You’ll be pleased to know that I have – as the Chinese say – met with success.
First, toys; mountains of regulations determine the quality, dimensions and constituents of children’s’ toys sold in this country. It’s scandalous.
Get rid of it Tony.
What’s that you say? Children might be poisoned or otherwise injured? Let’s not, I reply, allow a few sick kiddies to stand, or lie for that matter, in the way of corporate profitability.
I found the same wherever I looked; vast piles of regs dictate such silly things as vehicle and food safety.
When you apply for practically anything from a government department, you first have to prove you are who you say you are.
What? Do they think we might fib?
Do you know how much red tape is involved in becoming a licensed electrician? Or a brain surgeon? Or an airline pilot? It. Just. Never. Ends.
Form upon form demands completion simply so we can be sure that proper amounts of GST are paid.
Here we are, on a gigantic island, most of the innards of which are near enough unpopulated, and we have to get permission to dump our toxic waste. It can take days, and all the while my toxic waste is sitting in my premises being, well, toxic, while I wait for some lazy bureaucrat to tick a box or two.
There’s even a rule that says you can’t have cockroaches and rats in restaurant kitchens. Well look, these critters have to eat too you know.
Tony’s really onto something here.
But I have this nagging concern.
I began to wonder how it all got there in the first place, all these stupid rules; after all governments only do something when they have to, and they’re the ones who created the red tape at the get go.
Turns out, in every case, there was a driving need that forced government to create a regulation.
So if we’re to get rid of them, then one of three conditions must apply:
- The original problem no longer exists;
- A better solution has been found and is in place; or
- We must be willing to forego whatever benefit the red tape was originally put in place to afford.
If it turns out to be the last option, then I wonder if we’ll be given a chance to decide how willing we are; or not.
Abbott’s Red Tape Day may turn out to be rather a short one.