Outsourcing Responsibility

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It is becoming more embarrassing to call ourselves Australians.  This week we reached a new low.  Outsourcing treatment of Ebola.  Does the government believe there is nothing money can’t buy?

So this is how it works.  The government are prepared to throw a couple of million at fighting Ebola to keep people off their back, but not to actually do something about it.  The people actually doing the work say “No”.  The money cannot be spent because there are not enough people on the ground doing the work.  The government then gets pressured to provide physical aid to fight Ebola.

Are there people available within Australia.  We have volunteers who are already working there.  More are ready to go.  We have a military with field hospitals.  In comparison to many countries, our medical staff have excellent training, and we have the access to equipment and drugs.

Now comes the embarrassing part.  The government decides to outsource it to a company who will recruit candidates from other countries to carry out the work.  The concept of “Team Australia” does not cover physically helping out other members of the human race who face a crisis.  I guess it is the same approach to turning back boats.  God forbid, one of “Team Australia” might contract the disease.  Better not to get your hands dirty.  Avoid the risk.  Could end up with bad publicity for Abbott.  They probably found that when one of our military died in Afghanistan, their popularity rating dropped 0.1%.  What would an aid worker with Ebola do to our popularity?

So if our response to Ebola can be outsourced, what else?  How about we outsource our diplomatic missions around the world?  Serco could probably provide ambassadorial services in Washington. Gina Reinhart wants to outsource her mine workforce to someone who will work for a few dollars a day.  Maybe we could do away with the Navy and subcontract marine defence to China.  The air force could get planes from North Korea.  Why create a budget when you have KPMG or PriceWaterhouseCooper ready to step in.  The bonus is the government has someone to blame for the budget.  And while you are at it, outsource Treasury to Macquarie Bank.

I would like to introduce the Abbott government to a word.  It is called “Responsibility”.  The mark of a good government is that it takes responsibility for the things it has to do.  The reverse is also true.  The mark of a bad government is that it outsources responsibility for the things it has to do.  That is why I am embarrassed.