Nov 18, 2015

Outsourcing: the key weapon in the war against transparency

Outsourcing enables governments to evade scrutiny for even the most alarming examples of maladministration -- but accountability could easily and legally be restored.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

What’s the common theme to these incidents in the Immigration and “Border Force” portfolio in the last two years? Each reflects a consistent pattern: the worst cases of maladministration possible within government have been hidden by the obscurity that comes with outsourcing.

Example One

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16 thoughts on “Outsourcing: the key weapon in the war against transparency

  1. Nick Seidenman

    The most effective way to restrict democracy is to transfer decision-making from the public arena to unaccountable institutions: kings and princes, priestly castes, military juntas, party dictatorships, or modern corporations.

    That’s the standard technique of privatization: defund, make sure things don’t work, people get angry, you hand it over to private capital.

    – Noam Chomsky

  2. Coaltopia

    Yes, great points in that second-last paragraph.

    And good quote Nick.

  3. Adrian

    Outsourcing these type of “services” creates a profit incentive that is linked to something that should never happen in the first place. It creates the incentive for companies like Wilson, Serco and Transfield to lobby the government and pay media companies to focus on more secrecy, more strict refuge policies, more deportation of New Zealanders. There should be no business in abuse. These types of services need to be some of the most transparent that the government provides as they’re the most open to abuse and the people are the least powerful in our community.

  4. Woodstock

    Its warming to have articles and journalists with the courage to highlight these matters. Our border protection is shameful and demonstrates the lack of moral integrity our political leaders have. As for the “agency” with its trail of outrageous behaviour over many years. Don’t Cornelia Rau and Vivian Salon.
    In a way, I can accept the lack of moral courage from the politicians, it the cheap, lack of rigor quality of mainstream media that disappoints me.

  5. graybul

    Thank you Bernard for persisting! Could you extend your viewpoint to an analysis of what means remain whereby the electorate can retain faith in our governmental system? It is clear that neither major party is open to reversing current practices.

    Your examples as detailed are incontestable and reflect the erosion of acceptable standards. Furthermore they illustrate the cancer alive within the Public Service and depth of concern within community as we seek safe harbour from fear, complexity and loss of trust in our political class. Oh for a plumber or metal worker!

  6. Murray Scott

    Spot on Bernard. The same principle is used to sabotage Government responsibility for Greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generators and distributors.

  7. Hunt Ian

    Yes, spot on, Bernard. The cover provided for this is the ideological clap trap about markets and how competition provides everything more efficiently than government. It is sickening that this clap trap goes on but it is because MSM provides the clap trap cheerfully and supports the laissez fair propaganda of the IPA and most of the ISA.

  8. behrendt

    Great article Bernard. The rate at which we are privatising anything and everything, one wonders why we need so many state and federal representatives. The way things are going, there won’t be too many government departments left to head up. I wish somebody would do a thesis on the pro’s and con’s of privatisation over the past 15 years. I’ll take a bet now that we, the poor suffering taxpayer, come out second best.

  9. Bohemian

    You have really nailed it Bernard. Don’t let go of this until it is fixed. Detention doesn’t have to be cruel – it can be humane even for those who are questionable applicants. It is incumbent on our new government team to “defascisize” (a dubious construction but it has a ring to it)our outsourcing policies across the board and its enforcers along with it perhaps. Talk about blowback!
    I don’t know why the public servants who work for these “detention centre” guys can’t go back to work for the government rather than having been “outsourced from the government to Serco and GS4 in the first place. These are two companies whose UK employee roster is about 90% former government employees but manage to get far worse out of them than the government ever did, judging from the fines and penalties they have been slugged with and that was because the things they did were so outrageous the UK government couldn’t cover them up. As for Transfield, I would be surprised if they ever really wanted this kind of work in the first place and unless you planned to make your living from it. Bad ju ju if you ask me B’wana. Bad ju ju.

  10. Norman Hanscombe

    There’s little point quoting Chomsky or anyone else since you show you don’t understand the point he was making.
    Adrian, if you want to remove the profit motive in an economy, perhaps Stalinist Russia is the example for you to praise.
    Woodstock, it’s clear that in common with many bleeding heart posters you never managed to understand WHY and HOE Rau got herself into the mess she did.
    Then came Uncle Tom Cobley and all of the Crikey Land fantasists, and it could be seen that, as usual, all’s unwell with the (Crikey) World.

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