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Gillard on politics and health policy « Previous | |Next »
May 23, 2006

In launching the Tim Wright (ed.), Time for Change book at the Paperchain Bookshop in Manuka, Canberra, Julia Gillard, Labor's health spokeswoman, said that the reporting of politics tended to focus on the personalities at the expense of promoting discussions around public policy. She said:

...politics has been narrowed down to a political contest with personalities....there is a sense of who won, who lost and who made the play of the day. But this is not politics at all---the real stuff of politics is a contest of values and ideas about how to make a better nation.

This is the politics as a sporting contest view of politics of the Canberra Press Gallery that is based on reading minute signs and moods:

Allan Moir

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that in her chapter in the book Gillard argues for fresh thinking in health policy and that progress is being paralysed by a conservative Howard Government's resistance to change.

Gillard says hospital delays, inadequate services for the aged and mentally ill, and a health system straining under layers of administration show the need for a thorough rethink of health. She then argues broadly for a more patient-focused system that places more emphasis on preventative care to reduce chronic illnesses, and rebuilds what she calls the "public realm".

Gillard says that Australia should be doing more to combat diseases like diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease, all of which were at least 50 per cent preventable.This could be done by developing population health measures to ensure that people did not go to the doctor when feeling ill but have appropriate continuing contact to manage their health, identify risk factors and to be screened to help early diagnosis.

She says that if we are to surmount the situation of health services under pressure, overworked staff and governments shifting blame, the we must open our minds to new ways. Rather than addressing poor co-ordination and service delivery, or barriers to alternative types of care, spending had been focused "on short-term political fix-its".

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 4:36 PM | | Comments (6)


Common bloody sense.

Unfortunately, the political system leaves little room for common sense and a long term view.

Well it's just not the political system is it. It's the way that the politics is reported by the Canberra media in terms of a sports contest and personalities.

True, just about everything is being tainted by the touch of the media, in their efforts to make all aspects of life some form of entertainment product.

Well infotainment is the tabloid side of the media isn't it. We still have the quality broadsheet press of Fairfax and the Australian standing firm.

Though they offer a liberal and conservative prespective on politics they still think of politics in terms of personalities and political contests---witness all the nonsense about leadership challenges to both Howard and Beazely in the last week. Honestly, the tabloid talk about AWU leader Bill Shorten parachuting in to replace him is just garbage.

There is little discussion of public policy--its boring. What there is isn't informed--most journalists know nothing about this. Nor do they want to know. Its too hard. You get better op. eds and discussions on OnlineOpinion

Gary, I beg to differ. The Oz has become very much a tabloid in recent times with its sensationalist headlines and articles and its one dimensional editorials and opinion pieces.


The Australian is very partisan in its approach.

Lindsay Tanner,the ALP member for Melbourne and Shadow Minister for Finance, says in New Matilda online that:

The banal, superficial coverage that typifies the Australian media leaves us in a state of blind ignorance about underlying causes in global conflict. It fosters an impression that other peoples, particularly certain races, are apt to indulge in mass violence for no particular reason. It prevents us from understanding the forces that drive human history, and that will drive future global events.