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

NDIS--opposing voices « Previous | |Next »
May 2, 2013

The Bernie Brooks Myer episode over the proposed funding of the NDIS exposes the nature of business intervention into political debate. It is intervention from the position of self-interest in the form of profits before people.

This ignores that the aim of the NDIS is to redistribute Australia’s considerable per capita wealth to allow around 400,000 of the most disadvantaged in our community a better shot at earning a living. To help pay for it--- Disability Care---the Gillard government will raise the Medicare levy — currently a 1.5 per cent levy on everyone's income tax — to 2 per cent--- thereby raising an extra $3.3 billion a year in extra federal revenue.

MoirANDIS.jpg Alan Moir

This is good reform and Gillard Labor has shown some political courage on this issue with its proposal to increase the Medicare levy. It indicates that Labor are prepared to risk increasing their unpopularity in the pursuit of a significant and lasting legacy of reform.

I expect the rhetoric by those opposed to this scheme on ideological grounds (smaller government and lower taxes) will take the form of the small increase in the Medicare levy (ie., an increase in taxes) beingthe reason the coal industry will soon die, towns will be wiped of the map, cheese will soon cost triple its current price, the cost of living will skyrocket, the debt is strangling a once great country and Australia will be bankrupted. Etc, etc.

Or it will be along the lines of a nasty, arrogant Gillard playing wedge politics and putting politics before policy. It's all political game playing by Gillard etc etc. Better care for those with disability through an insurance scheme is ignored by this kind of rhetoric.

Yet the national disability insurance scheme will both improve the lives of the people it helped and bring into the workforce Australians who were previously unemployable for life---not just the 400,000 disabled Australians, but also their carers and family members.

The Coalition is now prepared to back a modest increase in the Medicare levy to fund the NDIS. It was only yesterday morning that the Coalition was publicly opposing it. They had to shift as their position was untenable , even for them. The Coalition's position was to support the scheme but not the means to pay for it and opposing a levy while simultaneously touting a levy to pay for their paid maternity leave proposal. They blinked and now provide conditional support and so undercut their message of needing to lower the tax burden and limiting the expansion of government.

The core problem is the question of how to fund the remainder of the system. Hal Swerissen at the Conversation says:

The all up cost of the NDIS is currently about A$13.5 billion per annum. The states and the Commonwealth provide around A$6.2 billion at the moment, leaving a shortfall of around A$7 billion.The proposed increase in the Medicare levy raises about A$3.2 billion, to be quarantined in a special fund dedicated to support the NDIS. The rest will need to be found from savings and redirection within the Commonwealth budget.

The extent of this funding will determine the extent to which it operates as a fully fledged entitlement scheme which properly meets the needs of people with a serious and permanent disability, or one which is based on caps and rationing

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:13 AM | | Comments (12)


Myer CEO Bernie Brookes suggested that increasing the Medicare levy to help disabled Australians would damage his company’s profits.

"The Leader of the Opposition has changed his mind on this matter and I welcome that change of mind. On the basis of that change of mind by the Leader of the Opposition, I will bring to the Parliament the legislation to increase the Medicare levy by half a per cent."

Oh yuk. Point scoring much? Gillard just can't help herself. A pox on both their houses. It's a pathetic circus. Neither Gillard nor Abbott deserves to be our next PM....

Greedy and selfish.

He'd fit right in with the COALition pollies and the MSM.

I think it is only spending more money creating what is already there. There is a million disability help programs,training schemes,businesses and incentives to hire disabled.

I though that both Gillard and Abbott were restrained and maintained the emphasis on policy - not politics - in their comments about a scheme. Both realized that it would immeasurably improve the lives of people with disabilities and their carers.

People with disabilities and their carers want the national disability insurance scheme.

Bernie Brookes doesn't think his customer base includes people with disabilities even though people with disabilities make up 20 per cent of the population.

I recall the Business Council of Australia and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry complaining that we do not need to look after the disabled properly. "We don't necessarily need the gilt-edged scheme if we actually can't afford it" - said Peter Anderson, the chief executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Hal Swerissen at the Conversation comments:

Right now, if you have a serious disability, access to appropriate, adequate and reasonable quality services and support is something of a raffle. It depends on what kind of disability you have, how you got it, how old you are and where you live. Often parents, community and friends meet the shortfall of services at great personal cost.

He adds that the NDIS is designed to provide appropriate, fair, sustainable and efficient services and support to the approximately 400,000 Australians with a permanent, serious disability.

If you wish to spend your money teaching people with no lips to whistle thats fine. There are plenty of places where you can donate. I dont want to.

Cross fingers that you don't become disabled from a car crash, accident, or disease Les.

It's hard to believe the government could become less popular, so I don't think they're running much risk. On the other hand if they concentrate on getting some decent legislation through parliament that's consistent with progressive principles - and manage to get people to concentrate on that instead of on Labor's internal problems - who knows what might happen to their prospects.