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28 November 2014

Sick To Death – Is this really the end of the $7 Sick Tax?

I won’t go so far as to say common sense has prevailed, however the new sick tax looks to have been taken off the table for the moment at least.
Common sense and the $7 GP co-payment never really went together at any rate.

We were told that the budget was at a crisis point, something that may actually be true given the country’s deficit has doubled since Abbott and Hockey took the wheel, and this sick tax was all part of the heavy lifting that needed to be done.

However we were also told that the revenue raised was to be put into a medical Research Super Fund which meant it was going to have absolutely no impact on the budget at all.

So if it were not going to raise a cent in revenue why would a government impose a sick tax on the public at the same time as all the other harsh measures in the budget like the petrol tax increase, cutting people off from welfare, the cuts to pensions, and all of the jobs being lost in the public service and of course the ABC?

Was it just designed to rub salt in the wound? We all love being kicked when we’re down don’t we?

The co-payment was designed to create the super medical research fund. A noble cause indeed after Abbott and Hockey slashed so much funding for the CSIRO that went into research.

Joe Hockey told us in 20 years this superfund would be the biggest medical research fund in the world. That is actually true if you base it on today’s funds and don’t allow for other research funds to increase in the next 20 years. I guess Joe is expecting that pharmaceutical giants like Roche, Bayer and Pfizer will be happy to just stagnate rather than continue to invest money in their corporation’s future. Delusional logic at best, blatant lying and treating the public as fools at worst.

Joe Hockey’s calculations also neglected to take into account administration fees for the fund. I would be extremely interested in knowing whom the Coalition had in mind for that particular role. A role that would no doubt be well paid and leave someone in charge of Billions and Billions of dollars literally raised on the illness and bad health of Australian citizens.

When the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) is released in December and the worsening state of our economy is exposed for all to see I expect one of the excuses we will hear as Joe Hockey desperately grabs for anything that may help keep something that resembles his past credibility afloat is the excuse that the sick tax was rejected by the senate and the public.

If this is brought up as an excuse for Abbott and Hockey’s failure we will know that Abbott’s lies about no cuts to ABC and SBS or changes to pensions and health were just the start.

The only way this sick tax would have a positive effect on the budget deficit is if it were tinkered with after it passed through the Senate which begs the question “What did the Coalition have in store for us that they haven’t told us about?”

However the sick tax has already had an impact on the budget, and it’s been a negative one. Our government has wasted an untold amount of time putting this failed excuse for plan together and that is all at the taxpayers’ expense. Joe Hockey’s budget crisis worsens a little bit more every time he marches down the corridors with Peter Dutton nipping at his heels to try to convince the Senators that tampering with Medicare is a great idea and they should not only pass it but hi-five each other as another great reform is dismantled to prop up a dysfunctional and failing government. He may as well be trying to convince them the earth is flat or that climate change doesn’t exist.

Slow down Joe, I can't keep up...

If Abbott comes out attempting to persuade the country he has listened to the citizens and heeded their calls I hope he will excuse members of the public if they start dry retching where they stand. Threatening to cripple someone and then not following through with the threat does not suddenly make you citizen of the year.

With this government we have come to realise can expect the unexpected (another broken election promise of “no surprises”). For that reason the surprise sick tax that was not mandated and the surprise backdown are something I would not be surprised to see re-appear via another surprise way of sneaking it through parliament and avoiding democratic process, leaving a very surprised Senate to explain how they were bypassed to a surprised public.

There is a saying “don’t count your chickens until they’re hatched”.

I’m told chickens have a similar saying that when translated says “Don’t count your Coalition backdowns until they’re dead, buried and cremated, and even then….”