FEDERATION CHAMBER, 15 OCTOBER 2018
When Senator Cormann addressed the APSwide Canberra conference last week he laid out his plans to invigorate the Australian Public Service. Like any propagandist, he tried to take control of the situation by taking charge of the words that defined it, but he forgot that Canberrans can read between the lines.
Fairfax Media got the picture, with the headline 'Cuts are good for you, Cormann tells public servants'.
Canberrans are entitled to wonder why Senator Cormann thinks so differently to them when it comes to cuts. After all, cuts hurt, don't they?
So what has inspired Senator Cormann's Orwellian strategy of making the public service better by making it weaker? The LNP may have gotten a taste of bloodletting of late, charmed by the discredited medical notion that spilling a bit of blood can cure all ills. In Senator Cormann's attitude to the public service, I can see an advocate for that groundbreaking 18th century medical technology, advising always to expel bad blood with little regard for the ultimate outcome.
I'm reminded of the role this kind of cutting to cure played in George Washington's final hours. Washington woke one morning with an inflamed throat and, in an attempt to cure it, doctors removed 40 per cent of his blood. He died that evening. Bloodletting may not have been the only cause of death for Washington, but it certainly weakened his ability to fight.
Perhaps that is Senator Cormann's real surgical intent.
Authorised by Noah Carroll ALP Canberra