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Claiming credit when it’s not due

When Scottyfrommarketing launched his campaign for the 2019 election, he focused on the economy.

“Our Government has restored our nation’s finances. We have handed down – well done Josh and the entire ERC team – the first Budget surplus in more than a decade, back in the black.”

As it turns out, they “handed down” a deficit of $690 million followed by increasing the debt and deficit to record levels.

Scotty boasted that “We have kept our Triple A credit rating.”

The first time Australia achieved a Triple A credit rating from all three major ratings agencies was in November 2011 thanks to Labor’s handling of the GFC.

He talked about how our strong economy supports our health system, mentioning the PBS, Medicare, and the NDIS – all of which conservatives fought tooth and nail against.

Seventy years ago, the Curtin wartime Labor government introduced legislation for a Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). It was a response to the need to provide access to a wave of antibiotic drugs — sulfonamides, streptomycin, penicillin — to the whole population, not only to the minority able to afford them.

The scheme was immediately and successfully opposed by doctors and the conservative opposition, which saw in universal health care an underhand plan to nationalise medicine.

There were two High Court challenges, two referendums and a constitutional amendment; but it was not until 1960 that Australians had the comprehensive PBS envisaged by Curtin in 1944.

Likewise, the first iteration of Medicare, called Medibank, was introduced by the Whitlam Labor government in 1975, early in its second term.

The federal opposition under Malcolm Fraser had rejected Bills relating to its financing, which is why it took the government so long to get it established. It had only a short period of operation before the Whitlam government was dismissed.

The incoming Fraser government modified Medibank, establishing a levy of 2.5% on income to fund it (but providing the option to take out private health insurance instead). Interestingly, the levy was higher than that proposed by the Whitlam government and which the Coalition had blocked while in opposition.

Other changes followed, such as changes to agreements with the states over how much money hospitals would receive, restrictions in benefits and bulk billing, and rebates for those with private insurance.

Most of these changes were revoked by the incoming Hawke Labor government in 1984.

The NDIS is thanks to Julia Gillard’s Labor government who introduced the bill in November 2012 and saw it passed in March 2013.

And then along came Scott Morrison.

In 2016, the government scrapped an ad campaign letting people know about the NDIS. The budget committed to reduce the number of permanent employees in the NDIA to 3,000 when the Productivity Commission had estimated 10,000 were needed.

In 2018, it was reported that the NDIA were spending about $10 million a year for legal services employed to attempt to prevent people appealing for more money under the scheme or to prevent them from accessing the scheme. They lost about 40% of their cases.

The Morrison Government set up a Drought Future Fund for farmers using $3.9 billion “repurposed” from the NDIS.

Josh Frydenberg’s not-quite-a-surplus in 2019 was built on a $4.6 billion underspend on the NDIS because of ‘delays getting people into the program’.

The Future Fund’s September 2020 Portfolio update showed they have $16.1 billion sitting in the DisabilityCare Australia Fund invested in long-term deposits and cash delivering a 1.1% return over the previous 12 months. Imagine how much greater a return it could bring if it was actually invested in supporting the disabled and their carers to lead productive lives.

It gets particularly galling when Morrison, in his speech, claims credit for female participation in the workforce – “as in particular, the seven women in my Cabinet know, female participation is at record highs under a Liberal and National Government.”

Absolutely no concept of the fight women still have with his party to have control over their own reproductive health, allowing them to plan and choose. No understanding of how Whitlam changed so many lives by offering free tertiary education. No recognition of how Labor’s paid parental leave and subsidised childcare are the contributing factors which allow women to return to work. And how Labor’s compulsory superannuation guarantee is an incentive towards giving women some independence in their retirement.

A lot can be explained about conservatives’ view by Scotty’s belief that “the economy is what people live in. It’s real.”

Actually, we live in a society.

Rather than Morrison’s view that “it all begins with keeping our economy strong”, it begins with supporting our people to be strong – facilitating them to be their best. Economic and social benefits flow from this rather than the other way around.

Coalition governments measure their success by corporate profits and private wealth. Labor governments invest in the people.

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  1. pierre wilkinson

    Hear Hear
    up to your usual high standard Kaye Lee

  2. wam

    OH KAYE YOU ARE ON FIRE!!! This is worth breaking up into sections and displayed on the windows of every labor office state and federal and next to the lnp offices, as the text of the week, maybe in cartoon form. Plus as paid displays in taxis???
    From now till the election expose the bastards. Come on labor get moving NOW,

  3. Phil Pryor

    I hate the daily pictures of that fantasising fraud, frankfurt frisking fake, our P M, a Painful Misfit, a Piltdown Man, a Premature Misfire, a Poxed Mentality, a Political Merdivore, a poopfilled monument to political mendacity…And, a consistently crapulous LIAR. To have this turd in charge is world humiliation. You could stitch up a better man from a Tel Aviv surgeon’s bucket of cast off foreskins. He has been a liar and lazy failure over years of hopelessness, but has backstabbed his way up in liberal party inner doghouses of infamy and plotting, shit pretending to be silk. Outrageous.

  4. Andrew J. Smith

    Surprised Labor don’t make more hay out of the LNP’s policies but more so their (non grounded) ideology; the supposed ‘Mediscare’ campaign of Shorten’s two elections ago apparently had impact.

    Although Labor were criticised strongly for a scare campaign i.e. not grounded in reality or policy, the ideology that the LNP promotes would inevitably lead to nobbling of Medicare, super etc., but constrained by the LNP’s dependence upon above median age voters i.e. retirees.

    However, the IPA clearly has many forms of social security in its sights (except pensions… pensioners are needed to vote the right way) via the ‘wish list’ of 75 ideas of imported US libertarian policy points, that are the antithesis of Australian culture or needs.

    Further, the attempts at rentier type gouging of BigTech under the guise of supporting quality journalism reeks of catering to the top end of town and a media oligopoly, but ignores the business and digital interests of sole traders, small biz and SMEs…….

  5. Matters Not

    At a higher level of generality, it’s always interesting when political parties which advocate non-intervention in the market place as the supreme principle then claim that economic success (if it occurs) is the result of their good management. A case of – Heads I win. Tails you lose.

    As for whether one lives in an economy or a society? Surely the answer is (or at least could be) – Both – plus a whole host of further possibilities. Try – family, community, workplace, neighborhood, marriage, even hell, etc (the list is almost endless – depending on imagination.) But perhaps it’s up to the descriptor one (or the other) chooses?

    Had a Doctor refer to me as a ‘customer’ once. (But only once. No second chance there.) When seeking medical advice I want to be conceptualized as a ‘patient’. Not a ‘customer’ nor a ‘client’. ‘Client’ being an apt descriptor to be used by lawyers and prostitutes or so I’m told.

    Better leave it there.

  6. Michael Taylor

    MN, in my latter years as a public servant I often heard my Centrelink counterparts refer to pensioners and income support recipients as customers or clients (I can’t remember which one). Either one, I found it inappropriate. It made it sound as though those poor buggers were dealing with Centrelink by choice.

  7. Henry Rodrigues

    Can we please not have a picture of that smirking bastard at the start of the articles ? Its enough having to read the idictment of his lies, crookedness arrogance and then to have his mug imprinted on the memory, even for the time it takes to read the article ? The LNP is full of these shitheads, starting with Howard, Abbott, Cash, Bridgett Mckensie, Dutton, Hockey, the Ghunt, who seemingly roll off the conservatives assembly lines, at regular and annoying intervals.

    Labor has enough ammunition to blow these creeps out of the treasury benches, all they need is the killer instinct, and the stamina and resilience to counter the media’s disingenuous partiality.

  8. wam

    Matters Not were you or the government paying??
    Beauty henry, I have long been writing here and to labor pollies that the advertising media will pursue controversy as seen by ‘debt and juliar’ which day after day the rabbott reinforced with bullshit. Labor has real stuff but is soft or silently on the abc avoiding attacking their colleagues for which the lnp are truly grateful (anyone else??) instead they access the ZBC and get grilled the LNP just announce and go no grilling required

  9. Gangey1959

    I work in a warehouse for the company that runs priceline pharmacies and whatever else. That’s where I drive my forklift 2-3 days a week, depending on the workload etc etc. There is a sign on the wall, a big on, that is the same as what is printed on the full-timers shirts. “XXX…A SAFER Place To Work. Every Day”

    It’s a good place for me, cos I don’t have to care, as long as I don’t run over any one. Most of the full timers are “grumpy”. Their suggestions for improvement fall on deaf ears. The racking is all broken. The kpi’s ar out of control and unattainable so no-one tries. But it is (mostly) a safe place to work. Except when new casual order pickers are not trained properly, or when someone with a bright shiny LF ticket starts, with no real experience.

    I bought a mirror for my forklift off ebay, because I cant see backwards. We sit sideways, and seeing behind us coming out of the racking is impossible, so I thought a little mirror fitted to the accessory bar would fix things. It does. Brilliantly. The OHS blokes both said it was a great idea, and where did I get it, and were happy with my fitment. I can’t use it. because getting it cerified will cost too much, and if I injure myself or anyone else while it is fitted I am in trouble.
    We all have a piece of pipe bolted to our macines to hold our rolls of pallet wrap. Because that was neccesary to save time.
    “XXX” must be part owned by the moronscum corporation, because EVERYTHING that management do is in the search for higher profit margins.

    @HR “Labor has enough ammunition to blow these creeps out of the treasury benches, all they need is the killer instinct”
    The current labor members seem to have no courage for the fight. It’s as if they expect to be able to get away with taking queensberry rulls into a huge, one sided, street brawl. They need to get down in the dirt and scrap like the dogs the are fighting with, using every bit of ammunition that they have, all the time. There is no space for playing nice.

  10. Harry Lime

    Michael,was the quisling Hank Jongens there at the time? ..You’d have to be supremely elastic to stay in his job through numerous changes of government.

  11. Henry Rodrigues

    Thanks WAM and Gangey for the backup. I’ve been expressing the same message for sometime now. If Labor tries to be the Nice Guys, they haven’t got a chance,. Not with the crinkled old bastard, and Stokes and Costello rooting for Scummo. Labor has to utiliize whatever means and methods to grab the attention of those gullible voters who still cling to the fantasy that the coalition are “Better Economic Managers”, even as they’re being screwed and left to dry outside, and Medicare and public schools get shafted slowly but surely. And all the while the rorts go on. Labor should keep talking about the rorts, the backhanders, the scandals, any and everything that keeps the spotlight on the bastards.

  12. Jane

    Wasn’t there a Labor/Greens coalition at one point that was easily one of our best governments? Your final statement is VERY Labor-centric and somewhat misleading.
    Coalition governments aren’t the problem, right-wing governments are.

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