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Humour in the Morning – Yes Minister – How to Discredit a Report, Minister – Australian Version


“Yes, Minister” is well and truly the principal reference for our government at the moment, and thanks to extracts from episode “The Greasy Pole”, intercut with some recent sound bites we can see all too clearly how the techniques of Sir Humphrey are alive and kicking in what Tony Abbott and his ministers are doing. We hope you’ll love this – I know it’s long, but it sure doesn’t feel like 7 minutes when you watch it. You’ll be well rewarded.

See the recommended techniques for how to discredit an unwelcome report. They’re all too frequently being used even as we speak.

Stage One: Refuse to publish in the public interest saying 1. There are security considerations. 2. The findings could be misinterpreted. 3. You are waiting for the results of a wider and more detailed report which is still in preparation. (If there isn’t one, commission it; this gives you even more time).

Stage Two: Discredit the evidence you are not publishing, saying 1. It leaves important questions unanswered. 2. Much of the evidence is inconclusive. 3. The figures are open to other interpretations. 4. Certain findings are contradictory. 5. Some of the main conclusions have been questioned. (If they haven’t, question them yourself; then they have).

Stage Three: Undermine the recommendations. Suggested phrases: 1. ‘Not really a basis for long term decisions’. 2. ‘Not sufficient information on which to base a valid assessment’. 3. ‘No reason for any fundamental rethink of existing policy’. 4. ‘Broadly speaking, it endorses current practice’.

Stage Four: Discredit the person who produced the report. Explain (off the record) that 1. He is harbouring a grudge against the Department. 2. He is a publicity seeker. 3. He is trying to get a Knighthood/Chair/Vice Chancellorship. 4. He used to be a consultant to a multinational. 5. He wants to be a consultant to a multinational.” “It is only totalitarian governments that suppress facts. In this country we simply take a democratic decision not to publish them.”

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