The budget has been handed down and the salesmen have hit the road peddling their plan. The only trouble is they don’t seem to know what they are selling.
Tony Abbott told Melbourne radio listeners an average person would only have to pay the $7 GP fee ten times and then they would be bulk billed.
In fact the government has put no limit on the number of times an ordinary worker will pay the $7 charge, however, there is a ten visit safety net just for pensioners and children.
The Australian Medical Association accused Treasurer Joe Hockey of also getting it wrong when he says the chronically ill won’t be hit by the $7 GP fee. AMA spokesman Dr Brian Morton said “He either doesn’t understand or is misusing the statistic or is lying.”
LNP backbencher Steve Ciobo also told ABC radio listeners ‘if they have a chronic disease they are exempt from making the co-payment”.
While it is true that Medicare’s chronic disease management item will be exempt from the $7 GP fee, this is only for one doctor’s visit a year where the GP plans the patient’s care for their chronic illnesses. All further visits, treatments and tests will attract the co-payment.
A spokeswoman for Mr Hockey said yesterday “his comments stand”.
When asked whether the government would be introducing new chronic disease treatment items exempt from the $7 charge she said “the legislation was still being drafted…I can’t give any detail”.
So even though the details haven’t been finalised, this woman is sure Hockey is right even though his own budget papers and the AMA say otherwise. These people don’t like criticism and truth is irrelevant. Look what happens when Andrew Robb tried to tell the truth after a previous budget reply – his staffer nearly had apoplexy trying to shut him up.
And then we have the debacle over the deregulation of uni fees.
Mr Abbott told ABC radio that only students who start studying in 2016 would face potentially higher fees when universities can charge what they like. But the budget papers clearly state that anyone who enrols after May 14 will face deregulated fees in 2016. Only those who were already studying on budget day would continue to have their fees capped – and only if they finish their studies by 2020.
Education Minister Christopher Pyne reiterated this in a separate ABC radio interview after Mr Abbott’s comments. A mother asked him whether her daughter, already at university, would have to pay more.
“If that student stays in the course that she’s doing, she’ll continue under the rules that she started. If she changes course, then quite rightly she will face the new measures.”
A spokesman for Mr Pyne said the prime minister “may not have been as clear as he could have been”.
National Union of Students president Deanna Taylor wasn’t surprised by the confusion at high levels.
“I don’t think the government really put a great deal of thought into their policy,” she told AAP, saying it appeared to be very ideologically driven. “They’re trying to make us sound like spoiled little brats who don’t know how good we’ve got it. They have a very clear agenda,” she said.
Christopher Pyne is still selling his cuts to education as an increase in funding. Alan Jones, while interviewing him on Wednesday, was astounded that despite the education minister’s “brilliant” advocacy skills the “blockheads” running state governments could not understand that the allegation of an $80bn cut was totally wrong. In fact, Jones said, “there hasn’t been a more monstrous lie perpetrated since Julia Gillard said there’d be no carbon tax”.
Pyne somehow neglected to refer Jones to page 7 of the government’s glossy budget overview which clearly states that the government is changing indexation of state grants and “removing funding guarantees for public hospitals. These measures will achieve cumulative savings of over $80bn by 20024-25.”
David Gonski made an impassioned plea last night for the government to reconsider education funding from 2017.
Even the IPA are sick of the lies saying the party which was elected promising to reduce the size of government and reduce taxes, will preside over large expenditure growth and is hiking, not axing, tax. The following is an excerpt from Chris Berg’s article about the budget.
“For all the fire and brimstone that accompanied last week’s commentary on the budget, the bottom line is simple: under the Coalition, government spending is going up, not down.
This is the long-term significance of Joe Hockey’s first budget.
A modest 1.7 per cent real reduction in expenditure next financial year will be more than offset by 0.4 per cent growth the year after, 2.1 per cent growth the year after that, and 2.6 per cent growth in the 2017-18 financial year (the end of the Treasury’s forward projections).
And tax? Well, while this year the government will collect $363 billion, by 2017-18 it plans to collect $467 billion. That’s a jump in the tax take from 23 per cent of GDP to 24.9 per cent.
The most controversial policies (like the “learn or earn” welfare changes, the increase in the pension age, and the university reforms) sound like classic austerity measures but in truth don’t alter the fiscal equation all that much. They’re social reforms being smuggled in under the cover of a budgetary crisis.
And most of the big spending cuts to health and education have been punted far into the future – beyond the next election, and many out past the Treasury’s forward estimates.
The budget is also full of policies that superficially look like aggressive cost reductions but are in fact new spending.
For instance, the $7 GP co-payment is, astonishingly, being poured into a huge new medical research fund. It will apparently be the biggest in the world.
This is a bizarre decision. The policy case for a co-payment is that introducing price signals will give patients a financial stake in their healthcare choices. But using that money to fund an entirely new government program makes the $7 charge look less like a co-payment and more like a research tax.
Likewise, the reindexation of the fuel excise isn’t to fix the budget emergency, but for new road projects. This is so Tony Abbott can live up to his self-applied “infrastructure prime minister” nickname.
Abbott said in August, 2013 that “the only party which is going to increase taxes after the election is the Labor Party”. It’s worrying the Coalition now pretends no such commitment was made.
In opposition Coalition spruikers said Abbott offered two things: the integrity Julia Gillard lacked, and the fiscal discipline Kevin Rudd lacked. After this budget, what’s left?
Abbott is no Gough Whitlam-of-the-right. He has no plan to redefine the relationship between state and citizen, despite his stirring oratory from opposition.
Nor, contrary to Joe Hockey’s assertions, has the age of entitlement come to an end. The paid parental leave scheme puts a lie to that little fantasy.
Governments think election to election. But Australia’s fiscal problem is measured in decades, not electoral cycles.”
It is hard to know whether the government just didn’t read their own document or whether they are deliberately trying to mislead us. A quick look at the Prime Minister’s page suggests the latter.
“Over six years, Labor ran up a $667 billion debt on the nation’s credit card. Every single month this debt is costing us a billion dollars just to cover the interest bill.”
His own budget papers show this to be a lie.
Total CGS on issue as at May 8 2014 $319 billion.
Net debt in 2014‑15 is estimated to be $226.4 billion.
Net interest expense in 2013-14 $10.952 billion
As an employer, I expect my staff to know what they are talking about and they are required to undergo ongoing education to keep up with current developments. If they tried to sell products they knew nothing about, or lied to customers to make a sale, they would be receiving their notice.
Tony, I am hereby providing you with notice. Should you choose to leave before your period of notice expires, the nation will be eternally grateful.