Should the government be a de facto travel insurer?
Overnight, Tony Abbott promised to allocate $75k lump sum compensation payments to victims of overseas terrorist acts. The money is earmarked for people with ongoing physical injuries or mental trauma, and the dead’s next of kin.
On face value, it is a thoughtful measure. You might also argue that it’s a clever jump on any similar plans the government may or may be set to announce as the 10th anniversary of the first Bali bombing looms.
Mr Abbott plans to backdate the compensation to cover the attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York in 2001, the 2002 and 2005 Bali bombings, London in 2005 and Jakarta in 2004 and 2009. In total, around 300 people will be eligible. Every decent Australian would agree this will be money well spent.
But how many more Australians will want a slice of the action?
Potentially, any Australian who has been injured in an avalanche while skiing in New Zealand, or gored by a bull at the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, or sideswiped by a taxi while working in New York City will now feel entitled to ask for a handout.
Why is one misadventure overseas deemed more worthy of governmental assistance than any other?
That’s not to discount the pain of the families of Australians maimed or killed in events so horrible most of us couldn’t imagine them.
But if the government starts positioning itself as a de facto insurance agency for Australians who encounter misfortune overseas, (and nobody even needs to take out a premium), where does it end?
Isn’t there a thing called travel insurance for stuff like this?
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