Tasmanian Times


Should we give this man a job?

John Hawkins’ estimate of the abilities of Tasmanian politicians in the lead-up to the March election. First in the dock: Graeme Sturges

BRAIN snap Sturges provides the classic example of a union promoting an executive into politics, thereby enabling a postman to become a politician in a Labor elected Government, which due to lack of talent and elected numbers gives him access to a Ministry.

However well-intentioned the man, he has proved himself to be not up to the job and completely out of his depth.

Sturges is a serial creator of infrastructure disasters, a collapsed railway system, the marooned Flinders Islanders, quad axle semi trailers on pot holed or dirt roads, all culminating in his failure to apply for the Federal Infrastructure Grants on behalf of the State of Tasmania.

I ask, should we give this man a job?

In the next Parliament the people of Tasmania whatever their political persuasion must elect people of some competence.

In the real world outside politics Sturges’ behaviour would suggest that he is completely unemployable.

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  1. John Hawkins

    March 3, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    The front page of today’s paper states Mr Sturges is ‘humbled’ that his supporters are prepared to endorse him as a candidate; he should be amazed.

  2. salamander

    January 29, 2010 at 10:56 am

    Turgid Sturges would have to rate as our most useless adornment of the current parliament. But his ueslessness is also a reflection of the total lack of leadership that is available from Bartlett, who is more concerned about keeping his mates, those with the real power, happy, than he is in leadership. Perhaps when you have solidarity, leadership becomes unnecessary as the process of ass-kissing must be more like a circle.
    A disgusting thought, appropriate for a disgusting bunch of useless morons.

  3. Justa Bloke

    January 23, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    I cheerfully admit that, if elected to any position at any level of government, I would be as useless as all other politicians have been. I reckon that so would all of you, too.

    To argue the relative merits of our rulers is to miss the point.

    It’s the system that is wrong, but it’s still better than any other system that’s been tried, and probably the best system we are ever going to get.

  4. Leonard Colquhoun

    January 23, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Good one, Comment 16 – it’s a reminder to us, including Comment 8, about the line in To Kill a Mockingbird about walking a mile in a man’s shoes before judging him.

    (Shouldn’t stop us from having a go, tho’!!)

  5. phill Parsons remains beyond salvation

    January 23, 2010 at 11:54 am

    As no one commenting, including myself, is, has been or is likely to be a Minister of the Crown, it is well to consider some points.

    Firstly, you have to be acceptable to the party, including sometimes even its members, rather than just the machine.

    Then you must convince some and fool other voters in sufficient numbers to get elected. Different for multi-member seats but still with similar elments.

    Then you must convince your leader if Liberal or the caucus if Labor, do a deal if holding the balance of power or another process as yet untested for another party.

    Having passed through all these sieves the party’s finest are now in the Ministerial hot seat. The capacity to get a competent outcome is improved by the greater number of members to choose from.

    This is a problem particular to the NT, the ACT and TAS in the national context but failure in other jurisdiction occurs as we saw with WA Inc.

    From this time on one has to lead for your portfolio and accept the leaders or the cabinet teams decisions and go oout to sell them.

    Your advisors in the deprtment are fixtures, expect for the senior level. It is these advsors who have worked to create the problems you have to deal with and they will advise you how to fix them, thus completing the circle of competence

    This advice, consisting of a mix of evidence, experience and the influenmce of lobbyists you will take to Cabinet and try to convince your colleagues to support it, including funding it.

    Every so often you will have to go theough the process again as the electral cycle rolls round.

    Bartlett faces a combination of being loyal to a member of a small team, being tied by factional alliances and having no other choice, as all the acceptable talent Labor has is deployed.

    Without a crisis Sturgess would have appeared the part, but he has faced those made by the department, by the transport industry and he has made his own rods to apply.

    He now appears to be the world’s most incompetent Minister, although I am not familiar enough with the cockups everywhere to be be the final judge.

    Even when on a winner, such as his comments on riding in a bus in Launceston, he appears to have no concept of the import of his utternaces. Claiming it as his first bus trip he approved of the service. How emapathetic for those with no other choice and more likely to be his party’s constituency.

    There are 2 ways we can change this Minister. The somewhat unlikely election of new Labor talent or the election of a team of completely new talent. Here is a test for the competency of the voter.

    Then we return to the competency of the advisors and so the circle continues.

  6. Justa Bloke

    January 23, 2010 at 1:00 am

    All that is required from a politician in this state is the ability to be (a) corrupt, (b) incompetent or (c) ineffective.

    One out of three ain’t bad. It means Sturgo’s not the worst.

  7. john Hayward

    January 22, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    I would have to support Dave G on Sturgo’s employability. He could easily land a job as an FT CEO, a Chief Justice, a Health Dept honcho, a Governor, or a Heritage Comm boss. For a Tas inc insider with no discernible talent or scruples, the sky’s the limit. Remember that “natural” is an old-fashion word for “idiot”.

    John Hayward

  8. Mike Adams

    January 22, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    #7. At election time the charcoal grey suits are enhanced by fluorescent vests. Natty white plastic helmets are also to be seen, usually miles away from any thing overhead that might fall or into which they might bump. Barring thunderbolts.

  9. Leonard Colquhoun

    January 22, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    In a response to some posts to a Mercury story this January (didn’t keep the date), I made these arguments about much the same issue.

    An important point about MPs and what they can or can’t do, Rob [10:52am Tuesday] “Why do we employ politicians . . . that seem to have absolutely no idea of how to run essential public services?”, and Amy of Hobart [9:25am] “Mr Aird . . . has not got the experience or knowledge to undertake his duties”.

    We don’t appoint Ministers of Health because of previous medical experience, or Minsters of Transport because they have driven trains, sailed ships or piloted aeroplanes. MPs are supposed to be representative of us, and to have enough real life & work experience to make sensible adult choices after getting recommendations & advice from the experts, the sorts of people who ought to be in the public service.

    However, these days too many MPs don’t have that real life experience, and Rob is right to call them “Play-Schoolers” – look at their love of dressing up in hard-hats & fluoro-vests. As well, the public service is no longer the impartial pool of knowledge and experience it once was; they are now PC toadies (with dodgy degrees in ‘Studies’) appointed by each incoming govt. We the People are doubly stiffed.

    Consider these lines from Wikipedia on the pre-parliamentary career of Victoria’s just-resigned Minister for Transport:

    “Kosky was educated at Footscray High School, and graduated from the University of Melbourne in 1980 with a Bachelor of Social Work . . . . After a few months of unemployment, she got a job as a social worker at the Victorian Department of Education, but finding she was not suited to counselling, became a community education officer. . . . [and got] work as a government policy advisor and a year later she was elected to the City of Footscray council, becoming Mayor in 1988. . . . In 1993 . . . Kosky ran for the state parliament seat of Altona, a safe Labor seat in Melbourne’s western suburbs.”

    There is nothing in her life between leaving school and entering parliament which puts her in the company of the people she is supposed to have been representative of. And this is now the norm – we have a political class, or cadre, who are disconnected from us.

    Comment 5 notes that “a train driver became one of our better PMs”. There are no train drivers – and no room for train drivers, yuk! think of all that pollution!! – in today’s ALP.

  10. P Burns

    January 22, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Sturgo does look good in a suit and so I guess he is qualified according to HR sources within the ALP.
    If you look at typical ALP stooges like Kerr or Adams, Hulme, Butler, Green, Kons or O’Brien, they do look good in a suit. They accomplish nothing for the people of Tasmania, but they do look good in a suit, which impresses their voters and this is all that matters.
    Really thats all that matters, the people of Tasmania like a good suit and they get what they vote for, vaccuous, impetuous,ignorant followers of anything with a paid up subscription to the ALP. We deserve these sartorially elegant fools, because we democratically elect them with a majority and if you don’t get it, change the suits.

  11. Sos

    January 22, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    I would not hesitate in saying that Graeme Sturges is the most inefficient, ineffective, incompetant, immature, undiscliplined, unruly, uncaring, and generally narcissistic senior public official in Tasmania.

    Even the most dyed-in-the-wool Labor members and supporters must be scratching their heads in disbelief.

    I can only hope that the people of Denison are taking notice.

  12. John Biggs

    January 22, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    I would agree on almost all counts. The measure of the politician is his inexcusable incompetence in letting the Federal Infrastructure Grant slip through his fingers, the measure of the man is the brain-snap incident. But ‘a postman becoming a politician’ has an overtone I can’t endorse: a train driver became one of our better PMs. (And a lawyer one of our worst).

  13. Mike Bolan

    January 22, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Neither Mr Stuges, nor the State government, have any understanding of providing a coherent standard of service.

    The result is a race to the bottom as different excuses for non performance are aired.

    Until and unless we have a government that actually values taxpayers and commits to delivering a fixed standard of service, things are likely to get both worse and more expensive.

  14. Christopher Purcell

    January 22, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    How rude. Sturgo’s a great politician. A true believer working hard & long for the little man…& his company…

    He exhibits all the necessary qualities & abilities needed in a politician from the Lib/Lab coalition. After all, he knows how to get himself in & out of his government limousine by himself; he knows how to make a story up as he goes along instead of reading the speech prepared for him by a taxpayer paid spin-doctor; he knows how to put staff firmly back in their place; he knows how to make sure that the ‘free’ food & alcohol doesn’t go to waste; he knows how to look at the smaller things & let the larger issues take care of themselves. He has priorities. what more could taxpayers ask of this man? Give him a break. Make it permanent.

  15. Dave Groves

    January 22, 2010 at 9:46 am

    Unfortunately John, he is highly employable in the real world.

    And that my friend, is a problem for the population.

    How that scenario came about, is also a problem for the population.

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