We are now well into the second week of the election campaign and it would seem the Coalition is starting to feel the heat. Their first wake-up call came last week with a distressing result from their own internal polling that revealed the seat of Eden-Monaro is looking very shaky. We don’t know the actual figures but we are told the result was a shocker.
So this week what we are witnessing is, Malcolm Turnbull sounding more and more desperate as he spruiks his utterly dishonest story on negative gearing. No Malcolm, house prices will not fall. They will not rise as savagely as they have in recent times, but surely if you care for young people trying to enter the market, you would welcome that, wouldn’t you?
It seems that, what most people thought would be a walk in the park for the government now appears to be a fight for survival. The Coalition are clearly on the defensive heading towards panic. We know because the majority of their time is being spent in marginal Liberal seats.
The desperation was evident this week with comments by “Aussie John” Symond when commenting on Labor’s negative gearing policy, “Well, what I’m concerned about is bringing out a sledgehammer and overnight hitting negative gearing on all established housing across Australia,” he said.
Not true, John.
Peter Martin’s article in The Age, takes a sledgehammer to this and other comments made by Symond and exposes them for their inadequacies. The most obvious being how he has overlooked the fact that Labor’s policy does not impact on existing established houses that are already negatively geared.
The reality is, anyone could still purchase an existing home up until July 2017 and still gain the benefits for as long as they own the house. That doesn’t sound like much of a sledgehammer to me.
Another blatant piece of mis-information centres on Malcolm Turnbull’s announcement on Sky News last Friday. Turnbull said that Health minister, Susan Ley had reached agreement with Pathology Australia that bulk billing arrangements would continue.
Not true, as it turns out. The government has agreed to delay changes to bulk-billing incentives, which were slated to save the budget $650 million over four years, until after the election. The AMA has warned the deal would still mean cuts to bulk-billing incentives for pathology services.
It seems, also, the plan does not apply to diagnostic imaging such as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs), positron emission tomography (PET) scans or mammograms, therefore patients could be left with hundreds and possibly thousands of dollars in up-front costs.
“The cuts are still there, they are still taking 650 million dollars out of health out of health over the next four years,” AMA President, Dr Owler told Sky News.
“Pathology Australia has said to me they have not guaranteed that there won’t be a change in bulk billing rates in pathologists, they don’t have the ability to make that guarantee.”
The changes to bulk-billing incentives revolve around the government introducing legislation to ensure the pathologists are charged fair rents for their collection centres. It will be up to the centres to decide if the benefits from that legislation are passed on.
Meanwhile, we can see that internally, the Coalition is in meltdown with Peta Credlin referring to Malcolm Turnbull as “Mister Harbour-side Mansion” and Sophie Mirabella, who may have self-destructed over a $10 million commitment that might or might not have existed, claiming her own party is leaking damaging information about her.
This week also, Malcolm Turnbull went to Darwin and tried to paint Labor as being soft on border protection. It didn’t work, but it tells us that if they have nothing more to contribute than tired old Abbottisms, their so-called 10 year plan, which seems to be their flagship, is already flailing and they are already flapping back to their favourite sloganeering.
That is evidenced by the latest inflammatory outburst by Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, on the literacy and numeracy skills of asylum seekers.
It all adds to the developing pattern of appealing to the lowest common denominator. It is another sign of the deep concern held within the Coalition.
Meanwhile, Labor’s Bill Shorten is on the offensive, announcing responsible, costed policies, also working marginal Liberal seats and seemingly having the time of his life.
So let’s see what happens next week.