This article belongs to And That's the Way It Is column.

As an example as to how far Governments will go in terms of their anti-terrorism paranoia we may take a recent Western Australian case as a perfect example as to how stupid and idiotic some Governments really are.

A colleague who writes for railway magazines recently decided to do some stories for his various publications about new urban railway developments in and around Perth, these new developments being somewhat of a trendsetter in Australia in terms of public transport systems.

He contacts the various transport authorities in Perth including the transport Minister by email and phone and hears nothing from them in return.

So much for open Government-media relationships which, in my view, do not exist in Western Australia in any case.

The man goes to Perth and when he presents himself at the various locations he gets told and lectured upon that he is not allowed to photograph any railway facilities in Perth or anywhere else in Western Australia, this despite the fact that he had an official duty to perform as a journalist and advising accordingly well in advance and despite the fact that these new facilities are public assets, owned by the public, not the WA Government.

In other words, Western Australian Government officialdom turned the exercise into a hide and seek farce.

As an aside, the man did get his pictures in full glorious colour as well as the information that he was seeking so the whole Government emphasis on people not being allowed to take pictures of trains and railway facilities turned out to be a farce in any case.

What is the upshot of all this?

It proves that Government, the WA Government in this instance, have no idea as to how to develop and maintain beneficial relationships with journalists doing a legitimate job.

Governments have no idea as to how to prevent terrorism attacks on public facilities as a potential terrorist would never go onto a railway platform in full daylight taking pictures of trains, he or she would not be that stupid.

Government regulations of this type only highlight the fact that they wish to have control of media and other such processes, rather than preventing terrorism at its roots through clever and creative intelligence. In short, given the way Governments do things, only highlighted by the stupidity of the Western Australian Government in this case, proves as to how badly focused and badly managed places like Western Australia really are.

My message to the Western Australian Government would be this.
"Your railway system is not a terrorist target as terrorists are simply not interested in your trains as a target. Your railway system is a public asset, not a Government one. Allow people to carry out their legitimate profession in the appropriate manner without interference".

In my view, while Western Australia may well be a great place to visit, its Government needs to 'get real' as to from whom, from what and when threats exist in terms of anti-terrorism laws and regulations being acceptable and appropriate.

My name is Henk Luf.
And That's The Way It Is