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Let's have a real efficiency drive

By Syd Hickman - posted Tuesday, 20 October 2015

The idea that Sunday wage loadings are the great burden on our national efficiency is simply laughable.

But the worst aspect of this nonsense is that it is being used to ignore huge areas of inefficiency in our economy. Here are three of them.

The curse of Human Resource management has spread over our entire society. HR has become a parasitical industry continually expanding as it steadily eats up the resources of its hosts. In business, universities, government agencies and social sector organisations HR operatives are busy making rules and instituting processes that create work for them and timewasting for everyone else.


Countering the horrific expansion of HR is difficult because the leaders of the push are clever and have used moral grounds to justify their power grab. Its all about ensuring 'ethical standards' or 'fair treatment of all employees' or one of the many other politically correct phrases.

It has only taken a few decades to expand from almost nothing to the current position of universal domination. If we are to address the challenge of Asian competition, which is in no way threatened by weekend penalty rates, we could ask how many HR people are employed in Asia.

The current government has apparently got rid of many bits of regulation that were a burden to business. It could now establish a group to get rid of pointless HR rules in government and to advise other sectors on eradication. Perhaps the easiest way would be to simply sack half of all HR staff, at random, and then tell the leftovers to cut the work to the time available. Then do it all again.

The second area of efficiency reform, and even more challenging, is the legal system. The law is another part of society where the inmates are running the asylum. We may as well admit that the legal system exists to make lawyers rich. It has absolutely nothing to do with justice, as some lawyers will proudly boast.

The most common way for lawyers to get rich is ensure that rich people get what-ever they want. So a general rule is that in any legal dispute the person able to give most money to lawyers will win. If you have very little money to give lawyers you can choose between giving up immediately and going bankrupt.

The costs of resolving even very simple matters are absurdly high and the time frames ridiculously long.


Even in criminal cases apparently simple matters such as whether a person bashed some other people to death or not can go on for months, and that is after many months of lawyers preparing for the case.

Various judges and other commentators have been making the case for reform for years but lawyers, in a united front that would have made the Painters and Dockers Union proud, have successfully fought off any threat to their incomes from improvements in efficiency.

The third area of potential efficiency reform is in the allocation of taxpayers' funds. Government expenditure should be allocated on the basis of best return to taxpayers for the money they have handed over. Welfare payments provide a return to taxpayers in that they help keep poorer people from begging and dying in the streets, making life more pleasant for us all. Payments are also recycled quickly by the recipients thereby stimulating the economy.

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About the Author

Syd Hickman has worked as a school teacher, soldier, Commonwealth and State public servant, on the staff of a Premier, as chief of Staff to a Federal Minister and leader of the Opposition, and has survived for more than a decade in the small business world.

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All articles by Syd Hickman

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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