Take out the trash day

One episode of The West Wing focuses on Take out the trash day, when the government dumps so much news onto the media that the bad stuff is lost amongst the sheer amount of information.

Last week the Victorian government had its equivalent, when over 200 reports were released on a single day.

I went along to Parliament House to pick up a few for a little light reading. Here’s how it looked: basically a room full of glossy reports. They must be keeping the graphic design and printing industries afloat with all this stuff.

Reporting dumping day at Parliament

Reporting dumping day at Parliament

It comes about because there’s a legal requirement for reports to be tabled while Parliament is sitting, and obviously after the June 30th end of financial year. Obviously though it means a heckuva lot of information to get through for the media, and although they try their best, you can bet some nuggets of information are getting lost in the tidal wave.

The Opposition argues that if they get elected, they’ll change it so reports are released as they are completed, rather than in a big pile. That would appear to make sense.

By the way, in a lot of cases, the reports are posted online by the relevant authority, so you don’t physically have to front-up to get a copy. For instance, those I grabbed to read on the train included: Department of Transport and Transport Ticketing Authority; V/Line; VicRoads.

So far I haven’t found anything earthshattering that the media hasn’t already highlighted — but I was more looking for useful statistics for future use, some of which I have found.

PS. Here’s one factoid for you: the Department of Transport (which doesn’t run any services itself) has 1241 full-time equivalent staff.

KRudd quoting Twitter

Nice to see the Prime Minister quoting a Twitter post in parliament, but jeez — reading it off a printout? Surely his staffers could have sent it to him on his Blackberry or something so he looked at least a little tech-savvy.

(via Mumbrella)