As Greg Hunt rapidly discovers that winning the inaugural World’s Best Minister award could be the worst thing that has ever happened to him, there is some confusion emerging about how such an outcome even came about.
Accordingly, the social media satire has been turned up to 11, perhaps topped by the “video message” below from Greens Deputy Leader Scott Ludlam. In the message, Ludlam calls on all Australians to push for February 10 to be named Greg Hunt Day in honour of his new title.
“It may sound like something his mum made up,” Ludlam says in the video, “but on behalf of the Australian Greens, I’m asking you to join with me in calling on Prime Minister Malcolm Turbull to make February 10 a public holiday in honour of this unique occasion.
“He approved the world’s largest coal mine, and signed off on dumping 3 million cubic meters of dredge spoil on the Great Barrier Reef; abolished a billion-dollar biodiversity fund, and wants native forests woodchipped and fed into power stations, and gutted our world-class marine reserve system.
“Our hope, is that the statues built in Minister Hunt’s honour, in every capital city, will be built far enough above sea level that generations to come can honour him.”
So how did this happen? In a Melbourne radio interview on Wednesday, the environment minister said the idea for the award – and the concomitant list of nominees – was dreamed up by global news agency, Reuters.
“Reuters news agency said to the UAE Government that they’d like to create the award and present it at the World Government Summit,” Hunt said on 3AW.
“They then commissioned the World Bank, the OECD, Ernst & Young and an international strategic firm called Strategy and Co to draw up a list of 100 – they then winnowed it down to 10.
“They used a series of criteria, they had a voting program – and we didn’t know about it, and I got a call just over a week ago.”
But The Guardian is reporting today that Thomson Reuters has since distanced itself from the whole unfortunate business, saying it was “not correct” to say that the company initiated the award or were responsible for designing the selection process.
“Thomson Reuters was solely responsible for assisting in the administration of the award, to a set of criteria approved by the World Government Summit organisers,” said Tarek Fleihan, head of corporate communications for the financial information company in the Middle East, Africa and Russia.
As the Guardian reports, Thomson Reuters has also promised to issue a full clarifying statement, but has not yet done so. Reuters news, meanwhile, said it had no involvement in the process.
According to summit’s website, the criteria for World’s Best Minister include:
– Innovation and leadership: the solution that was introduced by the candidate will have revolutionised the utilisation of government services by its citizens. This work of true innovation will have increased productivity, reduced costs and improve the citizen’s opinion of the government.
– Quality and impact: the solution should address the needs of the citizens and must demonstrate a significant social impact. Significant social impact includes but is not limited to easily accessible government services for all citizens, efficiency in execution, human development impact, job creation, etc.
– Replication: the solution must have the quality of being easily replicated in multiple geographies. The solution should demonstrate propensity for impact beyond the local level, either nationally, regionally or globally.
– Reputation: the candidate must be highly credible amongst his peers and the general public. The candidate must have a proven record amongst his peers of developing innovative solutions that have positively impacted the citizens.
That last one might need to be reassessed by the end of this week.