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.
Like what we do at The AIMN?
You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.
Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!