Saturday, May 30, 2009

The fig leaf of "acting commercially"

I received the letter below from Penny Sharpe MLC, Parliamentary Secretary for Transport:

When I wrote to our local member, I did not ask that either State Transit of private bus companies spend any money on cleaning bus shelters and bus seats - that makes paragraph 4 a waste of space.  Furthermore, the company I am working for presently has hundreds of outlets around Australia, and some of them get graffiti on them from time to time. The company is utterly ruthless about having it removed immediately - first thing before they open their doors - because they understand it is bad for their corporate image.  I don't see how "acting commercially" can ever be an excuse for failing to remove graffiti.  

I will be interested to see how paragraph 5 works out - the request for State Transit to institute a policy requiring drivers to report bus shelter graffiti.  Will the bus unions play ball?  I doubt it.  

My response is going to be along these lines:

We have a Labor MP in our electorate - Angela D'Amore, and one next door in Balmain - Verity Firth.  Now let's imagine it has come election time, and Verity visits our electorate and notices that someone has been busy drawing Pancho Villa moustaches on every poster of Angela, and writing rude words about the Labor Party.  Will Verity:

A) - do nothing, as it is not her electorate, and therefore not her problem
B) - ring Angela and tell her she has a problem, and that the defacement of her posters is a problem for all Labor candidates as it "contaminates the brand", making them all look bad
C) - try and clean the graffiti off, or failing that, remove the vandalised posters and arrange for replacements to be sent out

I wonder if Penny Sharpe will see the parallels between this and the situation facing Sydney Buses?  Sydney Buses are not responsible for the bus shelters, but a smashed up, defaced bus shelter makes them look bad.  Do they:

A) - do nothing (which is what they do now)
B) - report it
C) - do something about it

I'm not asking for "C".  I'm simply asking for "B".  It will cost them almost nothing - not even a phone call, since most councils have a web based logging system for this sort of thing.

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