Cabinet  is
arrogant:
ex-minister
Says bureaucracy
has taken over
from Government

CABINET ministers in the Court Government are arrogant and not in control of their bureaucrats, according to former Cabinet minister Kevin Minson.

  Mr Minson, announcing yesterday that he would retire from State Parliament at the next election after more than 10 years representing Greenough, hit out at the political system and vowed he would not miss politics.

  "I just think the whole system does not serve the people particularly well," he said.  "You can work within the system but the power of the executive is not being curbed by the Parliament and probably it is time it was."

4      THE WEST AUSTRALIAN FRIDAY DECEMBER 24 1999
"Cabinet is arrogant: ex-minister"
Wendy Pryer

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  The 52-year-old former dentist and farmer said West Australians were sick of being told what to do by government and many perceived that the Court administration was weak.

  But of most concern were the bureaucrats in government departments who ran their own race.

  Mr Minson was a member of the Court Government for four years until he was kicked out two years ago after several controversies.

  He had no fewer than five portfolios but received most flak for removing outspoken Environmental Protection authority boss Barry Carbon and taking advice on logging from controversial scientist and friend Tim Meagher.

  Despite that, he does not think the latest Cabinet ministers are doing their best for the electorate.  Mr Minson criticised Mr Court's rule that there must be unanimous support in the party room before the Government can act. 

Picture caption:
On the House: Greenough MP Kevin Minson relaxes at home after announcing his retirement from politics.
PICTURE: GUY MAGOWAN

  He said that six years ago the Government would have ploughed on with difficult issues such as prostitution but now it had one eye on the polls.

  "The perception is that we are weak and not going to do it because we think it's too hard," he said.

  And Cabinet ministers were not listening to their back bench.

  "I have found increasingly an arrogance amongst ministers, an unwillingness to believe that maybe there is another way to do things and to change focus or direction," he said.

  Mr Minson said the Public Sector Management Act resulted in ministers having less control over their bureaucrats but, at the end of the day, ministers were not responsible.

  His example was the Health Department writing to kangaroo shooters to tell they they had to do a training course.  The department said that while it was not compulsory, it soon would be despite the issue never being put before the party room or Parliament.

  Mr Minson also attacked the independent Road Safety Council.  He said it was outrageous that it publicly pre-empted Parliament on policy.

  "I think we have to back-track and ministers have to seize control again, they are not doing it now," he said.

  Despite his criticism, Mr Minson said he believed the coalition should, and would, be returned to power at the next election because Labor was no alternative.

  Mr Minson will be running 500 breeding cows on his newly-bought New Norcia property and hopes to continue lecturing one day a week at the University of WA's dentistry school. -- ©The West Australian, December 24 1999, p 4


16      THE WEST AUSTRALIAN WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 29 1999
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
"Why the silence?"

GREENOUGH MP Kevin Minson has done the right thing by exposing our lame government system and the fact that the power of the executive is not being curbed by Parliament (Cabinet is arrogant: ex-minister, WA 24/12), but there is no chorus of letters praising his honesty.

Alan Carpenter, who made the self-sacrificing decision to give up his legal right to the huge superannuation payout in future, also was met with a wall of silence.

Come on, you letter-writers to The West Australian, when a public figure does the right thing, for goodness sake submit a few lines. Otherwise the number of brave politicians will remain low.

JOHN MASSAM, Greenwood

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