WOW! You have to hand it to the bureaucracies of the new millennium.
Read the corporate mission statement… they come up with words like innovative, and visionary, to describe plans for new public lavatories.
Now, with most of Queensland in the grip of a serious drought (Townsville, too, but that’s normal for us at this time of year) they are coming up with some seriously innovative and visionary answers.
I am particularly impressed with the Gold Coast. Townsville could learn something from the Gold Coast – Australia’s Hollywood, its sixth largest city, tourism Mecca and the birthplace of gold chains.
It is suffering a serious drought that has seen its water supply cut in half. They’re not exactly dying of thirst, you understand, but they have been forbidden to use sprinklers in the garden.
But they have the answer. They are going to ask the city’s residents to help them out of the dilemma – they’re going to ask them to pray.
Personally I’d have thought they’d have more luck with a game of cricket. That usually brings it on. But no, they’re going to pray.
Don’t laugh. There could be very serious consequences. Probably the worst of them will be that it might work!
We’ll never hear the last of it. Council prayer meetings will sweep the state, with everything on the agenda from lower rates to having someone come round to fix the drains.
We’ll be able to do away with chief executives and strategic plans and instead have men of the cloth swinging incense holders.
I mean, I have nothing against praying. When you’ve just looked down and found there’s a box jellyfish between you and the beach, that’s probably a good time for some serious praying, but when you’ve just been told you’re forbidden to sprinkle the garden, praying seems… excessive. I’d rather have something more… technical.
Like a plan.
Wasting water like… well, water, and then praying some more will fall just doesn’t have the ring of science about it that we’ve come to expect of the 21st millennium.
It does have one good thing going for it, though, if you’re a local authority.
I mean, if it were Townsville City Council that was praying for rain, who would be in the opposition? It’s one thing being a Liberal or an Independent doing battle against the Labor Party, but if we’re invoking the help of You-Know-Who through prayer, then who’s going to take the side of the other bloke – the one with the horns?
And what could we deduce if we prayed and it didn’t rain? That we’d all been bad? That we hadn’t sacrificed enough virgins?
From what I’ve seen of modern society I reckon we’ve probably sacrificed all the virgins but it doesn’t seem to make it rain any more frequently.
God knows where it will all end (which is what prayers rely on, I suppose) but to me it seems like a short step from praying for rain to running about in loincloths and blind panic when we have a total eclipse of the sun.
And let’s face it, if you really want to be seen as a technologically advanced city with one of the country’s most enviable lifestyles, would you be asking ratepayers to help you out with a quick prayer, or even a long one?
Not unless you had a hot line to Someone up there who was guaranteed to come up with the goods.
In which case the city elders down on the Gold Coast are a lot smarter than anyone realises.