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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Whistleblower on Writing Speeches For The Government

In this article from The Age Myles Peterson whistleblows on his time as speech writer in the Health Department. Spin, lies, deceit and waste - this well written article details it all. Probably best avoided if your blood vessels have thin walls.

This story took my level of disgust for government to new heights. Following are some choice quotes but the article is worth reading in it's entirety.

"Our section was under-budget by hundreds of thousands of dollars, necessitating we blow all the unspent money before the end of the financial year."

 (as a result they went on an almost meaningless conference junket)

"I was surprised to discover the minds behind these [Public Health] campaigns were not health professionals. They had backgrounds and degrees in marketing, communications and advertising, not medicine. Under their watch, the government became the No.1 spender on free-to-air television."

 (good for everyone ... except?)

"The ministers' staff were as fond of cancelling events as they were of commissioning them."

(no need to explain why you're wasting everyone else's time when you're the "important" person in the finery)

''The PM is going to make a health announcement and you have to organise it,'' we were told.
''When's it happening?''
''Monday.'' (It was Friday afternoon.)
''When did we first learn about it?''

(Oh my google they're good. I remember hearing this and not having the faintest idea that it was so hastily cobbled together).

As stated above it's my opinion that you must read the article.


Andrew said...

Is this surprising to you? As though this is a phenomenon limited to the great evil 'government'? You've been out of the workforce too long, my friend. This is the way all organisations of more than ten people run.

I was given an assignment for a presentation to Senior Execs (no less - so any inaccuracy costs people their jobs) at 8 in the morning for a finish at 10:00 that same morning.

Ardeet said...


This shouldn't be surprising to me, given my opinion of government. Maybe it was the way he described the waste and incompetence that got a rise out of me.

It was more of a rise than a surprise.

Rest assured I do remember those old office days :)

My disgust with this organisation still stems from their thievery and sanctioned violence.

At least with a private organisation I can choose not to hand over my money.

Andrew said...

Given that all government sprang from warlords offering 'protection', it all seems consistent.