What is excessive regulation doing to us all?
by Dave Gettins
A big well done to Dave Gettins for submitting the winning entry in Dolphyn’s competition to win a place at the inaugural Social Psychology of Risk Conference being at the Australian Catholic University in Sydney on March 25 & 26.
Dave will be among the many people who will attend a conference, be a first of it’s kind in Australia. Winning his place wasn’t through luck, Dave earned his ticket after submitting a short paper on the topic of “What is excessive regulation doing to us all”. It is great to be able to publish Dave’s piece as a ‘guest author’ on the very popular (over 4.3M hits per year) website Safetyrisk.net
All the team at Dolphyn want to thank everyone who submitted an entry, the quality was high and it was great to get so many people thinking and writing about this topic.
You can read Dave’s winning entry below. Well done mate, looking forward to seeing you in March.
‘What is excessive regulation doing to us all?
Try Googling “How many active regulations exist in Queensland”.
The responses will be to send you to the Queensland Government site and various law sites and various independent ministry sites. After delving into these, it is very obvious that no one knows actually how many laws or regulations we have here in Queensland that are current.
I can remember many years ago I was a country cop in New Zealand. From time to time new laws came into effect, some were minor changes, others larger reflecting changing attitudes in society, some were plain just money grabbers and as a cop I was expected to know them. I got to know the new changes thankfully through in-house training or bulletins. How were the public to know of these changes? I fretted that many wouldn’t as I as a para-legal professional struggled to keep up. And then when you thought you knew it all some local magistrate would make his interpretation and the new case law had to be taken into account as well. The only winners were the lawyers, and the Politicians who would say they were making changes for you.
Never give a Politician the opportunity to make laws about things he knows nothing about. Talk about give a dog a bone, these guys will shred the commonsense out of any good idea or intent. I know very little about Avionics much like many politicians, so why ask me or them to write laws on such. How many politicians have worked in the mines or heavy construction, how many have a VOC for excavator use or work at heights and yet they write their rules in a very binary fashion. The new laws are then reviewed by the senate where there probably isn’t the intellectual horse power or the experience to make a sound decision.
Once upon a time Politicians thought up Stamp Duty. We all know about Stamp Duty, which is a tax that is levied on documents, historically this included the majority of legal documents such as cheques, receipts, military commissions, marriage licences and land transactions. The duty was thought to have originated in Spain, being introduced or re-invented into the Netherlands in the 1620’s, France in 1657, Prussia 1682 etc. It was introduced into New Zealand during World War I to help pay for the war. Unfortunately in NZ they don’t know that war is over, but they have kept the Stamp Duty.
In Australia the Commonwealth Govt doesn’t have Stamp Duty but in its’ ‘wisdom’ has allowed the State Governments to regulate themselves. Do you know that if you hire, and insure that hireage, of say safety harness’s then you have to pay Stamp Duty on that safety gear. In Queensland it is 9% inclusive of the GST. Many politicians don’t know the total downstream effect of their laws.
I am not an Anarchist and I know we need laws, but this allows or perpetuates a new group and they are the ‘Law Enforcers’. Unfortunately for many their pre-hiring medical insists on Black and White vision and binary thinking.
As a Safety Advisor now I think back to when I was a country cop and I find there are some great similarities. As a safety advisor and a country cop, you have to live and work within your community. You probably played rugby with friends and potential clients, you drank in the pub with them when off duty, you were on the school committee. You were available for advice and you freely gave advice. From time to time you enforced the law when your advice was not taken. You reflected the status quo of society, were your Governments rep just as a Safety Advisor reflects his employer.
In my time we took the patrol car home and I would park it out on the road and leave my hat on top of the head rest. From the rear it looked like my car was occupied and many would slow down. My car worked 24hrs a day. Unfortunately we also had cops who hid behind bill boards with their radar guns and you certainly were going to get a ticket. Unfortunately these guys only see in black and white also. As we know there are safety advisors with this mentality as well. Excessive regulation allows these people to flourish, it plays right into their hands.
Be it safety advisor or cop we must lessen the regulations and turn to a learning culture where we have time for each other.