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Why are governments not accountable?

April 7th, 2008 · Greg Atkinson · 3 Comments

Did you hear about the former NSW Health Minister recently in court charged with gross negligence….no? Well neither did I. In fact do you recall any Minister State or Federal, being held account in the courts for negligence or any senior public servants for that matter? Probably not.

It seems we have strict Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) laws that will chase down company directors for safety breaches in the workplace, but if you oversee a hospital system with systemic failures that appears to be okay. Politicians seem quite willing to rant and rave about regulation and accountability in the private sector, but in the public sector nobody really seems to be held to account.

How can we have a situation for example in NSW where patients have suffered malnutrition while in hospital and nobody seems to be held to account? I have seen our public hospitals in action from my own personal experience and in my opinion they are a disgrace. It is not all about money, I was none too impressed with many of the staff who seemed to lack basic human relationship skills and I think checking to see that patients are eating well is not a budget is a care issue.

But at the end of the day as the saying goes “a fish rots from it’s head”. Sadly, we just seem to end up with heads in government predisposed to rotting. Worse still, the public keeps voting many of the “rotting heads” back into government so I guess nothing will ever change.

The reason governments are unaccountable is because sadly, the public does not hold them to account. Think about this before you blindly vote for your local M.P. next time…if he/she is one of the rotting heads then do something about it – vote them out of office!

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Ned S // Apr 28, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    Same goes for Senior Public Servants for mine – A bit of accountabilty please!

    Re same: I seem to recall that Hank Paulson was smart enough to get a “no accountability for anything” clause written into his original stimulus package legislation. So far as I know Geithner doesn’t have one though. And he just maybe should have if there was any truth in the following because my gut reaction on reading it was surely American legislation must something about such stuff and want to hold someone accountable???

    But then maybe not. And in a pinch, Presidential pardons are good … Yes!

  • 2 Greg Atkinson // Apr 28, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    Ned S – yes I agree, senior public servants should also be held accountable. In regards to the U.S. I am guessing they have the same back covering little clauses that pretty much makes sure people in power are rarely held accountable. If you were a CEO in the U.S and you failed to provide safety equipment to your workers and one of you staff was killed because of this, you would be facing criminal charges. (and civil action as well I would imagine) But look at Donald Rumsfeld… he sent people to Iraq with insufficient equipment, troops were killed and what happened to him? Not even a slap on the wrist!

  • 3 Ned S // Apr 28, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    From what I can make of Presidential pardons Greg, the outgoing President writes out one for everyone in his administration who just could need one for anything before stepping down. And it is pretty much a given that the new chap will write one out for his predecessor if the need happens to arise.

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