I just finished reading four different articles published by four different newspapers. Each article claimed to be about Tony Abbot and his new dental scheme. And, to be fair, all four of them started out that way. They talked about how the Opposition Leader wants to introduce dental to the Medicare system. They mentioned how much Mr Abbot believes it would cost per year. And then they ran out of things to say so they all started talking about the rest of his speech.
I have, therefore, read significantly more about what a rubbish job Tony Abbot thinks our current government is doing with the economy (surprise surprise) than I have about his dental scheme. I have also heard about how he, if elected, will deign to spend a week of every year in a remote indigenous community, because “if these places are good enough for Australians to live in they should be good enough for a prime minister and senior officials to stay in.” Note how a prime minister and senior officials are not classed as ordinary Australians.
Why the lack of information? Because, on closer inspection, Tony Abbot didn’t actually say anything. All he did was promise to think about introducing a dental element to the current Medicare system after “the Budget returns to a strong surplus”.
I promise to think about providing every home in Australia with a pink giraffe if I get 100 comments on this blog. It’s not going to happen, but I really do promise to think about it.
Don’t get me wrong – I wholeheartedly agree that we need to include dental in the Medicare program. I think that not doing so is a gross oversight. That the Government will fund long-term antibiotics to stave off an increasingly nasty gum infection but won’t pay for you to see a dentist and have the problem fixed is beyond reason.
Tony Abbot, however, should not be applauded for what he said on Tuesday. Because without any promises his speech about adding dental care to the Medicare program is just another way to make himself look good and the Government look bad without lifting a finger to fix the problem.