The virtues of a variety of views

Central Coast Council’s Gosford Chambers

Forum –

Gordon Batt would have us believe that the only proper qualification for election as a Councillor or as a Member of Parliament is having been an independent businessman or having risked money in a “budget driven entity” (CCN 314).

This would certainly limit the number of possible candidates for any electoral position (it would certainly exclude me) and would ensure a reliable unanimity of decision-making on political issues, although I’m not sure most people would necessarily see that as a desirable outcome.

It is usually held that having a variety of views expressed on political issues is a merit of the democratic system, and I wonder how many of the most admired politicians in the world would have made it to office if Mr Batt’s razor had been in operation.

I might equally argue that nobody without two university degrees is educationally qualified to make decisions on foreign policy, and, although I have never owned a business, I venture to say that I have as much knowledge of national and international economics as Mr Batt who, I suspect, might be hard pressed to explain the advantages of nuclear submarines over diesel-powered boats.

In my experience small business owners are often the least qualified to deal with anything more than day-to-day financial transactions.

The often-fatuous comments from our local Chamber of Commerce are a case in point: if the Babylon Chamber of Commerce had had its way, you can be sure that the Code of Hamurabai would never have passed.

That said, I have to agree with Mr Batt that the merging of two councils to achieve economies of operation must envisage a reduction in duplicated staff: any other assumption must be a nonsense.

The fact that staff members increased after the amalgamation says all that needs to be said about the acumen of the Councillors involved in the fiscal debacle now exercising the mind of our Inquirer.

I wonder whether Mr Batt has made a submission to the Inquiry: it would be interesting to see whether he can raise any questions that would actually contribute to an informative outcome – an eventuality not too likely at this point.

Email, Oct 18
Bruce Hyland, Woy Woy