Bungling Bureaucrats Bugger Brands…again

Sorry about the last post – I hit the ‘publish’ button instead of the ‘preview’ button, which is why it may have seemed incomplete.

If you live in Australia, you would have to be dead to have missed last week’s “blackest day in sport” announcement by a couple of Federal Government ministers.

Apparently there has been a major investigation into sport over the last couple of years and the report of the findings was released last week. The investigation uncovered some use of drugs and organised crime in sport. The criminal element related to supply of drugs and sports betting.

To say this surprised nobody was an understatement – there will always be criminals involved in anything involving gambling in which the outcome can be manipulated. As a country policeman decades ago, my grandfather was regularly offered tips on horse races by jockeys who hoped to curry favour with the local constabulary. Being the honest cop that he was, he never gambled, but apparently the tips were spot-on.

But back to last week. There are now two furores raging over the announcement. The first is that there is apparently a drug problem in a handful of selected sports. Yet the report doesn’t name the culprits.

This has led to the second and now noisier furore. Because of the way the bureaucrats launched the report, with its incredible lack of detail, every Australian sportsperson is now assumed guilty until proven innocent. The announcement made headline news around the world: “Australian sport riddled with drugs” blared CNN for example.

Should we be questioning and testing Cadel Evans, Sally Pearson, Ian Thorpe, Adam Scott or that pin-up of Aussie athleticism, Simon Whitlock? (for those who don’t know, he’s a legendary World Darts Champion) Those darts lads may imbibe the odd beer or two when they train, but I’m sure it’s not considered an enhancement?

Simon Whitlock
Simon Whitlock

The bungling bureaucrats have tainted all Australian sport in their ham-fisted “look at me, I’ve got a big announcement that will help my career” media conference. How can anyone be trusted to be drug-free while the details remain hidden? Australian sport has a reputation for being clean and drug-free. John Fahey (a former NSW Premier) heads the international agency responsible for drug testing, blah, blah, blah. In one swift blow these fools who announced the report into drug use, have made Australian sports people and administrators guilty until proven innocent.

In fact, the furore over the way the announcement was handled is now bigger than the reaction to the contents of the report. It will be curious to see how bad the problem really is, once details are revealed and the drug-cheats apprehended. This story won’t go away for a while and who knows the long-term damage to Australia’s sporting reputation (its brand in marketing-speak)?

But of course the politicians weren’t thinking about that when they made the announcement. They were more concerned with grandstanding (had to get a sports pun in somewhere). Instead they turned it into the “Blackest Day in the Bureaucracy”.

And to show that the long arm of the bureaucracy stretches from the highest level of government to the lowly local council parking ranger, yesterday there was almost an old-fashioned lynching in my local suburb.

The Manly Council was at it again – see earlier post about Manly Library. The Council has cynically changed the parking rules to ensure they make as much money as possible via meters, parking stations and parking fines. They employ a team of Rangers who patrol the beach-side suburb, digital cameras in hand, on a mission to fine as many people as possible in their daily shift.

But in the afternoon sun yesterday they reached a new low. At the St Matthews Church on The Corso, there was a wedding taking place – you know what they are, most people regard them as a special day in their life.

The wedding car was a lovely champagne coloured Rolls Royce. It was probably hired for a small fortune. It delivered the bride to the church and parked in the spot where all wedding cars park – the mail zone area adjacent to the space reserved for weddings and funeral cars. As you know the mail vans don’t pick up mail on Saturday and he was parked across the mail and wedding spots because that’s how the wedding cars had lined up when they parked, given the space available.

There were no funerals yesterday my friends (or mail collection), just the happy nuptials of a young couple starting their married life together. But you guessed it. The local Ranger took it upon himself, because in the “Bureaucrats Book of Bungling Bollocks” his job description says he must fine cars that are illegally parked.

As locals and wedding guests alike screamed at him to stop, he exclaimed “I’ve walked around the block and the car is still parked here”. Well there’s a stroke of genius mate. Of course it’s still there. It’s waiting for the bride and groom to finish their wedding ceremony. But he was intent on fining them and ruining their day. He was lucky to get out alive. I don’t have a photo as my wife witnessed this and relayed it to me. Though I am sure photos will appear online as dozens of angry onlookers were photographing him while he photographed the wedding car.

We can only hope they had a wonderful day regardless. Certainly the Ranger didn’t help improve the reputation of Manly as a wedding venue.

The Manly Council bureaucracy is a reflection of the bigger problem, demonstrated by the sport report debacle. Just because you are elected to a position of government doesn’t mean you have any qualifications to do the job – most are completely unqualified. But that’s democracy for you.

We’d probably get better decisions and service if a bunch of clerks threw darts at some post-it-notes on a wall, each note with a different decision written on them. But come to think of it, someone would have OH&S issues, there could be public liability insurance claims, repetitive throwing injury issues….

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