Thursday, August 05, 2010

Abbott's Beds Hide Agenda

Tony Abbott has promised funding for 2800 more public hospital beds. It sounds good, and will appeal to voters. But what are they getting?
  • funding will not be made available until AFTER the states have opened the beds. Opening a bed involves costs for: nursing staff, ward staff, operation and maintenance, increased number of doctors/doctor visits, electrical costs. I'm sure there are more to be found by accountants.
  • the 2800 beds INCLUDES the extra 800 beds for mental health previously announced. The latest 5survey data shows Australia has almost 56500 public hospital beds in 737 public & 19 public psychiatric hospitals
    (see: )
Tony Abbott has other plans for hospitals not included in the 10s media grab, and carefully scripted press release:
  • local hospital boards: in the 1970's &  1980's there was a history of stacked political appointments, particularly, but not only, under Queensland's National-Liberal Government. The previous Federal Liberal-National government, of which all existing Coalition MP's & Senators were members, had a policy of forcing non-elected 'wannabe' politicians on schools to which they gave Australian flags & flagpoles. It would not be unreasonable to think they would do the same with local hospital boards.
  • In 2008, when John Howard unilaterally announced a Federal takeover of Mersey Hospital in Tasmania, it had to delay it because people quickly realized that all employees would likely be offered AWA's under WorkChoices IR Laws. IR is definitely on Tony Abbott's agenda - he just doesn't like discussing it. Local Hospital Board's under Federal control would allow Tony Abbott to push his IR agenda.
 Early in this campaign, Tony Abbott admitted he would target populist policies. Sadly, this is likely to be one of them. Glossy, popular on first glance, but with a hidden agenda that is not good public policy.