December 31st, 2013 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments
The tortured syntax of bureaucrats is the subject of my final column for 2013 in The Australian today.
IN the bad old days before bureaucrats wrote mission statements, the job of the Victorian Education Department was to run schools.
Today the department manages “a high-quality, coherent, birth-through-adulthood learning and development system” that costs $11.1 billion a year to run. The department’s job used to be to dispense education; today it exists “to support Victorians to build prosperous, socially engaged, happy and healthy lives”.
Painful as it may be to hear syntax being tortured in this fashion, departmental annual reports can serve a purpose. If following this trail of gibber leads to the abolition of an under-stretched bureaucracy, the English language will not have suffered in vain.
Once bureaucrats content themselves with “increasing awareness”, “making a difference” or delivering “positive outcomes”, they have exhausted the list of useful things to do.