Tuesday, 23 June 2015
Matters of Public Importance
Health and Education Funding
Mr Deputy Speaker, I know that you would not support the massive cuts that are proposed here in health and education. The Prime Minister was saying at question time that it does not matter what goes in; what matters is what comes out. What we know is that with these reports—the audit commission report and the new green paper on the federation—what goes in is a lot of crazy rhetoric, a lot of ideology, a lot of user pays and cuts to health and education ideology, and what comes out are funding cuts. We saw with the Commission of Audit a long list of ideas that everybody thought were terribly far-fetched. Where did they turn up? They turned up in this government's first budget. We expect that all the crazy ideas in this green paper—the user pays, the cuts to health and education—will turn up in the next budget.
Before the last election, this Prime Minister said nine times that there would be no change to pensions, no cuts to health, no cuts to education, no cuts to the ABC and SBS, no change to pensions and no new taxes. Every single one of those promises has been broken. So when this Prime Minister says, 'Oh, no, how could you possibly think that what is in the federation green paper is actually going to happen in real life?' we look at what he promised before the last election and what happened after that election. We know that you cannot hold this Prime Minister at his word. You can almost guarantee that if he says it is not going to happen, it will happen. He said: 'no cuts to health' and we saw cuts to health; he said, 'no cuts to education' and we saw cuts to education; he said, 'no cuts to the ABC and SBS' and we saw those cuts; he said, 'no new taxes' and we have got 17 new taxes—the highest rate of tax to GDP that we have had since the Howard years.
Now we hear denials that this government will cut more than $18 billion from hospitals every single year. It is called 'hypothetical'. In question time we heard government members talking about it being hypothetical. Here is says, on page 7 of this 'hypothetical' document, 'The Commonwealth would no longer provide funding for public hospital services and would have no role in setting operational targets for public hospitals'. That is pretty hypothetical isn't it? That is page 7 of a document in black and white—a document that is going to be released this afternoon. Wow, that is pretty hypothetical. This is a document that is released by the Prime Minister's own department. I have been responsible for a green paper and white paper process—