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

tax cuts v better health care « Previous | |Next »
November 1, 2007

The Commonwealth Government appears unlikely to take full control of the Mersey hospital until after the federal election due to a medical registration bungle.Then we have a spat that played out on ABC Radio talkback on Tuesday morning between Tony Abbott, the commonwealth Minister of Health and Ageing and Lara Giddings, the Tasmanian Minister of Health over who is lying.

Todays Advocate editorial says:

..the Federal Government’s attitude was to seize the Mersey and worry about the detail later. It never consulted its own health department, bothered to find out how much it would cost, or tell the State Government about its plans … the ad hoc, often chaotic way this thing has been handled at times by the Feds smacks of political expediency of the worst kind.

This takeover was meant to a vote winner and the solution to the public hospital crisis, not just a means to hold the marginal seat of Braddon.


In the meantime we have the background debate between the budget surpluses being returned as tax cuts or invested in better health services. It's an odd debate since a substantial majority of Australians would prefer more goods and services from government, rather than personal tax cuts.

Jack Waterford, writing in the Canberra Times, points to ideology:
The cult of tax cuts, which began in the late 1980s, coincided with a general decline in public confidence in the capacity of the Government to change society for the better. It developed, reasonably enough, into a demand for greater choice in how services were taken up.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 12:51 PM | | Comments (7)


Abbott had a bad day yesterday ---it was apologies all round --for insulting Bernie Baddon the terminally ill campaigner for asbestos victims; then for missing the first half of a nationally televised debate on health policy.

So where is the health debate going now with the Mersey hospital debacle? Wasn't the Commonwealth takeover of the Tasmanian hospital meant to be a key policy difference between the two sides of politics.

the Commonwealth couldn't meet the November 1 takeover deadline because of a lack of appropriate medical staff. The shortage of health professionals was mentioned at the time, but the Commonmwealth dismissed these concerns, confident that money would talk.

TIts failure leaves it standing exposed in the south westerly wind as its health policy was structured around local boards running hospitals. That was meant to be a key condition for commonwealth funding for the states.

All I can read into Abbott's "bad hair" day is nonstop serial incompetence, temper and imbecility of a level that would embarrass a four year old child.
After watching Lateline last night, with the minister thrown to the tender mercies of ( a reluctant ) Jones and the spectral and dreadful Gillard visitation, all I can say is either the bloke has a hide thicker than ten Rhinoceras', or is a masochist's glutton for punishment.
But if he wants his proverbial weekly dose of the cat', why not at least leave the self-abnegation for a private time?

Tacky stuff. Which reminds me, Rudd must have waxed lyrical, given the earie repreive he got because of Abbott.

The Abbott fiasco is yet another indication of a campaign in trouble--bad planning and basic logistical mistakes.

I thought we were going to get an unveiling of the Coalition's overall health/hopital policy on the occasion of the great Mersey
tent function which in the end folded away.I suspect another 'happening' is being planned. They have to tell us some time how the "boards" are going to work.


That's how I read it too. Look back over the campaign so far and try to find a couple of strong themes and you find instead that they're just jumping all over the place. Messages don't get through without strong and coordinated narratives. Maybe they've decided it's not worth the effort?

You expect slip ups in a campaign, but Abbott's efforts have been extraordinary. Stress maybe?

The account that says the calling of the election will change public sympathies, cause voters to snap out of their dream states and listen to what Howard is saying doesn't apperar to be working in this election campaign. The political contest has not tightened to the point where it's just about even.

There has been little narrowing in the polls.Things are remaining the same.