Bureaucrats love to hide behind TLAs – Three Letter Acronyms. They’re a key part of a special language used in the hopes that no outsider will ever actually understand what’s being said.

Earlier in the week we learned about SME. No, not Captain Hook’s 2iC in Peter Pan, but Sensitive Military Equipment. Military hardware up to $400 million – some of it so sensitive that Audit Office officials refused to talk publicly about it – has been misplaced by the Australian Defence Force. Then there’s the small matter of $8 billion in “discrepancies.”

Ian Goodwin, a group executive director with the Audit Office, told the Senate’s Finance and Public Administration Committee that the office was not saying that these items had been stolen or lost – but…

Imagine what the response from the Howard Government would be if an Aboriginal or Islander agency fronted up to a committee with this sort of stuff. ATSIC was shut down because they could not operate efficiently. There are questions over what happened with its funding.

One rule for soldiers, another for blackfellas?