Few, if any of us on the non-leftist side of politics had much reason for optimism when the ABC introduced its ‘fact checking’ service. It was expected that it would be similar to factcheck.org in the US which maintained prior to the 2008 election that President Obama was a 2nd Amendment supporter and that the claims that he was a gun grabber were false.
Somewhat surprisingly, it has called out Kevin Rudd on a couple of occasions in this electoral cycle.
In the latest, they have revealed how Rudd justifies his claim that Abbott cut a billion dollars from health funding:
In 2002, the states and territories negotiated with the Commonwealth over their contributions to health care funding for the impending 2003-08 Australian National Healthcare Agreement. The Commonwealth proposed lifting its contribution to $42 billion.The states argued this sum was $1 billion lower than they were expecting, based on earlier estimates for future spending published in Commonwealth budget papers.
According to the 2003-04 Department of Health and Ageing's portfolio budget statement the cut was justified because public hospitals were treating a greater proportion of out-patients and because Commonwealth incentives to increase use of private hospitals were working.
The states lost the argument and the $1 billion cut and the $42 billion funding went ahead. The health minister who oversaw these funding changes was Kay Paterson.
After Mr Abbott took over the portfolio, he began managing the already agreed $42 billion provided in the new five-year Australian National Healthcare Agreement. The annual Commonwealth funding for public hospitals before he became health minister was $8.7 billion in 2002-3 and when he left was $10.7 billion.
Rudd is effectively claiming that as the figure offered was a billion dollars below the states expectations, it represents a cut. He then goes on to blame Abbott who increased funding by two billion. In non – government circles this would be seen as deliberate dishonesty given that Rudd has full access to all of the records involved.
This is similar to his description of the bank deposits tax as a saving. Using the Euro zone/world bank model of the Cyprus bailout as a template, he imposed a similar tax on our bank deposits, albeit at a lower rate as a ‘savings’ measure.
A new tax cannot in any sort of reality understood by the vast majority of us, cannot be seen as anything short of a tax. In the hallowed halls of Canberra though, it is seen as a saving, owing to the fact that Rudd and his cronies feel entitled to everything that we have. Rudd actually feels entitled to a portion of our savings after we earn our wages and pay taxes on them, pay our expenses, and manage to save a little.
We have truly reached the stage that Thatcher described as ‘the tuckshop economy’ were all that we are entitled is that proportion of our earnings that the ruling class decides is fair to allow us to retain after they meet their own needs out of it.