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Caretaker excuse

Posted by: Howard Sattler | 11 February, 2013 - 4:05 PM
The caretaker period will end after the state election.

When Colin Barnett officially launched the 2013 State Election last week his government automatically adopted “caretaker” mode.

Nothing unusual about that.

Prior to elections, once the vice regal representative has approved the poll date and writs are issued, it is standard protocol that governments and their Ministers be constrained from signing off on significant projects.

Public statements must also be confined to election campaigning.

Until this week I was under the distinct belief this did not apply to government departments which must necessarily continue to service the community and respond to hiccups in their systems.

The issue that alerted me this rule was being exploited by bureaucrats was that Synergy had disconnected the power to more than 7, 700 customers last year, almost one third of them concession card holders.

I wanted a Synergy representative to explain its action to my audience.

Its spin doctors declined, citing the “caretaker” provisions of the electoral rules.

Taken to its logical conclusion that would lead to all government departments buttoning their lips till after March 9.

Police and fire authorities would be barred from releasing warnings, transport spokesmen could not issue traffic notifications, even the Water Corporation would be forced to withhold sprinkler rostering days.

There is no evidence that these, or any government entities are hiding behind this sham smokescreen.

Synergy’s double standards were exacerbated by a written explanation of its hard disconnection policy that I was invited to read on air.

I’m nobody else’s mouthpiece so that won’t be happening anytime soon…except to say that Synergy is clearly abusing its position as a government entity. 

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