1. Governing for “all of us”? Remember that catch-cry, people? Look what he has delivered.
How can anyone not gag over the Devonport Hospital rescue? Now it may well be a good idea for the Commonwealth to take over running the hospitals; Lord Malcolm, working as he was in the health area, always used to argue for it. But has ever an intervention been so nakedly targeted for electoral purposes as this one? Rudd got that dead right on the 7.30 Report last night.
…KEVIN RUDD: Absolutely. I’m not an apologist for bad State Government delivery of programs. What I’m concerned about is practical, positive solutions for the future. Let’s just take one: health and hospitals.
Tonight right across Australia we have 2,300 people who are currently occupying acute hospital beds who have already been classified to go into aged care facilities. What’s the problem? They are bed blockers thereby making it harder for people to get into hospital who need it now. Now the Federal Government’s responsible for age care, the States for hospitals, but the Federal Government refuses to increase the overall number of aged care beds. Why? Because it’s a neat cost shift back to the states.
What’s our practical proposal for the future? We have clear cut black and white policy to create an additional 2,000 aged care beds so that those hospital beds are freed up overnight. I was in WA today. In Western Australia there are 350 people occupying those beds in acute care hospitals right now. That’s a practical solution. What’s Mr Howard’s? Six weeks before an election, “Ah, there’s a hospital in Devonport. Ah I’m in trouble in the seat of Braddon. Ah, I’ve got a $50 million dollar…”.
KERRY O’BRIEN: That’s all very well…
KEVIN RUDD: That’s just too cute by half.
KERRY O’BRIEN: … But if it hadn’t been for State slackness in the first place that issue wouldn’t have been in the slate in the marginal seat you’re hoping to win and Mr Howard has now stepped in on. Because the first report dealing with whole of that State’s health issues went to the Labor Government in 2004 and they waited till May this year to deal with it. Now, that is a classic illustration of a State for its own political reasons avoiding a tough issue prior to an election leaving it until later and now it’s in your lap?
KEVIN RUDD: I don’t defend bad action by any State Government anywhere, anytime. But I am concerned about how you bring about positive, practical solutions for the future. What I’ve put on the table is a practical way of doing it. Let’s go to specific purpose payments, for example…
See also Hospital takeover bound to fail by Haydn Walters, president of the Tasmanian branch of the Australian Medical Association.
Contrast one year ago: