Oct 29, 2014

Coalition Split on Red Tape

The Coalition is deeply split on red tape, with Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss today applauding the scrapping of safety requirements for imported motorcycles  – a move which senior Liberal Senator Bill Heffernan last week labeled “a load of crap’’.

In a Senate Budget Estimates committee hearing on October 20, Senator Heffernan attacked the Government’s move to eliminate a requirement that imported motorcycles have rear mudguards as “a serious error in judgment’’ that should be reversed.

Senator Heffernan also described the man responsible for the decision – Tony Abbott’s parliamentary secretary Josh Frydenberg  – as “brain dead’’.

Today, Mr Truss and Assistant Infrastructure Minister Jamie Briggs escalated the brawl with a media statement backing the change.

Boasting that the mudguard move would save business $14 million a year, Mr Truss and Mr Briggs said regulation was one of 4309 “unnecessary and outdated’’ rules within their portfolio that had been eliminated.

That’s not the view of Senator Heffernan, a farmer who has serious concerns about the safety implications.

During last week’s Senate hearing, Senator Heffernan asked government officials:  “Have you ever ridden behind a motor bike without a rear mudguard?

 “You will get sprayed with crap and stones. Why would we agree to remove them? What brain-dead person did that?

“I think the government or whatever brain-dead person thought this up should reverse that decision.’’

Senator Heffernan’s safety concerns warrant serious consideration.

Regrettably, Mr Abbott, Mr Truss, Mr Frydenberg and Mr Briggs seem to be more interested in talking tough about removing red tape than they are about maintaining road safety.