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Joe Hockey; wealthy complacency

If there was any stand-out from Joe Hockey’s performance on Q&A it would have been his ability to permeate the studio with an overwhelming odor of wealthy complacency, with weasel words thrown in for good measure.

It was with considerable smugness that Joe Hockey admitted that the GP co-payment, “. . .is a new tax – or a rabbit.”

We didn’t say we wouldn’t raise any taxes. That’s absurd because we went to the last election promising to introduce a levy for the paid parental leave scheme“, Mr Hockey said.

Tony Abbott’s original argument was that this addition to upper class welfare, and ‘signature policy’, was the insistence that the PPL was not a tax; it was a levy. However, and currently in vogue and up until Hockey’s appearance on Q&A, all was but a mere levy and not a tax. The consequences of Hockey’s statement, is that according to himself, both he and Prime Minister Abbott made deliberately misleading statements, and on numerous occasions.

That is, “We did say we wouldn’t raise any taxes…”, (because) the PPL levy is in fact a tax.

It seems that the words ‘tax’ and ‘levy’ are bandied about by the Liberal Party, changed at whim and to which ever circumstances suit. Those who voted Liberal on the premise that Abbott would get rid of Labor’s “great big new tax” must be bitterly disappointed as we now have an even bigger, great big new tax … or series of them.

However, should we care to address the practicalities of this issue, there is a world of difference between a PPL with a proposal that this be paid by “a 1.5% levy on the biggest companies” and a $7 GP co-payment taxed on GP visits, pathology and X-rays, and which would further distort access to medical treatment for those on the lowest incomes. This is akin to stating that the economic impact of the cost of two beers to an old age pensioner has an equivalent impact as on a business entity, and an extraordinarily wealthy one at that. Abbott and Hockey’s insistence that they be ‘right’ – and all of the time, often leaves logic in its wake.

In Abbott and Hockey-world, business being business and poor people being poor people, it will of course be business who will be compensated for the PPL tax/levy by receiving an equivalent tax cut of 1.5%. Might there be any equivalent breaks for those having to fork out for Hockey’s other tax – the GP co-payment? No of course not. Hockey’s proposition that the PPL tax/levy is therefore equivalent to the GP co-payment therefore falls so flat as to not only be just an illusion, but could be counted as a blatant attempt at deception.

On the debt levy, will the the richest 3%’s contribution/levy likewise put unreasonable pressure on anyone’s ability to feed, clothe and house themselves? Doubtful, unto too ridiculous to contemplate. The Liberals have gone to great lengths to ensure the wealthiest that this is a very temporary tax hike. And what would it matter anyway? . . . this cigar and Moët et Chandon tax will be easily be absorbed through multifarious untaxed lurks – “superannuation concessions, dividend imputation, negative gearing and family trusts.” Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey have now successfully reinforced the image that to themselves and most of the front bench, that the obscenely wealthy remain as they always have been, The Untouchables.

You can be assured that these changes (with the exception of the debt tax) are not just for a couple of years, but forever. Along with this decimation lurks in the background cuts to science, Aboriginal health and education, with extreme pressure on the states to privatise almost everything. And all the while the reaction from both Abbott and Hockey is smirking disregard. Abbott “Dismisses concerns”, the headlines read and this is apart from the lewd wink aimed at a pensioner forced into working on a sex-line as the only thing available to her. Any empathy? Any sympathy?

However, most perplexing was the ‘carrot’ offered by Hockey in the form of medical research. That is, suffer now and one day if we splash enough cash at the problem so that ‘we’, and where all other countries have failed, will by some act of divine providence cure the world of all of it’s ailments.

Today (17th December, 2013), Treasurer Joe Hockey cut:

• $100 million in funding for Westmead Hospital
• $10 million from the Children’s Medical Research Institute and $12 million from the Millennium Institute – one of the largest medical research institutes in Australia working on cancer and leukaemia research, heart disease, eye and brain disease and heart and respiratory disorders.
• $15.1 million from the life-saving Cancer Care Coordinators program. Despite knowing that Australians in regional areas have a lower life expectancy and find it more difficult to access life-saving treatment the Government has decided to cut this funding.
• $6 million for Medical Resonance Imaging service at Mt Druitt, the cutting of the $10 million life-saving Queensland Cancer Package, $15 million from the Flinders Neo-Natal Unit, the $10 million Western Australia cancer team, and the $50 million stroke package.
• $3.5 million from the Biala Health Service, the only free sexual-health clinic in Brisbane.
• The Coalition will scrap the $100 million committed for the redevelopment of the Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital.

It seems that the Abbott Government taketh with one hand to return ‘who knows what’ at some unspecified time in the future. Why would anyone cut funding from medical research into things such as cancer and childhood leukaemia, only to siphon it off to be paid to ‘who knows who’ at some non-specific time in the future? The cynic in me asks the question, who is set to gain from this? Which multi-national benefactor might it be? I believe that there are certain hints and clues provided by certain photos of Tony Abbott and his ‘sponsor’.

The Liberal Party’s own website provides that the projected $20 billion will not be achieved until around 2024-2025. “To establish the Fund, approximately $1 billion in uncommitted funds from the existing Health and Hospitals Fund will be transferred into the Fund at its inception”, which is supposed to be 2015-2016. But wait a moment; hasn’t the Abbott Government already cut an (estimated) half billion dollars from existing medical research and services? Hockey’s gushing at the government’s beneficence and commitment to human-kind suddenly loses it’s rosy bloom.

But don’t worry, there is some good news contained in Joe Hockey’s attempt at a budget: there will be more roads – well, in the cities at least.

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  1. dafid1

    Yes there will be new roads. All but two of them Labor initiated projects, money already set aside under Albo’s stewardship

  2. M-R

    Never in all my years have I experienced the volume and level of lies that are emanating from this guvmint.
    As for the roads – wonderful ! Exactly what we need, more roads .. to make the extant level of total chaos about 50 times worse.

  3. KA

    With the way this government has been systematically removing our voice from any number of areas, I wouldn’t be surprised it this ‘research’ they have in mind for funding is special lobotomies for left wing voters

  4. john921fraser

    “weasel words” ….. …… weasel bloody words !

    “Those familiar with Margie Abbott know her quiet and understated approach is part of her genuine desire to draw attention to the charities and organisations she is involved with rather than herself,”

    I’m not bloody “familiar” with Margie Abbott !

    Show me her bloody diary !

  5. Carol Taylor

    John921, so understated as to be nigh-on invisible…

  6. dafid1

    @John921 John re marg and her charity work..if she is so proud of this ‘huge’ contribution she is making to the underprivileged of the nation, the numbers of whom will multiply under the evil kick em while they are down Govt, if she is so proud of her work why didn’t she have the gumption to say so herself, rather than hide behind some unknown spokesperson, who for all we know is reading from lines prepared by the Pm’s office.
    I notice many in the list consist merely of going to a dinner or attending functions as the PMs wife. Big bloody deal. That’s ongoing dedication, well at least to her stomach

  7. Terry Goulden

    You ask why they are cutting money from health related research? I thought everyone knows that research into faith healing requires a large amount of government grants and to Abbott and his ilk is more cost effective in the end run as those without faith are left to die off.

  8. Carol Taylor

    Terry, I was wondering why Hockey kept specifically mentioning Alzheimer’s. Perhaps he thinks that it’s value for money given that anyone now aged under 50yrs going to have to work until they’re 70.

  9. vivienne29

    I mentioned this elsewhere here, but there is $10 BILLION of cuts to health programs – 23 different areas – which have all been transferred to the Medical Research Future Fund. Together with the $1B transferred from Labor’s Health and Hospital FF, there will be at least $11 BILLION in the MRFF for dementia research apparently and it will be there at the end of four years. All this horrid pain and misery is inflicted for a previously never announced intention to establish the MRFF for stuff we never prioritised and which most believe will be for grants to Big Pharma.

  10. Carol Taylor

    Vivienne, thank you for that. I guessed that the modest amount of information available that this was just the tip of the iceberg. All that this Future Fund really means is taking away with one hand and then major grandstanding about what ‘we have given you’ when we have been given nothing at all.

  11. DanDark

    I give up AIMN, nothing we say or do will change
    These demented, sick, sociopathic group of extreme
    Killing machine men running our once great country
    They are the experts, and we will die, we know this
    They have the power and they will use it to crush us
    And the country, I am going to put my energy into getting my family
    Out of this country now, like a lot of other people have since Hitler got in
    Good luck everyone, but it’s time for self protection, or suffer and die
    Gloria from Warnambool is right, they want us all to go away and die

  12. mars08


    weasel words” ….. …… weasel bloody words

    And yet the bastards keep getting away with it!

    How’s this from phony tony:

    “The whole point of getting the budget under control is so we can give tax cuts in the not too distant future… I would like to be in a position to offer tax cuts in our next term.”

    Notice there’s no mention of who would be getting the tax cuts (if they really happened).

  13. Carol Taylor

    Mars, and yet I wonder if they are actually getting away with it this time around. One of the hopeful signs is that the msm are now quoting and referencing people such as Richard Denniss, something almost unheard of prior to this budget.

    No one except the OO and the DT are even attempting to justify this budget’s attack on a good portion of the population. And especially as regards the DT, in labeling *Howard’s battlers* as indolent rorters…that is, they are attacking a good portion of their own readership.

  14. Stephen Tardrew

    Great article Carol.

    Makes me want to tear out what is left of my hair but I think that is what the Rabbit wants.

    A lesson in double; triple; upside down; back to front; triple inverted; turned inside out conniving crap.

    And they are the good points.

    Hockey is a great quadrealteral thinker.

    Edward de Bono can now add the hysterical quaderalateral Hockey-ism to his CV.

    Goes round in circles and up his vestigial tail to lob in his bowels.

  15. john921fraser


    "I've always said families should be kept out of the front line. That's the way I've always tried to run my political operation – that we play hard but fair. Families should be [left] out of it."

    The MSM reprinted this crap word for word from Abbott and no one laughed while they were doing it.

    Free press ….. once it was but now its just another lie.

  16. Kaye Lee

    Canberra will end up a ghost town. Thousands of public servants will have to leave and now the nurses and doctors will have to go as well. those of you who remain behind, I would suggest you don’t get sick – the co-payment is the least of your concerns.

    The ACT is set to lose $240 million in heath funding over four years as a result of the federal budget.

    ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher says $47 million in federal funding will be cut from the health budget from July 1.

    Ms Gallagher says that equates to staffing for 135 acute hospital beds, or employment for 390 nurses, or funding for 2,850 elective surgery operations.


  17. Möbius Ecko

    I was in Canberra for business a few days ago and the word I got was sales are down everywhere but especially in cars. Nobody is buying anything because they don’t know how by how much and who the cuts will hit.

    Of course Hockey is probably still buying expensive cigars.

  18. Stephen Tardrew

    Kaye this just makes me sick to the core.

  19. Kaye Lee

    Well I know people will judge politicians on everything they say…..

    Kevin Rudd says that a Coalition government would sack nurses and teachers even though we don’t employ any…and sell schools and hospitals…even though we don’t own any.

    So not only is Mr Rudd leading the most incompetent government in our history, he’s now running the most dishonest election campaign in our history.

  20. Anomander

    The $1 billion medical research fund is a farce and won’t actually deliver $1 billion for research, it will be invested and the returns on the investment will be used to fund selected research projects (read corporate), estimated to be around $20 million in 2015-16. That’s a far cry from $20 billion (estimated in 2023-24) the government touted in the budget.

    Research is also a long-term activity with drugs commonly taking 10-15 years to make the marketplace, so the idea the fund will actually fund research is another blatant lie.



  21. Kaye Lee

    I feel a conspiracy theory coming on….

    They rip $80 billion out of state funding for schools and hospitals.

    Funding for private schools remains unaffected.

    They then make an offer to desperate states that if you sell off assets and privatise services we will match the amount raised by 15% if you spend it on ROADS.

    States will be forced to sell hospitals to some wealthy consortium like Bupa. Any school on valuable land will be sold for either development or an exclusive private college which now will attract fee help and accreditation for its courses.

    Co-payments will just accumulate in a slush fund to make the deficit look smaller.

    When some interest is made it will be gifted to Amgen or one of Tony’s other pollie pedal sponsors.

    Tony is happy…he gets ROADS.

    Joe is happy…his deficit looks smaller thanks to the sick

    Christopher is happy….death to the pubos!

    Developers are happy with some prime real estate soon to come onto the market

    Private health is happy….more private hospitals…two tier system….more private health insurance…for which they will continue to give rebates to people who don’t need it.

    Big pharma are happy…public grants that far outweigh their small investment in charity Tony style

    What’s not to be happy about? We promised we’d fix the budget.

  22. Judith

    Business tax was cut to compensate for the ppl. So if business isn’t proving the money the payment, who is? And if the ppl scheme is terminated at any time in the future, will the business tax rate be reinstated?

  23. Anomander

    “Fixed” the budget. Hmmm…

    Their interpretation of “fixed” is different to everyone else’s. Although My interpretation of what they’ve done to the budget is a word that also starts with an ‘F’.

  24. Carol Taylor

    Stephen, thank you. 🙂

    Kaye Lee and,

    Tony is happy…he gets ROADS.

    But what about the fine print..that the states must sell their assets in order to get federal funding. Yet more far-right ideology, privatise everything and the lure/bribe/threat directed at the states to fall into line with this philosophy is: you-get-funding-only IF…

  25. Anomander

    @Judith, I think that’s part of the long-term strategy. Abbott never really intended for the PPL scheme to succeed.

    What he wanted was a reduction in the company tax rate, but taxpayers would have gone off their tits over that, so he coupled the company tax cut with the PPL levy (on the 3000 biggest businesses) to mask the impact, knowing full well the PPL would either be rejected in the senate or would prove to be too expensive for the bottom line and therefore have to be revoked at a date in the near future, leaving business with a free tax cut and the public dudded yet again.

  26. Carol Taylor

    Judith, it was with some amount of confusion that I first learned about the PPL, that according to the Libs it was not a tax only a levy. There has always been some debate about tax versus levy however the general consensus is that a tax is permanent whereas a levy is temporary. What! I thought..just a levy? Are women going to stop having babies so that this measure need be only temporary?

  27. Sam

    An empower runs an empire, a king runs a kingdom. What runs a country?

  28. diannaart

    I knew it. I knew it:

    Hockey Raises Rabbits

    I always had my suspicions.

  29. Fed up

    It is really on now in the lower house. Burke refusing orders given.

  30. Fed up

    Bishop caved in

  31. Lee K

    Worth remembering that the $20 billion Medical Research Fund will never hand out any of the $20 billion for research, just the interest accumulated on the $20bill. Which means, in my estimation, that they will never pay out a cent to the actual research.

  32. diannaart

    Indeed Lee K

    Equivalent to Hockey holding up a piece of tinsel and saying, “Look, over here, shiny thing, watch it glitter.”

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