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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

if I had the time « Previous | |Next »
June 22, 2004

I'm just far too busy to post much today.

I was going to post on how Australia's Free Trade Agreement with the US places constraints on Australia's democratic governance. The argument would have been that most of the disputes about economics and environmental conflicts would be decided by a trade disputes committee. This makes the decisions in terms of trade considerations and it declares that a law should be changed or compensation paid. Most environmental regulation is seen as a restriction on trade.

The implications are explored here.

I mention the the FTA because the rumors are that the ALP is starting to waver on the issue and back the US free trade agreement. And they are crumbling ling under pressure without even a commitment to renegotiate the Agreement.

Waver waver, then buckle.

That's the ALP. Look at the backlip on the PBS. The ALP has said it would now support legislation that increases the co-payment by 30 per cent. Patients face rises of up to $4.90 in prescribed drugs charges.

And this is from a party that says it stands for social justice and universal health care. Remember the ALP had once opposed the PBS increases because they would hit the "sickest and poorest Australians".

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:40 PM | | Comments (6)


What the backflip on the PBS copayment means Gary, is that Labor think they are very close to the Treasury benches now. They have looked at the exponential and unsustainable growth in the costs of the scheme and are pooping their pants, just like the govt. Better to accede to Howard govt legislation now, than have to introduce the same legislation when in power(either that or raise taxes). It's called having to face up to the bloody obvious in govt, when you were free to be wankers in Opposition. Either that, or you believe Garrett has had a major influence on compromising their policy. He's been pretty good at growing up and compromising lately. Could be catching.

You might recall the statement by a govt minister a while ago, that if the PBS scheme costs continue to blow out as they have in recent years, then within a decade the PBS will exceed our TOTAL spend on education. How would you suggest Labor cope with that prediction Gary, other than the bleeding obvious of more user pays?

dunno. I prefer the interpretation that the ALP is trying to find ways to fund its tax cuts.That is what being responsible means.

I presume the left strand of the party opposed the changes in the caucus.

Mine is a single income family with two dependent children. That income is below the cutoff for the current tax cuts.

I have chronic illnesses which require several prescription meds each month for life. I do not go the doctor unless the visit is imperative because of the costs. I do not have a healthcare card (not that that matters so much now as the specialists I have go to do not bulk bill anyone including pensioners).

Dentistry is only a distant memory.

Now with the PBS backflip, meds may also become a luxury I can't afford: my children must come first.

Life is getting so much harder for families at my level. We are the people the ALP should be representing. I don't feel ANY political party cares any more about people struggling with day-to-day existence.

Chris over at Backpages writes:

"For poor, chronically ill folk, there's nothing but cruelty in slugging them on their essential drugs, in the context of a society where the incomes of the rich have grown by 6 per cent over about the same period, while the poor have gone backwards by 10 per cent."

I could not agree more. The responsible economic managers in the ALP are heartless, mean and cruel. The ALP is doing very little for the working poor.

Treasury could not care less. They think that inequality is good. People should suffer. They they will only value the public services if they pay for them.

In SA many cannot afford to pay their electricity bills. All that is being offered by the ALP in SA is more time to pay the big bills. But many cannot afford to pay. So the electricity is cut off. No showers or warm food.

But they'll get free pneumococcal vaccinations(that were $600 privately)for a disease that's on the increase due to an increasing use of antibiotics Gary. And they'll get more environmental flows in the Murray and higher teachers and nurses salaries, etc. And if we ratify Kyoto and supply more green power, they'll have even more unaffordable power bills, etc. And some people want HECS lowered and more public subsidies of universities. It sure is tough setting priorities.