Skip to content

Death by cushions: The Spanish Inquisition Oz style

01/11/2010

Ah! Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.

The Australian has been trying to bring down the government since Adam was a child it seems. And they are at it again turning up the cushion torture on the BER rort that doesn’t actually seem to be a rort.

From: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/ber-review-to-examine-stimulus-impacts-as-head-defends-value-for-money-in-16bn-program/story-fn59niix-1225946122562

THERE is no evidence yet to suggest value for money hasn’t been achieved by Labor’s $16.2 billion school buildings program, the head of a review of the project says.

Brad Orgill, chairman of the Building the Education Revolution implementation task force, also defended the effectiveness of the program as a stimulatory measure, telling a Senate hearing it was “brave” to assume the global financial crisis was over.

Shocking isn’t it! No evidence YET!! But that is not what Brad Orgill actually said. Credit to the paper for printing his exact words! Pity it wasn’t until paragraph three. I have taken the liberty of highlighting what he said.

Questioned by Coalition senators about claims of mismanagement and waste of taxpayers’ money, Mr Orgill said: “There is no evidence to say that value for money has not been achieved. We would say that we want to see the full evidence before reaching such a conclusion.”

Oh what a pity for the Coalition! And THE AUSTRALIAN. Out with the soft cushions! And if you read that, it clearly does not include a ‘yet’, but that ain’t going to stop The Spanish Inquisition! Just a little editing here and there and you can turn no evidence into no evidence YET.

Joe Kelly continues his assault with fluffy cushions.

An interim report in August said the task force had received complaints in relation to 254 schools – about 2.7 per cent of all schools involved in the BER – and of these more than half related to value for money.

OHMYGOD! Take to the hills! Bring cake! 2.7 percent of all the schools Australia wide that were involved in the BER had made a complaint! Can you imagine! I think the best relationships in the world would love to say that they only have 2.7% things that they complain about in that relationship. If you have such a relationship, then you are one lucky bastard!

Imagine if the headline to all this read 97.3% of all BER projects were considered successful! Imagine if instead of talking about 254 schools that complained, they instead concentrated on the 9146 schools that were quite happy thank you very much.

But what really got my goat is that this particular article twisted the content of the senate hearing.

See THE AUSTRALIAN article seems to indicate that the liberal senator Brett Mason got the last word and tripped up Brad Orgill. It also seems to indicate the above quote was made at the start of the meeting. Again it was not.

How can I know this? Well… I actually got a copy of the audio and a transcript from the ABC. Good old Auntie. Mind you they did make a error in the transcript. That is clearly not Tony Eastley at the beginning there. It’s Eleanor Hall, which they credit correctly at the end.

20101101-twt01-ber-senate.mp3

From: http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2010/s3053655.htm

TONY EASTLEY: The head of the taskforce investigating the Federal Government’s Building the Education Revolution is praising the way that state governments have spent the funds. The Opposition says the scheme is fraught with waste but at a Senate committee hearing in Canberra this morning, the man overseeing an investigation into the $16 billion program, says some states have delivered excellent results.

Brad Orgill says his next update on the program is due soon and will show that South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia have delivered significant benefits to schools along with a stimulus to the general economy.

In Canberra, Sabra Lane reports.

SABRA LANE: After reports of cost blowouts, rorts and waste, the Federal Government hired businessman Brad Orgill in April, to examine the Building the Education Revolution.

Mr Orgill handed down an interim report in August during the election campaign and he’s preparing another update now for release later this month or in early December and he says impressed by the way some state governments have spent their money, particularly in Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia.

BRAD ORGILL: We are very impressed with how they have delivered the program across those three states. We think they have delivered some excellent outcomes.

SABRA LANE: He says some state governments have achieved better value for money results than some private school systems, and he says many principals have welcomed the new school halls and classrooms.

BRAD ORGILL: We concluded that the program did deliver much-needed infrastructure. We found that many of the projects, the majority of the projects were delivering very, very good results and that we were amazed and my colleagues were amazed at many schools where infrastructure had not been newly installed for 20 or 30 years.

SABRA LANE: Mr Orgill says the program’s poor performance in New South Wales has unfairly tarnished it everywhere else.

BRAD ORGILL: Outside of New South Wales, the program looks to have been implemented very well with significant benefits to schools and to stimulus at very modest cost premiums, in some cases no cost premium to pre-BER costs.

SABRA LANE: Liberal Senator Brett Mason questioned Mr Orgill about the program, during a Senate hearing this morning.

BRETT MASON: Is it correct to say that as a general rule, the Catholic and independent schools in each state and territory generally have achieved better value for money than the state school system?

BRAD ORGILL: No, I think that would be premature. I think that, I think it would be very interesting for people to see the WA, South Australia, Tasmania experiences in our November report. Their ability to deliver a different approach, their ability to align an architect working with the school in the same way as happened in Catholic or independent schools, was very interesting to us. So I think that would be premature.

SABRA LANE: The $16 billion BER project was the largest plank of the Government’s $42 billion stimulus program, launched at the height of the global financial crisis.

Mr Orgill says by the time his next update is delivered, his taskforce will have visited nearly 250 schools around the nation, and spoken with 90 interested parties, namely contractors and builders and he says it’s important to remember, the program’s first aim was to help stimulate the economy.

BRAD ORGILL: The very nature of announcing it, I remember our first visit to Bovis Lend Lease, they said as the program was announced and we could see this coming down, we changed our mindset in terms of retrenching people and hiring people and re-engaging people for the work that may…

BRETT MASON: Or the expectation really?

BRAD ORGILL: Their expectation.

BRETT MASON: I understand that point.

BRAD ORGILL: The expectation was more important than the money. Once you know that a program is coming, the construction, the project management, the project manager will stop sacking people which was happening pre-BER.

SABRA LANE: Towards the end of the inquiry tempers frayed, with Senator Mason demanding to know if Mr Orgill believed taxpayers had received value for money. Labor Senator Gavin Marshall intervened.

GAVIN MARSHALL: Are you actually trying to beat this up and make political points…

BRETT MASON: No, it is Commonwealth money. The Commonwealth is entitled to know whether it has achieved value for money out of taxpayers money. That is fair.

GAVIN MARSHALL: And all you have tried to do all day is to try and get Mr Orgill to agree with your political assessment to suit your political purpose.

BRETT MASON: No, it is not that.

GAVIN MARSHALL: And it annoys you when you don’t get that cooperation.

BRETT MASON: It is not right, Senator Marshall. The entire nation knows there wasn’t value for money from the project.

GAVIN MARSHALL: Well, that is not the evidence. You see that is not the evidence.

BRETT MASON: That is the evidence.

GAVIN MARSHALL: You want to spin the evidence we have seen today to say that and that is simply nothing.

BRETT MASON: We have just gone through the early tables and in every single jurisdiction except WA I think…

GAVIN MARSHALL: So is that your conclusion Mr Orgill?

BRAD ORGILL: No, we would not concur with that.

BRETT MASON: But you say it is too early, don’t you?

BRAD ORGILL: We would not, there is no evidence to say that value for money has not been achieved. We would say that we want to see the full evidence before reaching such a conclusion.

ELEANOR HALL: That is Brad Orgill, from the BER taskforce at a very lively Senate committee hearing there in Canberra and that report from Sabra Lane.

I’ve said again and again. If you hear a story, or read one, then for god’s sake, get the original quote. The Joe Kelly article does not in any way misquote anyone, but it is written in such a way as to give the story a certain spin.

Let me make a case in point

BRETT MASON: It is not right, Senator Marshall. The entire nation knows there wasn’t value for money from the project.

GAVIN MARSHALL: Well, that is not the evidence. You see that is not the evidence.

BRETT MASON: That is the evidence.

Actually Senator Mason, you are not right. There is no evidence to your claim at all. In fact Brad Orgill goes on to say exactly that. What Senator Mason has is a perception that has been perpetrated in certain media outlets, but the FACTS are there is NO evidence.

BRAD ORGILL: No, we would not concur with that.

BRETT MASON: But you say it is too early, don’t you?

BRAD ORGILL: We would not, there is no evidence to say that value for money has not been achieved. We would say that we want to see the full evidence before reaching such a conclusion.

See? The Joe Kelly article seems to conclude that Senator Mason has a point. The actually audio clearly shows that to not be the case.

It’s what happens when you take to your opponent with your strongest weapon. The cushion.

The horror. The horror.

 

A. Ghebranious         2010                             All Rights Reserved

Advertisements
3 Comments
  1. Catching up permalink

    No matter what evidence is put forwarded, the Opposition will never change their minds. They have put themselves out on a limb and have nowhere to go. They are heading down the same path with the insulation accusations.

    I believe that the government would have nothing to lose with a judicial investigation into the four deaths. The legal action taken so far puts the blame on the employers of these men.

    Senate hearings are another matter I have no faith in them at all. I am of the belief that the Opposition uses Senate Hearings as a political tool. If no one believes this, I suggest that they listen to any Senate Hearing on the net. I am sure they will not be impressed with the type of questioning that occurs.

    I understand that there will be coronial enquiries into these deaths and any fires that have occurred. In normal times, this should all that is needed, but if the Opposition insists, let us waste more money on a useless and unnecessary enquiry.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Tweets that mention Death by cushions: The Spanish Inquisition Oz style « Ash's Machiavellian Bloggery -- Topsy.com
  2. The Political Sword

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: