Articles – The Centre for Independent Studies

Civil disobedience ‘shame’ worn with pride

09 December 2016 | Ideas@TheCentre

sk red tape 1Anybody doubting the ludicrous level of government meddling in business need look no further than the Workplace Gender Equality Agency. This taxpayer-funded generator of needless red tape requires businesses with more than 100 employees to complete annual paperwork delving into gender ratios and salaries. It then publicly ‘names and shames’ companies that don’t complete that paperwork (including mine, as noted in recent media).

My company does not discriminate for race, age, sex or religion. If someone has a good attitude, is not afraid of work and willing to learn, they’re a starter in our view. Let me say too, this is not a particularly profound or enlightened perspective — it is just common sense and good for business.

But we do discriminate against time-wasting bureaucracies. The WGEA is a prime example of unnecessary government intrusion, and my business has much more productive endeavours to pursue than filling out paperwork for government agencies like the WGEA. We are challenged enough to make our business better, to give customers a better experience and to operate efficiently without distractions like this.

While politicians and economists lament the declining productivity in our economy, it is exactly this red tape and the imposts of these bureaucracies that tax the efforts of enterprise. If the government was serious about tackling productivity it would get out of our way — it would abolish the WGEA and the abundance of other regulations that hinder us.

I want the best outcomes for my business and believe that good performance should be encouraged and rewarded, irrespective of sex. We are conscious of HR shortcomings, appreciate the challenges and work to overcome them.

I would like to add, that as a dad to 3 girls I am a huge advocate for the success of women, and have long been pleased to see the increasing number of non-taxpayer funded advocates for the success of women — which further emphasises this is an area the government does not need to participate in.

Being ‘named and shamed’ by the WGEA is a badge of honour, and we should encourage (and celebrate) others to get on board the civil disobedience wagon.

Sam Kennard is Managing Director of Kennards Self Storage and a member of the CIS Board.

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