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 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”. Abbott and 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