The Government’s semi-annual attack on punctuation, also known as the Red Tape Repeal Day bills, are being debated again in the House of Representatives this week.
On the first Red Tape Repeal Day, Tony Abbott proudly proclaimed: “Cutting red tape is at the heart of this Government’s mission.”
Mr Abbott also said: “I am proud of the progress that the Government has made to date – but it’s only the start of what is to come.”
Unfortunately, what was to come was just more spin and little substance.
After introducing the 2015 Autumn Red Tape Repeal Day bills on Red Tape Repeal Day back in March this year, the Government has only this week brought them back for debate in the House of Representatives – almost six months after they were first introduced.
It’s clear that instead of cutting red tape being at the heart of this Government, chaos and incompetence reigns.
But this is just the latest example of the Government’s incompetence when it comes to cutting red tape.
The Red Tape Repeal Day package from last year hasn’t even passed the Parliament yet.
The Omnibus Repeal Day (Spring 2014) Bill 2014 is again before the House of Representatives after being passed in the Senate with Labor amendments.
Labor’s amendments would require a majority of the work on Australia’s Future Submarines to be undertaken in Australia (including build, maintenance and sustainment work). The amendments would also require a majority of the materials for the project to be sourced from Australian suppliers.
In the past two years, the Government has gone to incredible efforts to update spelling and grammar and change punctuation in legislation.
To date, the Government has claimed red tape savings of $870,000 from three Statute Law Revision bills as part of its Red Tape Repeal Days, some of which involve updating spelling, grammar and punctuation. For example, changing “e-mail” to “email” and “facsimile” to “fax”. On a current count, these three bills remove: 40 hyphens, 2 commas, 1 inverted comma; change 2 full stops to semi-colons, 1 semi-colon to a full stop; and insert 1 full stop, 1 colon, 1 hyphen and 1 comma.
There’s been lots of fanfare but no real reform from these Red Tape Repeal Days.
The Government’s so-called red tape repeal is just a trick to distract Australians from the fact Mr Abbott’s Liberals have no plan for Australia’s future.
Labor has always taken a sensible approach to reducing red tape. In Government, Labor abolished more than 16,000 acts and legislative instruments. We lowered business costs by $4 billion each year as part of our Seamless National Economy reforms.