Budget 2016/17: Medicare rebate freeze to cost patients

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The Australian Medical Association (AMA) yesterday joined forces with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) to try and push the Government to end the freeze on Medicare rebates paid to GPs, medical specialists and pathology and radiology services.

The initial freeze, which means that rebates paid to service providers do not increase with inflation, was implemented in 2014 and, in Budget 2016/17, was earmarked for extension to 2020. The RACGP was the first to react on day one of the federal election campaign by calling on its 30,000 members to display posters in practices, as well as speaking to patients about the issue.

AMA President Professor Brian Owler said that the freeze would ultimately lead to patients paying more for services as GPs implemented new or higher co-payments to cover the costs. This would deter people from seeing their GP and would result in more people requiring expensive hospital treatment. “We know that there’s good evidence to say some people will not see their doctor, that they will defer having treatment,” Prof. Owler said.

“It’s also more likely that they will end up in hospital needing more expensive hospital treatment.”

Noting that GPs had until now covered the rising costs, Prof. Owler stated that this couldn’t continue as rising staff costs, rents and indemnity insurance meant that practices were becoming financially unviable.

“The Medicare freeze is not just a co-payment by stealth, it is a sneaky new tax that punishes every Australian family,” he said.

“The medical profession is united in its efforts to put an end to the Medicare freeze and protect patients.”

Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia, Josh Frydenberg, said that the freeze on increasing the rebates was necessary to ensure that funding to other areas of the health system could continue. “It is being continued because we’re ploughing the money into many other areas of the health system, including the Turnbull Government’s recent announcement that more than $2.9 billion additional [funding] will be put into public hospitals,” he said. “Bulk-billing rates are now reaching historic highs at 85 per cent and more money every year is being put into Medicare.”

Read more at ABC.net.au 

Opinion: Spiralling health costs not the only problem

Visiting the GP can be stressful for many and the added worry of how you are going to afford to pay for that consultation is unnecessary and unfair. Having had its GP co-payment well and truly rejected by the electorate, the Government has simply shifted the onus to GPs who should be concerned about giving their patients the best possible care, not balancing the books.

Not only will practices have to increase costs and introduce new billing structures, they could potentially start to pick and choose which type of patients they treat. If a GP can charge a full-fee paying patient $70 to $80 for a five-minute consultation, why would they have a list full of bulk-billed patients for whom they can only claim $36.30 each? And woe-betide any patient who has complex medical needs and requires longer or more frequent consultations for they may soon find themselves ‘struck off the list’, figuratively speaking.

Of course, no GP would stop seeing a patient based on cost. It’s unethical, but when considering whether or not to accept a new patient, cost factors must surely start to come into consideration. GPs, like any other service provider, have to have a business plan and if that plan doesn’t stack up financially, it either has to be changed to generate more revenue or the practice has to call it quits.

And this is the danger, especially in rural areas where health services may already be difficult to access. If GPs start to move their practices to more affluent areas or pick and choose their patients, who will treat those who are less ‘financially attractive’? It will mean that they may have to travel further (incurring costs) and wait longer to see a GP, which could prove costly in more ways than one.

Do you pay to see your GP? If so, how much are you charged? If bulk billed, would you pay a fee to continue this arrangement or would you try and find another doctor? Have you ever avoided visiting a GP because of the cost?

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Written by Debbie McTaggart

88 Comments

Total Comments: 88
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    Whilst what you have written is understandable Debbie the real issue is that GPs are over servicing. Many tests should NEVER be performed as the nation needs to use resources better. Currently it is open slather and that is where our health care system is falling apart: tests on tests for those who want to feel good about their health rather than pursuing something which goes wrong. Also, it is long overdue that people like smokers, alcoholics and drug addicts are not aided in bleeding the system dry for their life style choices.
    Doctors need some control. The current open slather is not sustainable. And if doctors need some legislative assistance to avoid litigation for not sending patients for a whole myriad of unnecessary tests then so be it.
    Something has to give!

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      Register for a MYGOV account and link to medicare. Set up your myhealth account and you will get a clear picture of how the medical profession is milking the system.

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      Got one. Never use it though. How will one get a clear picture?

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      Gee MICK you’re being a bit harsh on those who choose to do something which is perfectly legal ie, smokers*, those who have an illness ie, alcoholics and those who have an addiction ie, drug addicts. And you might also provide some proof that GP’s are overservicing. My GP sends me for x-rays when he is unsure of what is causing my pain because, I assume, he cannot see inside my body. He also sends me for blood tests once a year to check for those illnesses that my age group is more susceptible to. I am grateful that he is smart enough to know where his area of expertise ends and where he needs to get assistance to make a diagnosis.

      *Here’s a comment by Senator Lehjonhelm on smoker’s and the associated costs to the budget.
      “Your generosity to the nation’s treasury is truly staggering. The government collects around $8 billion in tobacco excise each year. That’s a lot of cash. Last year, smokers imposed $318.4 million in net costs on Australia’s healthcare system. Depending on rainfall, smokers also cost the taxpayer about $150 million a year in bushfire control.”

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      Retired Knowall, There are very very few GPs who are actually using the MyHealth website to post their patients medical records. Mainly this is due to real concerns for accuracy, privacy and confidentiality of the information posted.Therefore any data you may be drawing your conclusions from is suspect to say the least.

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      All you have to do is open a MyGov account and link your medicare number to it. You can then go in and see what all your doctors and specialists have billed medicare and you over the last 3 years or so. You will be surprised what your doctors get paid for.

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      A different perspective Old Man. Question: what is the cost of medical services attributed to smokers? And then the costs to society with people dying with cancers during their working lives?
      I do not have the figures but would be most interested in learning if my suspicion is correct or otherwise.
      Last, we get a lot of folk post on this website complaining about not getting treatment because of smokers, druggies and alcoholics tying up the system. Perhaps this is of merit as well.
      Sorry if I am a bit tough at times. Right and wrong has always been at the core of my value system and it appears that those who should be on the end of the queue are, because of chronic illnesses, getting to the front.

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      Retired Knowall, just checked my Medicare account on MyGov.

      Nothing there about medico’s rorting the system.

      I think you may be logging into some fake website.

      Of course, unlike you, I have a legitimate Doctor who doesn’t overservice, and doesn’t give pills because you ask for them. Most patients don’t want to see him because of that.

    • 0
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      I have been asked how to set up a MyGov account.

      Go to https://my.gov.au/EnrolService/enrolService.htm?_flowId=enrolment-mg-flow&_flowExecutionKey=e1s1

      Once you have set it up link your medicare number to it.There is linking symbol to do this.

      Click the Medicare card image to get into medicare.

      Click History & Claims and then click on Medicare Claims History.

      You can access up to 3 years.

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      It’s easy to criticise doctors for over servicing, I’m sure it happens, but why does it happen?
      Maybe because there are a lot of people out there who would see a case of a docter missing something as an early retirement plan. We see it all the time, a doctor doesn’t order a test because they have no clear indication of a particular problem, someone dies or is incapacitated because of the resulting illness. What do most people do, they go and see a lawyer, who can blame a doctor for being overly cautious?
      They can’t win, they are either accused of over servicing or not caring, it all depends on the oputcomes.

  2. Profile Photo
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    Debbie how wrong can you be ? You infer that the current govt. is responsible but you conveniently omitted the fact that it was in fact the previous socialist govt. froze the rebate. Obvious where your allegiances are and that is fair enough but please keep your leftie views to yourself. Thank you
    .

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      If I only had $1 for every right wing troll comment I have read over the past 2 years I’d be a millionaire tj. Please come in with your comment above when that happens. It would be appreciated.

      Debbie: does tj have a leg to stand on?

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      Sadly for your comment MICK, tj has a leg to stand on and the dates given in this article are very misleading. The freeze was announced by the Gillard government in their May 3 budget 2013.

      Here is a link; http://www.skynews.com.au/news/politics/campaigntrail/2016/05/15/labor-still-coy-on-medicare-rebate-freeze.html

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      Will have a look Old Man. I do note that this is from SkyNews….a Murdoch business so expect to see the normal sort of unfactual reporting. Will let you know.

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      Old Man: just read geomac’s account below. Is this correct?

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      Yes MICK, and a check of the 2013-14 budget shows that there is a reference to the “forward estimates” which leads me to think that the freeze may have been planned for 4 years and this theory stacks up with the expiry date of 2017. Seems that the naughty Coalition just didn’t undo Labor’s freeze.

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      Some people don’t like to be wrong; calling people Trolls for writing the truth; in my book Mick owes Old Man an apology and Debbie needs to review how she addresses her audience – keep your politics out of your articles or have someone who can write balanced stories.

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      Well Reeper, you may be right but I’m not standing on one leg waiting for MICK to apologise. As John Wayne said in The Yellow Rose Of Texas “Never apologise Mister, it’s a sign of weakness”. Personally I think it’s a sign of good manners.

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      I agree with that Old Man and I almost always apologise when I am shown to be wrong. I was asking for clarification above so please be civil.

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      MICK, I have shown you proof that Gillard placed the freeze on, I have directed you to the budget papers that show the freeze was until 2017 and your take on all of this was to ask Debbie if tj had a leg to stand on and refer to an unsupported statement from geomac.

      With respect, you have the proof and a check of my posts doesn’t show any uncivility although my sarcastic streak may have raised its ugly head above the parapet. I find your comment that you “almost always” apologise. Am I in the “almost always”?

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      Hey Old Man, try not to get too upset with the rudeness of MICK, you should realise by now that he knows everything and is never wrong, MICK for PM and Australia will be Utopia.
      He is a dear dear boy and we are all trolls and bigots or on drugs.

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      No Stan, you and Old Man and Frank are all very charitable souls who are happy to donate $11 billion a year to the IRS in America, and to see Australian pensioners and working class families shafted to foot the bill. I hope the US people are suitably grateful for your generosity with other people’s money!

      $11 BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR. Enough to fund fair pensions to those who have been screwed over by this cruel LNP 4.5 times over. Enough to preserve Medicare and fund education properly. Enough to substantially reduce Australia’s burgeoning debt, instead of GROWING IT by gross mismanagement.

      Oh, perhaps you tunnel-visioned right-wing LNP supporters didn’t understand the company tax cut? You really should educate yourself. Here’s a hint. Check out the company tax rate in the US and our tax agreement with them.

      I hope you got your thank you card from the IRS?

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      I think you will find that the LNP, instead of removing the freeze extended it. They also tried to add a health tax by making the poor pay cash for every visit, thankfully the Independants put a stop to it.

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      That’s right, exPS. Labor did impose it. But they also fixed a time limit and are now committed to ending it. Thus far, the LNP are saying it has done little or no harm. Maybe it’s done some good. But extending it threatens our health system. And what is really scary is that we know the LNP wants to destroy Medicare. They have tried all manner of ways to reduce bulk billing and introduce user-pays to the health service. So how can we trust them to have considered the risks attached to extending the freeze.

      Labor acted responsibly, and is continuing to do so. The LNP is acting selfishly, in the interests of the well to do and against the interests of the nation.

  3. 0
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    Here’s a leftie view, tj! This useless federal government reduced my part-age pension by 21%!
    Sooner it gets voted out the better! Malcolm Turnaround hasn’t got a clue how to run a government!

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      I think Turnbull is right. We can no longer afford to pay welfare to $millionaires.

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      Agreed Frank. And we cannot afford to let the rich escape the tax system or move their profits to offshore no tax shelters either.

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      I agree Frank if people have had their pension reduced then they either have too much money or earn too much money.

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      WRONG AGAIN, BONNY AND FRANK. It has NOTHING TO DO with millionaires. People with considerably less than half a million to last them possibly another 30+ years, with failing health and increasing expenses, are being deprived.

      A few fools believe the lies about ”welfare for millionaires”, but actually the welfare for millionaires continues (owners of multi-million dollar homes for example, and folk who gifted millions to their kids and now have their kids pay all their bills while they live high on the hog on a full pension!). It’s honest the battlers who can’t earn enough to be self-sufficient who are being stripped of their lifestyle unfairly, and there is not a single other group of Australians who have been required to suffer anywhere near as much as the group who, having already lost half their income through falling returns, are now suffering cruel deprivation of pension entitlement (and YES THEY ARE ENTITLEMENTS! These people paid a high price, and planned according to the law and government recommendations. It’s not their fault a fraudulent government stole their contributions to what was a very healthy retirement fund.)

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      That’s precisely why more needs to be done to stop these millionaire pensioners. Some people will do anything to get the pension. I can never understand why myself.

      I really don’t believe anyone is actually suffering as the people effected have their capital to spend. I see families every day that are suffering more than these people as these families barely live from week to week without any capital to fall back on for emergencies and are then at the mercy of payday lenders. The only thing these pensioners or soon to be non-pensioners are suffering from is that they will lose their nice to have extras for the pokies or a more expensive holiday.

    • 0
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      Bonny, you have demonstrated both your ignorance and your self-serving greed repeatedly.

      It’s not even worth arguing with a narcissist. They have no logic. They have no common sense. They are incapable of empathy. They are incapable of rational thinking.

      You are plainly too STUPID to see that forcing a nation of savers to erode their capital and rewarding people for being irresponsible is DUMB POLICY that will drive taxes up. Only an idiot would support it. Sorry to insult you, but you really do go too far with your self-serving attacks on people less fortunate than you, and your grossly irrational untruthful bigoted nonsense.

      NOTHING you say is based on fact. It’s all political propaganda fromn BS artists who peddle slick slogans to excuse incompetence and corruption. And you endorse it because it’s unfair to others, but it serves your selfish personal interests.

      YOU JUST DON’T GIVE A HOOT for fairness, decency, or sound economic management to build a stronger nation.

  4. 0
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    It is estimated that there will be an increase in the informal vote as many people will reject the major 3 parties, the lying cheating rorting snout in trough Liberals, the inept and turned their backs on the working class Labour, and extreme left wing Greens. I say don’t vote Informal, don’t waste your vote, it wont make much difference. There is an alternative. The Nick Xenophone team.

  5. 0
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    This is really just the continuation of the Libs declared intent back in Whitlam’s day of dismantling Medibank, as it originally was, and now under its revised name of Medicare.
    Such a public health system is anathema to the right wing thinks tanks, such as Institute of Public Affairs, who seem to exercise tremendous influence on Liberal Party thinking and policies.
    Our health system, while far from perfect, is still pretty good. One area that needs to be sorted out is the tendency for people to go to A & E at public hospitals with issues that should be dealt with by a G.P. I have friends, now retired with multi-million dollars in super, who always took their kids and themselves to A & E with colds and flu’s etc.

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      Anyone turning up at A & E with a non-emergency should be charged in full for the consultation. And made to wait until all others have been dealt with. And that includes parents with kids with a runny nose!

    • 0
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      Whilst I agree with you KSS there are people who do not have a razoo in their pockets and are unable to go anywhere else. So what do they do?

      Thanks for the contribution Tom Tank. This government has made it pretty clear that it would like to avoid both universal health care and public education. And yes they have not yet cut either loose but they are fiddling around the edges to get this started. A matter of time if voters put the bastards back.

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      I agree with part of your post Tom Tank and it’s the part about using A&E as your local doctor. The only way around this is to charge every person attending, regardless of why they are there, a fee similar to a doctor. If the attendance requires hospitalisation then the fee may be refunded. I also believe that the names of all subscribers to any health care fund should be given to every hospital as some attending to A&E claim they are not in a fund to get free treatment.

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      All Australians are covered by Medicare so we are all entitled to be treated under Medicare. It is each individuals choice where they stay a medicare patient or elect to be a private patient. You can be a private patient without belonging to a health fund. You health insurance is between you and your fund so it is up to you whether you use it or not. The hospital cannot access your private health insurance without your consent.

      Your private insurance does not cover you until you are admitted to hospital so it is of no benefit to A&E.

    • 0
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      Bonny that’s right. Some people pay $20,000 pa to Medicare some pay nothing, but we are all covered.

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      And some still can’t afford the care they need because of stupid rules made by dumb idiots who don’t live in the real world.

      We may be all ”covered”, Frank, but we are NOT all ”covered’, because Medicare discriminates against people with certain health needs, certain treatment preferences, and in certain geographic areas.

      In the end, it comes down to the doctors and specialists available in your area and how greedy or caring they are. And a bit of good luck is involved too. If you have condition X, you get medicine at around $7. If you have condition Y, you pay $280. If you need a doctor or surgeon, you might be allowed a dozen visits (if needed) at concessional cost. If you need a physio or psych or dietitican, you might only be allowed 6 or less visits. And of course if you need a Naturopath or other alternate health provider, forget it completely.

      What a messed up system we have! But never fear. The LNP will make it better. They’ll freeze Medicare payments so we can’t afford the treatments that are currently available. Then those who need other treatments won’t be able to complain of unfairness. We’ll all be screwed equally!

  6. 0
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    Our GP’S bulk bill still. It makes their accounting system simpler, quicker & takes less staff to run the Practice. We would not change Drs if they find they have to bulk bill. But what seems unfair is that you have to go to your GP to get a script for a drug you have taken for years & need to continue to take. So if we have to pay just to get a script, they need to look at some system allowing scripts to last longer. Also Specialist referrals.

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      I agree Supernan about a visit for a script and referrals, but I recently changed Dr’s because where I was attending charged even if it was a follow up for tests or a procedure, but where I am now Pensioners are bulk billed, and my specialist has worked with my new GP and has highly recommended her

  7. 0
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    I guess the real issue is that it is easy for this government to take out any services for the general public. What do they care? They are just there to pass the time until they get their millions in retirement. It is a common knowledge that Liberal policies favours businesses and the rich. Our health system as it is is a univeral system that serves the rich and the poor. The US under Obama is trying to change theirs to make it universal as well. Are we going backward?

    • 0
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      And the well off in the US are screaming ‘economy meltdown’ in their efforts to avoid subsidising the dirt poor so that these folk do not die on the streets. Having been to the US numerous times I cannot but feel for most unfair first world nation on the planet. Never believe the rhetoric about ‘the land of the free’. It’s BS designed to make the disenfranchised feel good and not rise up.

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      We are headed in that direction, Mick. That’s what scares me. We will become just like the US if the LNP has it’s way.

  8. 0
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    tj
    While you castigate Debbie you yourself conveniently omit to say that Labor froze the rebate for nine months only. The coalition made that freeze for four years and has now added a further two.
    If you do not like the article because of your views accusing the writer of being a lefty is groundless, more so when you then misrepresent what has happened. Labor 9 months temporary freeze and coalition 6 years, 4 plus the added two.

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      A check of the 2013-14 budget shows that there is a reference to the “forward estimates” which leads me to think that the freeze may have been planned for 4 years and this theory stacks up with the expiry date of 2017. Seems that the naughty Coalition just didn’t undo Labor’s freeze.

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    The medical profession must be milking this dry for Labor to introduce this freeze. Usually they don’t mind paying for votes with our tax dollars. I cant see either party changing it after the election. I did hear Turnbull say that Susan Ley has reached an agreement with Pathologists to continue bulk billing.

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      No Frank….the medical profession just got a very nice tax cut from their benefactor Malcolm Turnbull and his government. You know as well as I do that doctors, accountants, lawyers, etc. mostly have trading names. They are SMALL BUSINESSES!! So they will get a great cut whilst those who earn under $80,000 pa get tax increases.

      “Milking this dry”? Liberal not Labor. Get the facts straight rather than print the party propaganda Frank!

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      Yes Mick, and it was a lawyer who publicly announced that tax cuts DO NOT generate jobs or growth, because they will be used to offset personal taxes and therefore to make the business owners richer.

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      Correct. And then big business and the real rich get their cut of the pie as well. It’s a Turnbull led casino.

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      But actually, the IRS in good old USA has just exposed something, Mick, that politicians didn’t tell us.

      The company tax cut gave the IRS an $11 billion p.a. windfall at the ATO’s expense!

      Yep, that’s right. We have just GIVEN the US government $11 billion a year by cutting company taxes in Australia. They were already collecting 5% of the 30% tax US companies in Australia pay. Now they will collect 7.5% of the tax. Foreign investment will grow? Bullshit! There will be more people employed? Bullshit!

      US companies will NOT get a tax cut. They will pay the same as before – 30%, as is the legislated rate in the USA. They will pay our rate here, and the balance there. The US was already collecting a handsome amount from the operation of US companies in Australia. Now they will collect $11 billion more! And this gift is being paid for by the poor struggling Australian working families and battling retirees. I hope the IRS is grateful!

      If this is ”good economic management”’, heaven help us if we ever see ”bad management”. I’ll take Swan’s or Bowen’s management in preference, thank you. It couldn’t be worse!

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    Surprised how politically biased people keep raking up long past issues ! Read the policies, think about the last 2 years & vote on what they have done for you !

    If you really want to head to the past, go right back ! Labor was created to stop the wealthy exploiting the workers. The LNP was created by the wealthy to allow them to protect their wealth from the poor. So it helps big business, developers, millionaires. The Greens exist to protect the Environment & keep some natural areas from exploitation by the rich.

    Thats what the parties aim for. Yes they get it wrong & make mistakes. But basically their aims stay the same.

    Yes I usually vote either Labor or Green – the LNP has never done anything to help our parents, ourselves or our kids improve their quality of life. Certainly the last couple of years have been the worst of our lives for having to fight for rights to live a modest comfortable lifestyle.

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      I venture to ask which side of politics always dredges up the past Supernan?
      I sort of know the answer given my confrontations with Frank and a couple of other trolls who work this website but better maybe coming from somebody else. I do know what you are talking about and thank you for bringing to everybody’s attention. Ta.

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      Whilst I am in general agreement with your comments re the different parties agendas it pays never to lose sight of the past.
      History tells us a lot but certainly many statements by politicians, especially at election time cannot be trusted.
      When I refer to history I mean the overall trend over the years.
      Both ALP and LNP have swung to the right and I believe that Robert Menzies would be turning in his grave to see how far the Liberal party have moved. He would not allow really conservative people into HIS Liberal Party.
      In my opinion we can only look at the overall thrust of a party’s intention and ignore the posturing and the financial gestures that are made. Then it comes down to trust and that is when we can get really disappointed.

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      The troll word again MICK well done dear boy, when do the strikes and the boats start, any idea dear boy?

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      Yes Superman, I can understand you not wanting to talk about the past and to keep the past to no more than 2 years. There are any rusted on Labor/Union voters who would share that view. It was a time when I was truly ashamed to be an Australian. We had people dying in the hundreds because of government policy. Whether in the roofs of houses or on the sea. What a disgrace! You are right to try and block it from your memory but I cannot! I want to be assured that it does not happen again.

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      Frank/stan: you crack me up. Readers must be wondering what drugs you are on.
      So now it is ” We had people dying in the hundreds because of government policy.” Pink batts? Ha, ha, ha. How far back you going to go to find some nonsense to post?

      The current conversation is about the last few years under the current government. Readers know what this lot have done…and what they intend to do if re-elected. Not pretty unless you are wealthy or in the (Party) foal. So maybe you are ok Frank. But then you are on a parliamentary pension, so no worries.

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      If you argue or disagree with MICK, you are either a bigot a troll or on drugs, strange isn’t it?
      Why is that dear boy?
      I’m beginning to think you may not make a good PM after all.

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      1200 dead MICK. That is a serious failing by the Labor government of which Shorten played a lead roll.
      What a disgraceful excuse for a government that was, and would you believe there are idiots who want them back in????
      I don’t like this question but I need to ask it on this occasion……
      WHY???

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      Frank, I can point to dozens of needy pensioners who ended years of suffering the cold by getting pink batts installed. Many couldn’t afford heating or cooling, and gained huge benefit from insulation.

      It’s unfortunate that some installers were inept, and it’s unfortunate that there wasn’t better government control, but the program was highly beneficial to countless thousands, and there were NOT ”hundreds” of deaths. There were FOUR.

      Actually, the failure of the scheme says a great deal about the free market system the LNP so favours. It evidences the greed, selfishness, and lack of respect of businesses who happily take advantage of any opportunity for profit, with no regard for workers or customers. Funny, this is the same sector the LNP claims are so ethical and need to be given more freedom and lower taxes to reward their ”enterprise”. The LNP is constantly demanding fewer restrictions – less wage regulation, and end to union power to enforce safety regulations, etc. The most surprising thing about the pink batts scheme is that LNP policy failed under Labor management.

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      That is proof that you and MICK only read what you want to read Rainey. No where did I say that hundreds of people died installing pink batts. Everyone knows that there were four and that’s four too many in my opinion.
      The Rudd government had as its focus to provide jobs for unskilled labour. There are certain jobs that the unskilled can do with training and safety precautions and there are other jobs which can be carried out with very little training.
      I watched the RC and was disgusted at the off the cuff remark by Rudd. “I don’t know anything about pink batts, I’m not a handyman those screwdrivers in the shed belong to Therese.”
      This from a Union Government?!

      THE 1200 DEATHS WERE AT SEA. LABOR HAD NO ANSWERS. THE SIGHT OF THE TEARFUL HANDWRINGING GOVERNMENT MPs IS ETCHED IN MY SUBCONSIENCE.
      I AM PSYCHOLOGICALLY SCARRED FOR LIFE!
      MANY OF THOSE WHO DIED MAY HAVE BEEN GENUINE REFUGEES. THERE WERE INNOCENT CHILDREN AMONGST THEM! FOR GOD’S SAKE WHERE IS YOUR COMPASSION???

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      It must be tiring logging off and then logging back on as a different user Frank. At least you are no longer posting under my name.

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      That’s it, Frank. When you can’t argue logically, CHANGE THE SUBJECT! Don’t EVER admit that Labor might have done some good in some areas, or that my comment that there weren’t hundreds of deaths from the insulation scheme could be correct. Just divert the discussion.

      As for deaths at sea – terrible, but far from entirely the fault of any government. These people take to the sea. They take huge known risks. I feel great sympathy for them. It’s sad that their lives are so bad that they feel the risks are justified. But they do take risks and sometimes those who take risks suffer bad consequences.

      The refugee problem is huge, and nobody knows how to solve it. We are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. The wisest statement I’ve heard thus far is that we should send them all back where they came from because only the strong get out, leaving the weak to suffer unprotected. The only hope for their country is for the strong to stay and fight. That’s easy to say too, and not nearly as easy to do. But there is no magic bullet. The LNP has no answers either. It’s NOT a political issue. It’s a human issue. All of us grieve the misery. None of us has a valid fix.

      As for there being innocent children among them… that’s sad. It’s always dreadful to see children suffer. But is it any worse than our own native-born children enduring hideous suffering? Maybe life has hardened me, because as a child I survived trauma and crisis and pain nobody should endure. And my partner suffered even worse. And nobody cared. And nobody today cares about the terrible ongoing pain and suffering that those who endured what we endured suffer for the rest of their lives. It never ends. It never goes away. It passes down to the next generation and wounds them.

      Who cries for the 18 year-olds who the LNP sent to die or to suffer permanent disability or lifelong mental torment in war. Who cries for their orphaned children who grow up in poverty as a result? There are so many wrongs to grieve. And they are not wrongs by politicians of one colour or another. They are wrongs of humanity. And when we stop progressing the interests of politicians of a favoured colour, disregarding their evils, and start focusing on objective analysis of what can be fixed in our world, we might light a candle of hope at last.

      Stop bashing Labor and those who speak against your precious LNP and start THINKING about what is wrong and what can and should be changed. Neither party is any better than the other. But right now, LNP policies are hurting battlers way too much, and they are NOT growing the economy. We’ve proved trickle-down doesn’t work. We’ve proved neoliberalism promotes inequality and social unrest. It’s time to end it. There’s no ”good” option. We are faced with a choice of evils, but it’s clear which evil is the greater.

      And just a final thought, Frank. If we allow inequality and injustice to continue, it will be our people dying at sea as a result of running from hell. We can’t keep on blaming the battlers and handing out riches to the wealthy. We need some equity and empathy at home.

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