Wednesday, March 22, 2006

AWB fiasco

The media coverage of the AWB affair keeps ramping up, with the latest reports now indicating that the PM and foreign minister would have definately been advised that the AWB was paying bribes in order to do business in Iraq. Well, how do I interpret this news ?

I've heard many on the left suggest that scalps should roll, and those involved or aware of the corruption should be replaced. Well all AWB officials involved seem to have already been replaced, and it looks like nobody in the government has yet to suffer the same fate.

Whilst the left call for the ministers aware of the corruption to be replaced (the ALP just want to replace the Libs in the long run and have their position of power), there is a larger issue which is always avoided by the media. Namely, why on earth should government be involved with exporting wheat overseas ?

Its mostly the fans of big government and the nanny state (most of them lefties) that always call for accountability and supremely high standards in our public sector. Its gotten to the point now where the media and opposition continually fuss over these questions:

  • "Who knew what?"
  • "When did they know?"
  • "Why didn't they act?"
If you ask me, the only reason these questions are repeated ad nauseum is not because of some genuine shock at the enormity of some alleged scandal. The same questions get asked when the department of immigration deport someone wrongfully. Or over the Iraq WMD intelligence. For me, its really simple, they want the guy under scrutiny replaced (by someone else whose politics are more aligned to their beliefs).

The ABC and fairfax media want to discredit Howard's government and create public outrage. The ALP headkickers like Kevin Rudd give them many quotes to report. The other arms of the media see the frenzy and decide they need to cover the issue as well, because its becoming more prominent. The media usually move as a pack, and once a few players cover the issue, the rest of them need to cover it to give the appearance of impartiality.

But its not just the left who are guilty of this practice. In Victoria, we have a socialist big-spending Bracks government. The Herald Sun play the same game whenever Bracks is caught spending outrageous amounts on ridiculous public works. The reason the mainstream media play this endless game, through different governments and over different issues, is because they still view themselves as superior honest investigators who keep the bastards honest.

The media love looking at every problem in society and linking it to the responsible minister. The underlying assumption behind this mentality is that government should be given enough power to be responsible for everything that goes on; and don't you worry, trust us in the mainstream media to keep them accountable and keep the public informed.

So through all the hours of media coverage and the hundreds of articles over the AWB issue, nobody has asked the important questions.
  • Why was government trusted with the responsibility in the first place ?
  • Should there be a government enforced monopoly exporter of wheat ?
  • Isn't it more than likely that if government regulates a large industry and holds a lot of power, that there will be private groups who will have huge incentives to try to lobby goverment or get around the regulation ?
  • Instead of getting a minister or public servant to resign, isn't it safer to destroy their job and the powers that go with it altogether ?