Joe Hockey is right! There is soooo much petty red tape in this great country of ours.
For our Treasurer, it was a pizza shop in Sydney. Thick-crust Joe went for a pizza a few weeks ago and as he arrived he saw a few friends. When he saw a couple of tables outside with three chairs on one table, four on the other, Pepperoni Joe went to put the two tables together so that the two families could be together. What could be nicer than sitting outside on a sunny spring evening, nibbling away at a Quattro Stagioni and a Hawaiian (extra pineapple)?
But there was a problem. The pizza shop owner came out and said “I’m sorry Mr Hockey, you’re not allowed to do that, the council regulation prevents you putting the two tables together.”
According to Meat Lovers Joe, “There were eight of us, so I went inside to get another chair and they said, ‘Sorry Mr Hockey, they’ve said you can only have seven chairs [outside], not eight”. This is when anchovy Joe “exploded.”
Arrgghh. RED TAPE!
Well, Joe’s story reminded me of a recent holiday I had in Noosa. Oh my, the examples of red tape on what should have been a gorgeous holiday in Queensland were almost non-stop. Red tape almost ruined, wiped out and destroyed all enjoyment of the holiday.
It started at the airport. I wanted to get into the Qantas lounge as fast as I could to get my coffee, toasted sandwich and free copy of The Australian and maybe pop out a few productivity-boosting tweets. But the security people at the airport wanted to x-ray my bags and me. OMG! I had to go through this metal detector, take my laptop out of my bag and have everything but the kitchen sink scanned. This government regulation postponed the starting point of the enjoyment of my skinny flat white by at least a couple of minutes. At my hourly rate, it was an outrageous cost to the economy. And all they could find was a set of tweezers! That nasal hair had to stay for now.
Outside, the storms engulfing Canberra airport didn’t look too bad to me. Winds at 80 kms per hour and the lightening seemed to be a long way away. But government regulations dictated that the take off be delayed until the worst of the storms had passed. Another hour lost! How damaging to productivity was that red tape delay with 150 people were stranded on the tarmac.
Anyway, we finally left. Obviously, we landed safety (so much for that storm – ha), and I soon hopped into the car to drive to our lovely holiday destination. I was screaming along the freeway at 190 kms an hour, keen to check in and swim in the glorious waves when I saw a road sign that said the speed limit was 80 kms an hour. Crapola! How dare the government slow me down in the go-slow, output destroying red tape. I made a mental note to call the Queensland government and complain about the road rules and regulations that restricted me from getting to my holiday destination as soon as possible so that I could relax and chill out.
And those bloody road signs! How many are there and how much did they cost? Speed limits, signs showing distances to tin pot towns I was never going to go to. Then there were the ‘give way’, ‘stop’ and ‘slippery when wet’ signs. What is it with the nanny state? #yourtaxesatwork #seriously
I begrudgingly slowed down to the speed limit, which I reckon cost me 10 minutes of unproductive driving chugging along the road, seemingly slower than Joe Hockey would run to the salad bar at the Lane Cove Pizzeria.
After what seemed an eternity, we checked into our apartment on glorious Hastings Street. It was lovely. Well, lovely except for all of the ugly labels showing fire exits and the maximum number of people allowed in the lift on the way up to our top floor room. What, if like Domino Joe, I had met some friends in the lobby and 12 people wanted to go up in that 8 person lift? Bloody red tape.
Anyway, I put these setbacks aside, and quickly climbed into my cossie and off to the beach I went. There were some great waves right in the middle of the beach so in I charged. And wow! It was fun. Well, until the surf life saving guards came in and told me to swim between the flags and not where there was an almighty rip.
What cheek. Now I am not sure whether the government determines beach flag rules, but given what I do know about red tape, I was not prepared to risk being fined, arrested or jailed for arguing the point. So off to the flags I went. It was crowded with heaps of people, all being weighed down by red tape by having to swim between the flags, bumping into each other and being wiped out by stray boogie boards.
During my time in Noosa, I went to cross Hastings Street and whoa! I almost got run over by some loonie driver. I reckon it was a greenie hippy from Eumundi, but that is not the point. Some cop came from nowhere and explained to me that my problem was that I had not used the pedestrian crossing and it as my fault the combi van almost knocked me flat. What! I was told by this red tape enforcing police officer not cross in the middle of the street and use the nanny state, red tape inspired pedestrian crossing. What about my freedom to cross wherever I want?
Where’s the Freedom Commissioner when you need him?
It was now that I needed to go to Hagan Daas for the double choc ice cream.
But this is where another red tape fiasco was obvious. The staff were wearing plastic gloves as they handled the cone. I asked why – the workers looked clean and given we have blocked our borders, I bet none of them had ebola. They said it was the law – they could not touch the cones. Arrgghhhh! What a business cost, all those gloves that were thrown out after every serve not to mention the wasted employee time as they changed gloves between serves. And for me, the consumer, this was another waste of time and cost due to this silly red tape.
And so it went. I couldn’t even light up my cigarette at Bistro C – more red tape that hurts the income of tobacco companies and cancer doctors.
So I’m with you Joe. You should be allowed to have as many chairs as you want on the footpath outside a pizza shop, even if it means kids and oldies have to step in to the oncoming traffic on the street as they manoeuvred their bikes and walking frames down the gutter, just near that bus stop.
Cut that red tape. Let markets, not petty regulators, rule.
And by the way while you’re at it Joe, get rid of taxes, government spending and all rules as they are crippling this great country of ours.
Go Joe. I love your work.