“Sod the wine, I want to suck on the writing. This man White is an instinctive writer, bloody rare to find one who actually pulls it off, as in still gets a meaning across with concision. Sharp arbitrage of speed and risk, closest thing I can think of to Cicero’s ‘motus continuum animi.’

Probably takes a drink or two to connect like that: he literally paints his senses on the page.”

DBC Pierre (Vernon God Little, Ludmila’s Broken English, Lights Out In Wonderland ... Winner: Booker prize; Whitbread prize; Bollinger Wodehouse Everyman prize; James Joyce Award from the Literary & Historical Society of University College Dublin)





24 September 2014


CLARIFICATION: ... for awhile this morning it seemed that in his clean-up of government-appointed boards, South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill had axed the controversial Phylloxera Board.

This is most certainly NOT the case.

On Monday 22, his office made this statement:

Boards and committees review says 105 should go

A new report proposes 105 State Government boards and committees should be abolished, with a further 194 to be reformed, merged or reclassified.

Releasing the results of the whole-of-Government audit today, Premier Jay Weatherill said the process is aimed at improving the community’s access to Government decision makers and reducing red tape.

“This is about finding new ways of Government’s being informed on policy issues, as too often this advice is confined to a select group of people,” Mr Weatherill said.

“I am interested in finding new and innovative ways to develop this advice, ensuring it flows more directly from citizens and businesses alike.

“While some boards, such as the Economic Development Board and the Defence SA will be retained, it is clear that many others no longer have relevance or they should be replaced.

“Some boards will be merged to remove duplication and others will be subject to reform, for example those recommended by the Expert Panel on Planning Reform.”

The report recommends that of the 429 State Government boards and committees:

· 105 be abolished
· 72 be retained in their present form
· 18 be merged
· 59 be reformed
· 117 be reclassified
· 58 be subject to further investigation before a final decision is made

Boards that are subject to reclassification will still function but will no longer be considered Government boards.

Mr Weatherill said that it is presently difficult to quantify the savings that would be made from the reform.

“The reforms will assist agencies meet their savings targets and there will be some instances where resources are reinvested,” Mr Weatherill said.

The interim report will help to inform the drafting of legislation that will remove the legal requirements for the existence of particular boards and committees.

The reform will continue over the coming weeks before a final report and subsequent legislation will be finalised later this year.


This morning, in response to Premier Weatherill's press secretary's tweet promoting the boards purge, I asked what will happen to the Phylloxera Board.

"abolished to be replaced by direct sector engagement," came the secretary's response at 1105.

This was quickly contradicted by the Premier whose tweet said "stays."

When I asked about this confusion, Weatherill tweeted (1228) "board stays selection committee goes sorry about confusion."

And the secretary followed up with "apologies - theres also a phylloxera and grape industry board of SA selection committee which has been abolished."

DRINKSTER awaits government's intelligence on precisely who will select the next board.

"Will check" was Premier Weatherill's last tweet, responding to my query about whether the selectors or the board would include vested-interest people who sell phylloxera-resistant rootstocks and stand to do very big business indeed when phylloxera spreads. 

If his direct personal response to questions like these stays as open and brisk, then Premier Weatherill's pulled a perfect coup, removing all those layers of obfuscation and pettifoggery.

Not that phylloxera's a petty thing.

Or pretty.

So, from whence comes the board?

Looking, looking!


STOP PRESS:  TWITTER: South Australia's Premier Weatherill's  press office says new Phylloxera Board likely to be selected by the chief executive officer of the Department of Primary Industries and Resources. 


"Likely to be CE of PIRSA to ensure arms length from vested interest groups"

Arm's length? That's the width of the CEO's desk. 

The arm is longer than the tongue.

Phylloxera in the Mitchelton Vineyard in the Goulburn Valley, Victoria, above. 

Read Matthew VII v 16

Now owned by Gerry and Andrew Ryan, this outfit was absorbed by Brian Croser's Petaluma from 1994 to 2001. Colin Ryan was an accountant on Petaluma's board. Croser was chair of the Winemakers Federation of Australia (WFA) from 1991-93. After Croser  bought Mitchelton from Stephen Shelmerdine AM in 94, Shelmerdine became WFA chair. Croser then followed him back in again for 1997-99. Croser is now quietly le grande fromage at the Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA).

AGWA is what became of the perfectly named Wine Australia when a few long-term schemers used Queensland bean-counting Senator Bananaby Joice to crash it into the major Australia grape-growers' representative body.

Lots and lots of taxpayers' money.

One of this new outfit's roles is "to advance the objects of the Act by helping to ensure the truth, and the reputation for truthfulness, of statements made on wine labels, or made for commercial purposes in other ways, about the vintage, variety or geographical indication of wine manufactured in Australia."

I wrote about this in 2010. I feel sure that somehow one of these great brains will have a quiet lunch somewhere with the CEO of PIRSA, non?


Anonymous said...

Croser will select the board and the cuttings.

Brian Bruce McCrother said...

Biggles is the Minister of Agriculture. He's very quiet.