In­de­pen­dent ad­vice re­quired

The Saturday Paper - - Letters & Editorial -

Anne Sum­mers makes an im­por­tant ob­ser­va­tion in stat­ing “it is easy to for­get just how re­cently pol­icy and pol­i­tics be­came un­hitched – if not un­hinged” (The dead pol­icy scrolls”, De­cem­ber 15–21). Sum­mers pro­vides a long list of pol­icy-free ar­eas of gov­ern­ment where only pol­i­tics reigns, but it is un­clear why pol­icy has be­come un­hinged from pol­i­tics. There is the op­por­tunis­tic de­ci­sion about the Is­raeli em­bassy; ig­nor­ing the re­new­able en­ergy sec­tor; en­cryp­tion laws giv­ing po­lice more power with­out there be­ing any in­creased threat; ob­struct­ing treat­ment of de­tained sick chil­dren; or slash­ing im­mi­gra­tion that then ex­ac­er­bates eco­nomic down­turn, to name a few. It would seem that what has been lost (or de­lib­er­ately un­hitched) is a non-par­ti­san pub­lic ser­vice with its ex­pert in­sti­tu­tional mem­ory that pro­vided re­al­is­tic ad­vice with­out fear or favour – that is, fear of los­ing their job. Re­vi­tal­is­ing a truly in­de­pen­dent pub­lic ser­vice seems to be a much-needed na­tional in­ter­est pol­icy.

– Gil Anaf, Nor­wood, SA

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