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22 responses to “Has regulation really gotten out of control under Rudd/Gillard?”

  1. John D

    Good one Robert. Nice to have some information to challenge claims.
    It is also worth remembering that many new regulations actually makes things better. The number of OH&S regulations have increased since I ran a safety sept in the 70’s. As a consequence safety performance has also got a lot lot better.
    The LNP complains about environmental duplication. Yep, can delay things a bit for environmentally marginal projects. The good news is that it does reduce the damage when one level of government falls under the control of cowboys like the current Qld crop.

  2. hannah's dad

    I don’t go to ‘The Conversation’ very often and my visits have decreased since Michelle Grattan arrived there.
    But on a similar topic to that of this post is J.Quiggin’s evaluation of Abbott’s claim about mining and approvals.
    Here’s Quiggin:


  3. BigBob

    In other words, it’s another fabrication pulled out of the LNP’s arse.

    The MO is always the same, put out an impressive looking number and wait for the media to publish it verbatim, then use the media’s tacit acceptance as proof of the validity of the initial claim.

    Abbott & Co. have been masters at this, and it still apears the media is unable to work it out – or are complicit in allowing it through unchallenged.

  4. Katz

    Top job Robert.

  5. Brian

    Great post, Robert.

    The LNP policy you link to promises ” to cut $1 billion a year in red and green tape [which] will result in more efficient government and more productive businesses”.

    PolitiFact looked at this Abbott statement:

    Cleaning up government regulation would save $12 billion a year and “addressing areas of federal-state regulatory reform could boost our economy by $6 billion a year.”

    They found it “true” as it was quoting a Productivity Commission statement.

    I’d want a lot more detail before I declared the Productivity Commission statement true. Money saved over the short term often costs more over the longer term, and that often by the taxpayer rather than the company.

    And money saved is not necessarily the supreme goal.

    BTW you can check Abbott’s score here. There are some problems with what they consider worth investigating and their rulings, but Abbott does have some problems with the truth.

  6. David Irving (no relation)

    … Abbott does have some problems with the truth

    You’re too kind, Brian.

  7. Russell

    Robert, you have lined up with the IPA there:

    “Ultimately, the Coalition’s one billion dollar promise is an illusion. It’s just a big, magical round number.”

  8. GuyB

    Great post Robert! Sometimes raw data can be quite illuminating, that is, if anybody actually takes the time and effort to analyse it…

  9. Nick

    Robert, from a Liberal discussion paper last year:

    In 2007, Labor promises a ‘one in, one out’ rule for new regulations. But since coming to office, the Rudd-Gillard Government has added nearly 800 pieces of legislation and published nearly 21,000 legislative instruments and repealed just 104. That’s not ‘one-in one-out, it is 20 in for every one out.

    According to their rather bizarre ‘definitions will mean whatever we want them to mean’ train of logic, it would actually be 200 in for every one out, not 20…but who’s counting, eh?

  10. Nick

    (oops on that last bit…excuse me, Robert. I had to type out that quote, as it was a secure pdf. 20 was in fact the figure I wrote down stupidly, not their error!)

  11. TeddySea

    Thank you for your time and effort in pointing out the reality behind another Tony Abbot lie.

  12. sam

    The claim of 21000 comes from adding together all of the ‘legislative instruments’ created over the time of the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd governments.

    Legislative instruments is a broader definition of regulation. Part of the growth in regulation comes from broadening the definition, in 2004, to include legislative instruments such as (in time) the Treasurer’s determination of how much is paid to the States every fortnight. Of course, prior to the Federal Financial Relations Act, these determination didn’t exist. That Act went for transparency and instead of the treasurer writing a letter or the Treasury doing a calculation in a spreadsheet and sending off the money to the states he had to make a determination that had to be published because it was a legislative instrument.

    So, two measures to promote better transparency about what the government is doing, by making such determination publishable etc, appears to be bad using the number of regulations measure.

    Of course sunsetting of regulation has also led to an increase in the volume of regulation create each year. Again, a good regulatory making practise appears to be bad using the number of regulations measure.

    This has probably been offset to some extent by automatic indexation of fees and fines (not sure if this occurs at Commonwealth level).

  13. duncanm

    Funny… the quote I’m looking at, which Nick quoted, (despite the typo) says the same thing as your numbers (800 new pieces of legislation since 2007).

    In 2007, Labor promised a ‘one in, one out’ rule for new regulations. But since coming to office, the Rudd-Gillard Government has nearly 800 pieces of legislation and published nearly 21,000 legislative instruments and repealed just 104

    Where’s the disconnect, other than in your selective quoting of the web page. Maybe you should have read the attached pdf which fleshes out the policy a little more.

  14. Russell

    duncanm – the disconnect is that if you go to the government’s official website (comlaw.gov.au) you can click on Acts and see how many have been passed each year, and if you click on Legislative Instruments you can see that the number passed each year is in the hundreds. As Sam says the definition can be very broad – any instrument made under a power delegated by parliament – but I think the more common understanding is the one you get from ComLaw.

  15. Nick

    duncanm, there’s a disconnect because the Coalition have decided to mangle their own research and run with two figures in the media only – 21,000 and 105. There are numerous google results for Tony Abbott and other members mentioning them, and only them, in comparison to one another. “21,000 new regulatory instruments” has become “21,000 new regulations”.

    In actual fact, there’s been a lot less than 21,000 new regulations introduced – as opposed to every last legal detail published as part of those regulations (including commencement notices and that kind of thing) – there’s been 800 or so. You can also guarantee there’s been a lot more than 105 regulatory instruments repealed…which makes it a bogus comparison in any case.

    But clearly 800 wasn’t a big enough sounding figure. As Robert has shown here, it actually represents a decrease in the rate of new regulations introduced, not an increase.

  16. duncanm

    Ok… so I go to comlaw.gov.au

    Search All legislative instruments, sort by date. Look at the totals that come up under the ‘Current’ tab.

    2013 – 1087
    2012 – 1798
    2011 – 1813
    2010 – 2063
    2009 – 3166
    2008 – 3390
    2007 – 3541
    total 16858

    doesn’t sound very far from 21k to me.

    There’s another seperate listing under ‘Historical’ – eg: 1256 for 2007. I’m sure if I added those I’d easily get to 21k.

  17. duncanm

    Even better.. an advanced search on “Legislative Instruments” commenced between 1Jan2007 and 1Jan2013 returns 22,210 items.

    Does that do it for you?

  18. duncanm

    Now.. having said that, the previous government wasn’t any better.

    The count for 2001-2007 (6 year period) is 22339.

  19. duncanm

    Acts are a more interesting comparison

    2001-2007 – 17
    2007-2013 – 453

  20. Russell

    Duncanm – while you can produce the results you did for Statutory Instruments, that includes proclamations, determinations etc as Sam said, and it’s not what most people think of as legislation/regulations.

    Not sure how you get the result for the Acts, but it’s wrong. 2001 alone had 170 Acts.