Bureaucracy Gotta Grow

Bureaucracy Gotta Grow, by Mark Latham, ex-leader of the Australian Labor Party.

It’s the iron law of government administration. After a new bureaucracy is established, initially with limited powers and responsibilities, it will grow exponentially, spending more money, imposing more regulation and interfering in more lives. Eventually, it will be unrecognisable from the body legislators intended. It will become an unaccountable, intensely unpopular exercise in the use of unelected power. Then the policy makers who created it have to figure out how to get rid of it.

This is the circular nature of state power. Once created, the time comes when it needs to be restricted. For conservatives and libertarians, it’s a task in perpetuity.  …

Example: Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins

Jenkins has been trying to prove that Australian men are sex fiends. She ran this argument about university students but then Bettina Arndt shot down her statistics. Our campuses are actually the safest place in the nation for women.

Last week, Jenkins produced another publicly-funded report, this time on sexual harassment in the workplace. It included her usual trick of redefining sexual harassment to include ‘staring or leering’ at attractive women, risqué ‘jokes’ and ‘repeated invitations to go out on dates’.

Not surprisingly, the report identified lots of sex fiends in our workplaces, but perhaps not those that Left-feminists expected. The worst offenders were in the ‘progressive’ media and arts industries – proving yet again the theory that most Lefties are perverts, in the style of Harvey Weinstein. By contrast, the boofy, working class industries of farming, fishing, forestry and construction recorded low rates of harassment.

Jenkins is another worrying example of mission creep. When Australia’s Sex Discrimination Act was passed in 1984, it was designed as a defensive piece of legislation — to take up individual cases of bias against women. It was never intended as a mechanism for social engineering. No one thought it would redefine the meaning of words like ‘harassment’ or institutionalise new forms of discrimination against men. Yet that’s where Jenkins has taken it.

At the National Press Club last week, she said she has developed two ways of interfering in the fairness of Australian employment practices. The first is through ‘targets with teeth’, quasi-quotas that abandon merit selection and reserve positions for women at the expense of men. The second is ‘special measures’ under the Sex Discrimination Act, giving employers exemptions from the law, allowing them to actively discriminate against males.

This is the danger in the Jenkins agenda. She has created new forms of prejudice, supposedly to overcome old forms of discrimination. As a social justice strategy, it’s disastrous. It develops a new wrong to deal with an old wrong. It turns men and women against each other, dividing the nation along gender lines. Worst of all, it abandons the great Australian principle of merit – the fairest way to run a society.

Yup. Perverse bureaucracy, where we pay them to stuff up our lives. How can we vote to get rid of these awful parasites?

hat-tip Stephen Neil