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

ALP: why not some health policies « Previous | |Next »
July 30, 2007

The formation of opinion amongst the Canberra Press Gallery is that the Howard Government's troubles are growing and that it is in electoral trouble. So it's time for the ALP to take the initiative and stop agreeing with Howard and putting forward its own policies that show it is a different brand from the Coalition.

Isn't the ALP marketing itself to us citizens as the party of fresh ideas and innovative policies? Or is it too early in the campaign for this?

Bill Leak

Why not some positive policies on health? Some fresh ideas? An indication about how the ALP will facilitate health reform? After all, the Coalition is not in favour of health reform (reformers damage people says Tony Abbott). So a new policy front can be opened up that would work to the advantage of the AL.

Their Fresh Ideas Future Economy policy document does favour a strategic emphasis on primary care and prevention:

The current health system is very good at providing acute and episodic care when people are sick, but it is not well equipped to meet the future challenge of the growing chronic disease burden....Federal Labor believes the best way to equip our health system to deal with the challenges of the future is to end the blame game and re-invigorate the role of the primary care system – the front line of the health system which provides health care to local communities.

However, the Fresh Ideas Future Economy document does not suggest how they plan to meet increased demand for health care services given both the limitations around dollars and resources, and the equity issues rising from those not being able to afford to pay for health services.

Update: 31 July
I've been attending the AHCRA health reform conference in Old Parliament House in fogged bound Canberra Monday and Tuesday of this week. The Coalition did not present at the conference. So they are not seen to be in favour of health reform. There is no need for it in their view, despite Abbott saying that the health system is a dogs breakfast.

Nicola Roxon presented yesterday afternoon, and her set speech was based on Rudd's fresh ideas for health. Roxon says that they have lots of policies under wraps she said. There were no sneak previews apart from Roxon saying that a Labor Government would ban the use of licensed characters such as Shrek as well as toys and giveaways, in promotions on television, mobile phone networks, the internet and in-store promotions to market food and drinks to children as part of a plan to tackle childhood obesity.

This policy opens up a clear difference between Labor and the Coalition — which has previously rejected policy advice to restrict junk food advertising to children.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:27 AM | | Comments (9)


why doesn't kevvie do this the way i think he should?

two answers really: first, it's his election, not yours. second, his goal is getting elected. running the country is merely an adjunct.

The similarity to how Rudd is playing things, against how Howard himself operated in 1995 leading to his win is to me remarkable.
Also, the simple fact is Rudd has dared not move, lest the government stops shooting itself in its own feet for more than a moment. He has played the small target strategy, in season, as howard did in 95-96. This has proved a dazzling contrast to Beazley and Latham. Howard finds himself in the unfamiliar situation of being responsible for his own mistakes. so far Howard has failed as badly as Keating did with dealing with a new, unpalatable reality.
The perfect quiet created by Labor has beautifully amplified the noisy mistakes of people like Andrews and Santoro; thus by implication the puppeteer Howard himself. The spotlight is rightly directed at and questions being asked of, the Howard government. Why get in the road of that spotlight when it is exposing all the weakness Rudd could dream of, just by remaining silent and still?
The thing also is, the election isn't due for an awful long time- up to five months- yet.
Howard proved in 2001 how quickly he could manipulate a bit of routine bad luck and manipulate something like 11/9 or Tampa to his own ends.
Labor knows through bitter repeated experience how dangerous he is, even when down. That's without having him up on his feet again, where Beazley unwittingly returned him in 2001.
Let's not forget that after his defeat of Keating, observers remarked that Howard had actually avoided trouble by avoiding a release of policies likely to be attacked ( unlike '87 ) thus enabling an unbroken focus to remain on the unpopular Keating, to reveal and magnify even small weaknesses.

The ALP needs policies to attract people once they have created doubts about the Coalition amongst voters.

I think they have created the doubts don't you?

I agree with all of the above in terms of its electoral strategy. Doubtr has been created, voters reassured that Rudd is a safe pair of hands, wedges avoided and the team is disciplined. They look competitive.

Haven't we reached the state in the campaign when some fresh ideas are tossed in to avoid the me-toosim image?

i think second-guessing any politician, presuming to guide their tactics, is foolish. getting elected is a trade like any other, tradesmen do it best.

if you want to pretend to guide the directing of the nation with your advice, go ahead. it's a harmless pastime and you can ignore the futility.

politics in oz is a matter for the graziers, those few hundred real people in parliament. the rest of us can only jump, run, eat grass, and baa! our role on the station is to muster for the shearing.

there is such a thing as national character, and for oz it can be summed up as "submissive".

that's why people who are called 'intellectuals' in other countries are here rightly called chatterati.

Hey, Al, there's a word in common usage overseas for 'submissive' and that's 'sheeple'. Says it all really.

But I do think the sheeple are ready to revolt this time around!


Hey, Gary, I guess I've waited long enough! Cheers.

I'm a bit more patient.I'll to see what policies are run out. Give them the benefit of the doubt as it were.

Gary, I thought his release of the housing initiative was devastating as to content and timing. At a moment when the coalition are preoccupied with other matters relating to theirown incompetency, Rudd releases his housing initiative. This initiative cleverly raises several questions suppressed for some time. They relate firstly to the core issue of Howard's competence as an economic manager. This management thing has become synonomous with parsimonious Thatcherite selfish individualism and Hobbesian law of thejungle rather than creativity as to problem solving for Australians; use value is suddenly foregrounded before exchange value. Hasn't economic rationalism's gloomy if once necessary message of caution gradually coming tomean at the expense of ANY thing, as the exclusive route to salvation surely been played out for some time?
Secondly, a parallel issue. In the light of recent events, is the electorate's sense that the coalition is playing politics as to state funding for infrastructure and services now coming into focus?
A re-examination suggests funds are actually kept from states that they then can be labelled incompetent when errors like the Queensland Dr. Death situation inevitably eventuate. Then Howard plays the big man, moving in to "restore order".
It seems social problems are needlessly created, to allow for grandstanding. But meantime, where has the money Costello bragged he had garnered from the minerals boom really been dispersed to? Certainly not for spending on social infrastructure.
Rather, we are told certain people "deserve" this money more than we do; it's obviously our own lazy fault if we are not rich like he and his mates, as we are scroungers, unlike the delightful souls who run organisations like Telstra, Qantas and MacBank.
But the housing intiative suggests the notion of use of Australian's money for something more constructive than tax cuts, wars or Future funds, demonstrating how easily many REAL problems could be solved by a simple release of a moderate amount of money for essential problems and recovering coperation and goodwill between the states and Canberra.
It smacks the neoliberal ideological notions employed to run down infrastructure ready for privatisation a hard blow, because the cuts of the last fifteen years are now starting to bite,as many again lose jobs uneccesarily and rights this time also; also many services once taken for granted. Too much of a very dubious revolution rathethanjust limited and necesary change.
Neo liberalism may have solved corporate welfare problems, but many ordinary people have suspected that the Packers and Murdochs of this world get a free ride at their expense. Don't forget, civilization depends for its survival on regular doses of Big Brother, Desperate Houswives and Sex in the City: your unis, hospitals utilities etc, be damned.
Rudd's move reverses the gambit of 2004, when Howard trumped under-pressure Latham on Tasmanian forestry.
For at this time, Howard's parting gift may be another interest rate rise, but Rudd may be remembered as the man who unlocked the housing deadlock!