Maybe you’ll be old one day too

Hockey pension_pe

“Treasurer Joe Hockey has signaled a further increase in the pension age, more welfare means testing and co-payments for medical services in a speech in Washington delivered as the budget takes shape”.

And it’s not if we didn’t see that one coming.  For quite a while now Hockey has been “priming his audience” with stern lessons about how we must “end the Age of Entitlement”.  Hopefully it’s not just those least able to defend themselves who will be at the top of the Liberal government’s agenda.  To date the cuts already announced, and often surreptitiously, do not instill me with a great deal of confidence; cuts to welfare groups including the PCYC, cuts to legal aid for Aboriginal people and has begun dismantling the GP super clinics, to name but a few.

But surely when Hockey spoke about the ‘Age of Entitlement’ he was referring to the upper income brackets, those with plenty of cash to splash on luxuries such as multiple investment properties and private this and that. . . but perhaps not.

But let’s admit it, we have been forewarned. . .

From April 2012,

Despite an aging population and a higher standard of living than that enjoyed by our children, western democracies in particular have been reluctant to wind back universal access to payments and entitlements from the state.

Quite right and bravo, Joe!  Obviously Hockey was on the cusp of announcing that he didn’t support his boss Credlin, Abbott’s fervent desire to pay ‘women of calibre’ $75,000 for bonding time with bubs.  Or perhaps he was referring to the cancellation of all upper class welfare and other lurks and perks.

But of course not.  These are the same people who add, and substantially to Liberal Party coffers. . . they are therefore a no-go zone.

The Daily Telegraph was clearly stunned to learn:

Senior government sources have confirmed that Australians over the age of 70 are also almost universally securing free or discount medicine ­because they qualify for ­taxpayer-funded concession card schemes.

A stunning 94 per cent of Australians over 70 qualify for either a pensioner concession card or a seniors health care card for self-funded retirees.

The growing number of older Australians claiming discount medicine under the PBS is a challenge for the government because 78 per cent of the cost of scripts claimed at chemists under the PBS is going to concession cardholders.

Hell, we can’t have that!  The luxury, the profligacy – *gasp* discount medicine!  Perhaps we should go back to “the good old days” and have pensioners cut their heart tablets in half to make their prescriptions last that little bit longer.  Pensioners also receive free hearing aids, plus “low cost” batteries, discounts on public transport, plus on electricity.  OMG the world’s gone mad!  It’s all the pensioners’ fault.  We have to stop it now – we simply cannot afford these oldies and their draining the dollars from “hard working Australians”.  How much was that again that Brandis was going to cost us for his new library?  How much was that again that Abbott cost the taxpayer because he didn’t fancy staying the $3,000pw temporary Canberra residence, the house that he had originally chosen?

However, and in the real world, it is important that politicians at least make a semblance of keeping their promises, and it is understandable that at times some do get broken or bent in the process of having to re-jig a government in that particular political party’s own image.  Gillard certainly paid the price for her poorly explained price on carbon, the JuLiar tag being the result.  So I wonder what the public will make of this plethora of broken promises coming from the Liberals?

In a pledge, an absolute guarantee Tony Abbott said on the night before the 2013 election:

“No cuts to education, no cuts to health, no change to pensions, no change to the GST and no cuts to the ABC or SBS.”

And election eve pledges are certainly ones which need to be believed as these are the promises on which many people base their voting decision.  To sneak into victory based on a series of known falsehoods is deception at it’s worst.

Health and education, when less is more

Photo:  The Daily Telegraph

Photo: The Daily Telegraph

The prime minister said,  “. . . the rate of spending growth in the longer term had to be reduced if good schools and hospitals were to be sustainable“.

What is it that Tony Abbott attempting to state?  An interpretation might be that in order for the quality of schools and hospitals to be maintained, that they need less money spent and that this in turn will enable schools and hospitals to become “sustainable”.  Hell!  It must be time to cut funding to the wealthiest of the private schools; consider the *outstanding* education that they will be able to provide once they’re given less money.

From one blogger over on the ABC:


2:04 PM on 25/02/2014

There appears to be huge gap between the government’s understanding of the health and education experiences of ordinary people and what the government thinks is happening.

“There is too much education spending”. Real experience: my granddaughter’s teacher brings his coffee machine to school and sells coffee to the other teachers to raise money for equipment for his special needs classroom.

“There is too much health spending”. Real experience; there is a two YEAR wait to see a back specialist in the public health system, there is a $25 gap to see a GP, there is a $200 gap to get a simple knee scan at the local, privately owned medical imaging place because the government has privatised the rural medical imaging in South Australia. It costs $900 to get a child diagnosed with autism because the WCH cannot cope with the need for diagnosis in SA.

“Wages are too costly” Real experience; there are thousands of people who are not getting fair wages, let alone raises, there are thousands who are not getting holiday, sick pay or getting their superannuation paid on time.There are thousands of young people doing unpaid internships that last months and months without any wages at all.

“People need to work longer” Real experience: we want to work longer, we are fit as fiddles at 70 but NOBODY wants to employ us. Are you listening Mr Abbott?

ABC’s Insiders program: ”I want to give people this absolute assurance: no cuts to education, no cuts to health, no changes to pensions and no changes to the GST.”, so said Tony Abbott on the 1st September, 2013.

Naturally the Liberals will deny that there is no lie at all as they are not actually going cut funding to health and education, just reduce it.  Weasel words.

On hospitals, and the report below is dated 14th February this year:

  • A NEW report card on public hospitals shows just 68 per cent of urgent, emergency department patients are being seen within the recommended 30 minutes.
  • It also shows the average wait time for elective surgery has not improved since 2010/11, and still sits at about 36 days.
  • The report was released by the The Australian Medical Association, which says more money must be pumped into public hospitals failing to meet key targets on patient care.
  • The report reflects data gathered in the 2012/13 financial year.
  • AMA president Dr Steve Hambleton says the true picture on elective surgery could be far worse, because the official data only captures those who are on waiting lists.
  • Many others were still waiting to see specialists and they weren’t reflected in the figures.
  • The report card also showed there are just 2.6 public hospital beds for every 1000 people — a 43 per cent drop in 10 years.
  • Dr Hambleton said the report showed how vital it was for the federal government to boost hospital funding and abandon $400 million in cuts planned over the next three years.

It’s very disturbing that we’ve got these figures showing our hospitals are under pressure and yet the funding may not be there,’’ Dr Hambleton said.

This is not the time to cut funding.’’

Unlike former prime minister Kevin Rudd, he (Tony Abbott) wouldn’t say the buck stopped with him when it came to making sure health infrastructure was properly funded.

It depends on the particular issue where the particular buck stops,’’ Mr Abbott said.

Did I mention the phrase weasel words?

You won’t recognise the place

Lawrencewinder commented on a post at the Café that after his election win Tony Abbott said we wouldn’t recognise the place after three years.

I don’t know about you, but after only three months I don’t recognise the place. That place, sadly, is Australia. Our country.

I thought I’d throw this question up as a sort of an open forum: What changes have you seen after only three months? Was Tony Abbott right, that we won’t recognise the place?

Over to you.

Good luck

Good luck to whoever wins the election.

Most people know I support Labor but if Tony Abbott wins, as he has been tipped to do, then I wish him all the best. Whilst I can’t imagine how horrible this country might become under his leadership I hope, sincerely, that he serves us well.

All he needs to do to become a good Prime Minister is to finish the great work Labor has done for six years. In Government he does not need to be a wrecker. He won’t need to say “No” to everything, good or bad.

He won’t lose any friends if he keeps the NBN. Most voters want it even though they’ll most likely vote for the man who threatens to demolish it.

He won’t lose any friends either if he changes his antiquated views on same-sex marriage. Again, most voters approve of same-sex marriage even though they’ll most likely vote for the man who wants to close the door on it.

Neither will he lose any friends if he continues with the Gonski reforms. Again, funnily, most people want a good education for their children yet they’ll most likely vote for the man who will ignore their wants.

I doubt he’ll lose any friends if he doesn’t stop the boats, though he will definitely lose credibility because of it. Many people in this country don’t mind the boats coming. They’d rather see them drift safely to our shores than be turned around at sea.

He definitely won’t lose any friends if he keeps to his word and not reintroduce WorkChoices. Dare I say it again, but funnily enough the strugglers who will suffer most under WorkChoices will most likely vote for the man who probably can’t wait to rob them of their rights at work.

I could go on and on, but my main point is that if Mr Abbott wins then I wish him well. And he would be wise to remember what John Howard said in 1996 that he inherited a good economy from Paul Keating. Tony Abbott will be doing the same: inheriting a good economy. No, a great economy.

He would be wise not to stuff it up.

We’ll be watching him. Closely. We’d be happy to turn him into target practice if he ruins this great country.

If Kevin Rudd defies the odds and pulls off a surprise win then good luck to him too. His predecessor has left him some of the greatest reforms of the last decades to build upon. He has been part of a team that has seen Australia leap to the top as one of the most economically sound countries in the world.

I hope he is rewarded with another term. This photo (origin unknown) succinctly sums up why I want his team rewarded.

I'm voting for

The question no-one can answer

Will Tony Abbott be a good Prime Minister?

I’m yet to find anyone who can answer that in the affirmative. No-one from the ‘right’ side of politics has been able to come up with a simple ‘yes’ let alone anything of substance to back up the claim. Instead, we hear how bad the recent Labor prime ministers have been.

Why can’t they answer it? Do they have no confidence in him themselves? Do they think he’s a dud, but acceptable purely because at this stage he is the alternate Prime Minister?

Are they satisfied with a politician who keeps raising the bar of stupidity?

The election is around the corner and I’d like to hear from those people who think he will be a good prime minister and of course, from those who think he will not. But there is one simple rule: Tell us why.

In November last year I gave the right-wing loyalists the opportunity to be heard, commenting that:

No doubt inspired by their hero Abbott’s performances (which can be likened to a mad banshee), right-wing bloggers come here imitating his behaviour from the sidelines with the most outrageous comments about how evil and incompetent the Gillard Government is whilst at the same time hoisting Abbott as the new Messiah.

They fail miserably on both counts. All bluster with no evidence.

I’m giving them the opportunity to redeem themselves. I devote this thread to them where they can add some substance to their claims that Gillard is evil, the Government is toxic or why Abbott would make a better Prime Minister.

They failed miserably again:

The post received over 620 comments and the ‘right’ were out in force, however, their responses were merely parrot-fashion repeats of what we hear from the opposition and the media.

But now it’s a different playing field: We are nearing the election, Abbott has the chance to replace Rudd instead of Gillard, and we have a wider variety of contributors to the site now compared to last November.

It would be refreshing if those who think Abbott would be a good PM could attempt – as hard as it might be – to rise above the level of idiocy so evident in the right-wing newspapers and right-wing social media forums that tell us that Rudd eats babies, kills kittens, talks to trees or costs the tax-payer money to simply do his job. If I wanted to hear that you only like Abbott because Rudd can’t comb his hair properly (yes, the media do talk about that) then I might as well just head straight to the Murdoch media and read what people have to say there.

I imagine, going by the history of what the right-wing commenters have been saying on this site, that they might be intellectually challenged to come up with something original and meaningful. Here’s the chance to prove to us you are an intelligent voter or conversely, provide us with further evidence that you simply aren’t.

Another reason I’ve re-visited the opportunity to ask people why Abbott might be a good PM is because he has done nothing to convince me he could be, and because the anti-Rudd brigade has been rather feral in both the mainstream and social media forums. There must be at least one voter out there who can tell us why Abbott would be a good PM. I’m yet to meet him or her. Come on, show us your face.

BTW, I’ve heard some very good reasons as to why Abbott won’t make a good PM and they all have merit. A recap can be found here.

Election 2013

The election date

Whilst the election date of September 14 has been known for some time, since Kevin Rudd’s elevation to PM there has been enough media speculation to suggest that this date is no longer set in stone. Tony Abbott certainly doesn’t think it is, given his daily calls for the ‘new’ election date to be called, and preferably earlier.

Of course he would. Up until the last week he has held a commanding lead in the opinion polls. He would have been PM by now if only an election were held when he wanted it.

I’ve been of the opinion that Rudd would defer the election for a couple of weeks, giving him that bit of extra time to unhinge Abbott. It is without doubt that the unhinging has started, as the events of the past few days have shown.

Many of us old die hards have considered that an unhinged Abbott could turn out to be Labor’s best political weapon during an election campaign but subsequently harboured some concerns that if Abbott were to be replaced by Turnball, then it could work against Labor. Cook Abbott too quickly and see him fall on his sword too far out from the election may not be to Labor’s advantage.

So here’s a thought.

If the polls continue to maintain a swing in favour of Labor and Abbott’s credibility continues to deteriorate under the recent public scrutiny, could Rudd seize this as an opportunity to ‘lock’ Abbott in as leader of the Opposition by calling an early election?

What do you think?

Now who is the heat on?

Opinion Poll

OK, I’ll admit it. There’s nothing I’d rather see than Tony Abbott lead the Coalition to an election defeat in September. I want to see the smirk wiped well and truly of his arrogant face. I want to witness the likes of Jones , Ackerman and Bolt unhinging, even more than they are currently unhinged. I want to lap up the greatest dummy spit ever thrust upon us by both the Coalition and their media lap dogs. Yes, it will be sweet.

Up until now they have had a reason to smirk and gloat. Even only a week ago the only way Abbott could lose the election was if he got run over by a bus.

Well I think that bus has come along.

I had giving this post much thought but over at The Political Sword Ad astra summed it up for me and thankfully, robbed me of much more thinking:

We might see parliament recalled to debate legislation to bring forward the date of transition from a price on carbon to an ETS.  If the Greens could be persuaded to go along with this, Slogan-Abbott would lose what he regards as his most important weapon, the carbon tax, as it would already be on the way out.  There is the possibility of the election date being moved into October so as to allow Australia to have highest level representation at the upcoming G20, important because Australia hosts the one after that.

The shift in the polls, the uncertainty about the election date, and the possibility of recalling parliament has to be a worry to Slogan-Abbott and his minders.  Kevin Rudd is already playing with his mind!

Every weapon Abbott has had at his disposal evaporated a few days ago. The man is now vulnerable, especially now that public support is diminishing at a great rate.

If the polls are correct and continue to turn against him and with Rudd the right person to screw with his head, I reckon Abbott might be gone before the election. I couldn’t see a party sticking with a leader who looks like leading that party to an election defeat. Labor made the tough call. Can the Coalition?

A short post, yes, but one where there is so much to consider. What are your thoughts?

Labor will be annihilated, but . . .

Everybody in the media is telling us that Labor will be annihilated in the September election. Over the last couple of days it has turned into a media frenzy. Everyone wants to be on the bandwagon of doom.

Whether you’re watching the ABC, SBS or one of the commercial channels, or reading a Murdoch of Fairfax rag, you would have noticed someone gleefully informing us that Labor will be annihilated.

Over the weekend I also started to hear that talk on the streets of Canberra, however, it wasn’t just a single statement. Unlike the mainstream media, they added a few ‘buts’. Here are some examples:

Labor will be annihilated, but just look at the idiots who will replace them.

Labor will be annihilated, but can you imagine that man Abbott as our Prime Minister?

Labor will be annihilated, but we have nothing positive to look forward to after the election.

Labor will be annihilated, but so will jobs after the election.

Unlike the media, sensible folk can look beyond September 14 and have a vision of what might be in store for us under a Coalition Government. Yes, there are a few ‘buts’.

Do you have any you want to add?

2013 election

Budget reply, or much ado about nothing



Much Ado About Nothing, Great Expectations or might it be Oliver with a Twist.

So far we have from ABC News,

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is expected to use tonight’s budget reply speech to explain how he would pay for tax cuts in a first-term Coalition government.

This is indeed Great Expectations given the fancy footwork employed by Abbott’s Opposition to avoid anything resembling answering that very pertinent question, how are they going to pay for anything whatsoever. So let’s hear loud huzzahs for Her Majesty’s Opposition who tonight will reveal in their entirety how they’re going to pay for tax cuts.

Oh damnation, for a moment there I got all excited because…he’s not going to do that at all. 😦

The would-be prime minister has warned he will not spell out his full list of spending and cuts, but will instead wait for the pre-election economic and fiscal outlook to be released after the start of the election campaign.

Ok, I’m warned. Tony is waiting for a report to be released before he makes a commitment to anything at all.

Greg Hunt: “We’ll have a package of tax cuts for families without a carbon tax,” he said.

Yep, ok we’ve got that. Tax cuts without a carbon tax.

This is going to be good! We’re all going to get much moolah, plus do away with the big polluters having to pay for anything much at all. Money for nothing and chicks for quote the poet, who at the time was in Dire Straits.

Wayne Swan: “He’s a man for three-word slogans, I think the three-word slogan that will lie behind Mr Abbott’s approach tonight is secret, savage, cuts.”

You would think that the reason why the Opposition are doing the fancy shoe shuffle on this question is because they don’t want to answer the question, that perhaps the Australian public will not like the answer.

But Abbott hath spake. He will reveal all tonight, about how he would pay for tax cuts.

Watch this space.