The Null Device

Politicians behaving badly

Members of the New South Wales parliament could soon face breath tests before voting on legislation. The move was prompted after a number of reports of bad behaviour by apparently inebriated parliamentarians, including a frontbencher shoving a female MP after a Christmas party and the police minister having to resign after dancing in his underpants at a drunken party in his office.

The move is supported by the state's transport workers' union, on the grounds that if rail workers have to suffer the indignity of random alcohol tests, so should politicians.

There are 1 comments on "Politicians behaving badly":

Posted by: Greg Tue Dec 9 04:48:37 2008

I wonder sometimes about public servants and caffeine. It's well known a large proportion of white-collar person-hours are spent under the influence of this legal stimulant. What effect might this have on the work being done? As far as I know, the principal effect of coffee is to override one's perception of boredom - the sense of the uselessness of one's current activity. So what would be the effect if public servants were prevented from working under the influence of caffeine? Logically, one expects that less work would get done, and the easy argument is that this would be a bad thing. But perhaps the worker's boredom is signalling something important which shouldn't be masked? Perhaps that filing and office admin is not as important as the coffee makes it seem! Consider alcohol: it reduces anxiety, which on the surface seems like a good thing, whereas we know that lack of anxiety causes people to act in unwise ways, and therefore we ban alcohol from most workplaces.