Tag Archives: justin madden

Matthew Guy’s Ventnor Advice

I don’t have time for a detailed post about Matthew Guy’s extraordinary decision to tell DPCD to change its advice to him about the Ventnor rezoning. But then, who needs one? Thanks to the good work of the opposition and The Age, the facts are now out in the open, and they speak for themselves. You wonder why he couldn’t just disregard the advice, rather than seeking for it to be changed… But then this kind of stuff, like Madden’s Windsor debacle before it, defies explanation. As I said then, good governance would actually be the canny political strategy in these instances.

I did, however, want to make one quick point about Guy’s conduct here that I haven’t seen made anywhere else, and that’s the contrast between the approach of the state government versus local government in a situation such as this. At state government level, the Minister can direct the Department to change its advice and top bureaucrats will acquiesce. In considering how bad a piece of behaviour that is by the Minister, it is worth considering that if he had been a councillor in local government, his request would have been not just poor governance, but actually illegal.

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Trial by Water

Back when I was writing for Planning News, I wrote an editorial about Justin Madden’s handling of the Windsor Hotel debacle. My point then was that politicians are not well served by the over-manipulation of their communication, which ends up alienating the public and cutting politicians off from legitimate sources of feedback. It has therefore been great to see that the new Victorian Planning Minister Matthew Guy has kept up with his twitter account and is obviously writing the posts himself rather than letting a media person do it. So rather than the usual drip feed of press releases, Guy’s account is full of obviously self-generated content that a media adviser would have probably tried to talk him out of, such as salutes to Joh Bjelke-Petersen and amusingly childish baiting of Labor politicians. To his credit, too, he has been responding directly to various tweets sent to or about him. (Update – 19/1/2011: He has now protected his tweets. I can’t see them now so I have no idea whether he’s deleted them or not).

All this is good, and an advance on Labor’s media management, which makes me somewhat reluctant to pick on things he has said. But this morning he re-tweeted this comment from the 3AW feed:

Neil Mitchell: I would take Bob Brown and put him in cage with the looters and scam artists and put him in a river .. he’s a dill

While a re-tweet isn’t necessarily an endorsement, there is no suggestion by Guy that he is posting it as, for example, an example of an unhelpful contribution to the debate. Where do we start with this?

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Sham Sandwich

By "Tranquil Niche" used Under Creative Commons Licence. Click for details.

Originally published as an editorial under a joint by-line with Tim Westcott and Gilda Di Vincenzo in Planning News 36, no. 3 (April 2010): 4.

“I am a bit tired,” was the Planning Minister’s explanation in the midst of his cringe-inducing interview with Neil Mitchell after the release of the now-infamous Windsor Hotel media plan; the same protest slipped out during the Minister’s subsequent press conference announcing that the hotel redevelopment would go ahead. On both occasions it was an unusually direct and human admission, all the more notable for the contrast with the attempts at tightly controlled media messaging that had created the problem in the first place.

There seems little doubt that regardless of what happens in this election year, the Windsor Hotel will be remembered as a low point in Justin Madden’s career. Yet what are the actual lessons to be learnt here?

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Opposition Proposes Mandatory Height Limits for Planning Ministers

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Opposition planning spokesman Matthew Guy has argued for the immediate introduction of a 200cm height limit for planning ministers in response to resident concerns about “out of control” ministerial heights.

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