16/05/2006 - 22:00

Carpenter rings the bell on change

16/05/2006 - 22:00


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Alan Carpenter won a few friends here at WA Business News when he spoke at our Success & Leadership breakfast last week.

Alan Carpenter won a few friends here at WA Business News when he spoke at our Success & Leadership breakfast last week.

While some media proclaimed he was trying to distract attention from the implosion of his police minister, John D’Orazio, we thought he’d just selected a few items from our list of 34 ideas published a month ago and decided to make them policy.

We won’t claim copyright on any of them, most of them were borrowed from many luminaries who’ve graced these pages over the past few years.

It was a good speech and did make me feel that we do have the champion required to jettison some of the antiquated elements of Western Australia.

I note that, not only did Mr Carpenter have a crack at the need for liquor licensing reform, but his treasurer, Eric Ripper, also took time during his budget comments the following day to suggest the forces opposing change in this area needed to bring themselves into the modern era.

Mr Carpenter said people shouldn’t have to go to Melbourne to get a coffee or a drink anytime.

It’s a point we at WA Business News have raised many times and, while opponents of deregulation may argue that trading hours for this type of business are already flexible, I am glad the premier understands that current licensing regulations create barriers to new entrants and stifle this sector.

On a lighter note, while bagging the Court government monument, the Bell Tower, Mr Carpenter did reveal that he had been stunned by the two-storey steel sculpture in Chicago’s Millennium Park during his recent business visit there.

I’ve mentioned this piece of work, called Cloud Break, (pictured) several times since I saw it at the weekend of the park’s public opening in 2004.

It confirms to me that there is a good reason for politicians to travel and expose themselves to other parts of the world.

“People just stand there and go ‘wow’,” Mr Carpenter said.

Hopefully he takes this further, as we suggested, with a major sculpture – and this is not a frivolous suggestion.

One area the premier was reticent to explore was a question from the audience about WA having a cohesive branding strategy, the number one idea from the package we presented last month.

Mr Carpenter said he was cautious in presenting a big picture that was exclusive.

He said one of John Howard’s political strengths was that he allowed people to think of Australia in they way they wanted to, rather than dictating what our nation was.

Mr Carpenter said he’d rather not tell Western Australians that ‘this was the way the state would be, like it or lump it’.

That is a fair point, but to outsiders there still needs to be a cohesive message that brings all our outward looking industries together because – as I have said before – today’s tourists and students may be tomorrow’s mining engineers and neighbouring political leaders.


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