Even though it is the middle of Winter, I have been doing a bit of ‘Spring’ cleaning around the office. It is amazing how much stuff accumulates over thirteen years of parliamentary life.
There are thousands of papers and constituent files and hundreds of books on all manner of subjects. Whilst almost everything provokes memories of battles fought in times past, the books have been the most interesting.
For more than a decade, I have purchased books on a variety of topics that have helped to inform my work. There are volumes on climate change, Islam, religion, politics, media, leadership and more. But the breadth of the library has been fuelled by people from all over Australia sending books they think I might find interesting.
Sometimes they are sent by the authors themselves, but mostly they are from people who simply want to share a particular message or send me a message. One volume entitled “The Complete Book of Insults” is inscribed to me with a brief message telling me not to be such a nice guy!
I’ve got bibles and Battlelines, the Quran and Carnegie, Kirk and Hasluck, Steyn and Sheehan to name but a few. I even have a couple of enjoyable self-published thrillers by Gold Coast stockbroker, Andy Semple. All are interesting but the most interesting volumes I found concerned Acts of Parliament.
Getting dusty are twelve volumes I inherited from my predecessor in this office. Entitled “Acts of Parliament 1901 -1973” they contain every law passed by the Commonwealth in the first 72 years since Federation. There are other volumes detailing the laws passed since that time and they are what truly piqued my interest.
The Acts of Parliament 1991 runs to five volumes. It took six books to contain the laws of 1998 and an even less impressive 8 tomes to reflect what the parliament did in 1999.
Imagine that. It took 50 per cent more books to cope with just three years of parliamentary lawmaking than it did to cover our first 72 years of nationhood.
It goes someway to explaining how we are binding the nation in a straight-jacket of regulation and legislation. Of course all of this political activity is designed to fix some problem or cure some ill. Most of it wouldn’t have been very effective and so more laws would need to be passed to fix the original deficiencies. An army of bureaucrats would be mobilised to implement the agenda and ensure compliance.
It is easy to see how government only seems to get bigger and has an insatiable appetite for more of your money in its futile quest to help us all.
Ultimately, though, there has to be a day of reckoning for government. That’s the day when taxpayers get fed up with subsidising the lifestyles of others. It’s the day when businesses owners get tired with running a business for the benefit of unions, employees and government rather than themselves. It will come when there are more leaners than lifters and the very system collapses under the weight of the well-meaning welfare state.
I cannot say when that day will come but if the exponential rise in the passage of legislation printed in the Acts of Parliament is any guide, the day of reckoning can’t be too far away.