Flat White

Our staffer brats are just part of a deeper political malaise

22 February 2021

5:17 PM

22 February 2021

5:17 PM

It’s a pleasant surprise to read “The rise of the staffer brat” and see that at least someone agrees with me about the rising adviser class. The article is a welcome addition to current knowledge of the political process.   

I have always thought that even calling them advisers was ridiculous. If any minister actually needs advice from one of these upstarts, he or she should not be a minister.  

How could “advisers” possibly have any knowledge and experience that could be of any value to a minister when they are still wet behind the ears and have had no experience of the real world on which to build their advice? And yet, they are elevated to this absurd level which implies they are qualified to give and that they actually do give advice. No wonder the Government gets itself into such trouble when they rely on “advice” from a class so ill-qualified to give it.  

Also, it is not even good for governments to have so many “advisers” hanging around and causing trouble like the few in the news lately. A highly unscientific survey I have conducted shows that 99% of troubles that governments and political parties get themselves into are caused by so-called advisers making stupid statements or doing stupid things or by using so-called social media and mobile telephone devices, or both.  

Not only are there so many of them rampaging through the political infrastructure, but they have to tell the whole world about it, photograph it and then “post” it all on Facegram or Instabook. It is just asking for trouble to employ them, and so many of them, and then to allow them to run riot in this way.  

Finally, having them around and in such numbers is a major contribution to expanding the size and cost of government and, of course, the Liberal party is the past master at this.  

Advisers are like royal commissions and judicial inquiries: they cannot leave well alone; they must all discover some new ” toxic” situation; they must “reform” it and recommend a new body to control the horrors they have discovered, an advisory body to supervise the controlling body and billions of dollars to be spent to eradicate some newly discovered horror that has remarkably been hidden for centuries.  

It would be a great improvement in government if we stopped giving these bottom feeders fancy titles like “media adviser” and “chief of staff” and reduced their numbers by at least two thirds. Most government activities are useless and if we reduced the numbers of these hangers-on we would be making a great contribution to smaller government.  

Neil Brown QC is a former deputy Liberal leader and a minister in the Fraser government. 

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