Sunday, July 17, 2005

The Challenge: How the Pollies Responded.

Posted by AmishThrasher at 11:51 am
Victorian Parliament House, Spring Street
Spring Street:
Who bothered to Reply?
One week ago (between 1:09 and 1:25 PM on the 9th of July), I sent e-mails to the ALP, Liberals, and Greens. The aim of the excercise is simple: to see what kind of responses I would get to a bunch of simple questions about their policies on public transport. Given my commentary on the delapidated and underused state of metropolitan Melbourne's public transport infrastructure, this would provide the parties with both a right-of-reply, and an opportunity to address some of the problems I had identified. It would be interesting to repeat the excercise in the lead up to the next state election to compare how much more prompt the replies are. So which of the 3 parties performed best in our challenge?

It took a couple of days for any of the parties to reply to the request: the first reply I got back was on Tuesday (the 12) when, at 12:55, I got the first e-mail back. Who was the first party to respond? The Greens, with the following e-mail (some names and e-mails have been removed):
Subject: Re: Public transport policies etc.
Date: 12 July 2005 12:55:14 PM

Andrew (? surname?),

thanks for your enquiry. I have responded to the particular issues
below. I would have copied this query to our public transport
spokesperson, but unfortunately we are in the process of re-appointing
this person.

So please see if this helps. And get back to me if necessary.

On Sat, 2005-07-09 at 13:25 +1000, Andrew wrote:
> To whom it may concern,
> I would like to make some inquiries in regard's to the Greens current
> public transport policy. Here are some specific questions I have in
> regards to such policies in metropolitan Melbourne. Any assistance
> would be greatly appreciated:
> 1) In brief, what are the key priorities of the Greens public
>transport policies, and where is more information about it available?

Our state policies are at: Transport.

> 2) How do current Green policies in regards to public transport differ
> from those under the Bracks Government?

I am not able to give you this analysis, in my role. Perhaps the spokesperson can do this, once appointed. Similarly with the specific queries below.

Your patience in this matter is most appreciated.

??? ???
Party Administrator
Direct Email)
From the Front Desk, Vic State Office.

Australian Greens (Victoria)
GPO Box xxxx
General email)
Ph: (xx) xxxx xxxx
Fax: (xx) xxxx xxxx
Web site:

NOTE: the AGV State Office is open Mon-Thur 10.00 am - 6.00 pm.

In other words, in spite of not currently having a Public Transport spokesperson, the Greens were the first of the 3 parties to respond to my e-mail. While they didn't reply to any of my questions, they did provide a link to the website where they present their public transport policies. I'll have a look at these policies in greater depth later.

Anyway, less than an hour after recieving the e-mail from the Greens, I got a letter back from the ALP. Basically it was a stock e-mail simply acknowledging that they had recieved an e-mail from me, and that it was being "receiving attention" with a response coming as soon as possible. What I suspect it means is that it landed in some secretary's inbox, was deemed unimportant. and will get replies to me whenever they get around to it - if they get around to it. If they do eventually reply, I will post the e-mail here in full with comments.

So what of the Liberals? Well, thus far, no response or acknowledgement whatsoever. In thsi challenge, they have clearly performed the worst of the bunch. This really is a poor communications effort, from the State Liberals, to an active voter. Or do voters only matter before elections?

So far in our challenge, the Greens have clearly performed best, even with one hand tied behind their backs, making a genuine effort to reply to my concerns. It's appreciated. As I said earlier, if I get any more replies I'll post them, but after a week, I'm honestly not holding my breath on it. In contrast to the Greens, both of the major parties have performed very poorly - thus far - at this challenge.