Now that Mike Baird has been re-elected he is moving forward with the first of his election promises. One such promise was the creation of a new ministry, and he has just appointed Pru Goward as the first ever ‘Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault‘.
Whilst some – most notably those on the payroll of the Domestic Violence Industry – are praising this is an appropriate response to the level of public concern about violent crime, others like myself are highly sceptical.
My take on this move is that it is motivated partly by the desire to be ‘seen to be doing something’, and partly as a sop to the feminist lobby. Surely only the most hard-line feminist could seriously believe that creating a new ministry will, in itself, make any significant difference in the ongoing quest to reduce the incidence of sexual/domestic violence?
So how about we take our foot off the ‘we spend because we care’ pedal, and pause a moment to ponder questions such as:
What more can be achieved with a new minister/ministry, than could be achieved in the absence of such changes? Is this administrative change really necessary in terms of delivering the sorts of tangible benefits that the community wants?
If there exists a sincere belief that a new ministry will expedite progress then, using the same logic, why not create a Minister for Reducing Traffic Accidents and/or Minister for Finding a Cure for Cancer?
Will this new initiative to anything to help break down the current substantial extent of gender bias which has seen both domestic violence and sexual assault portrayed as women’s problems with men as their root cause? Will, finally, serious attention be given to female perpetrators and their male victims?
How much will the creation of a new Ministry cost? Will it be cost-effective?
On that last point I can tell you that the costs of such a seemingly simple administrative change will far exceed what most people would imagine. I would guesstimate this to be in the low hundreds of thousands of dollars. And I think I can safely state that, barring perhaps an FOI request, you will NOT subsequently read about this impost in the media.
What then are some of these additional costs that are about to be borne by the taxpayers of NSW?
- Creation of new corporate logo
- Design and printing of business cards for all employees
- Design, production and installation of new building/office signage
- Production of new stationary, brochures and other printed material
- Production of new corporate gifts and products such as coffee mugs with logo, etc
- The destruction/disposal of pre-existing stationary, corporate livery, etc
- Updating of web site and any other online presence
- Employment of new staff/redeployment of existing staff/redundancies
Bear in mind, please, that each dollar spent (wasted) to pay for the creation of a new ministry means one less dollar available to actually address the central issues of concern … reducing domestic violence, and treating/supporting its perpetrators and victims.