The blame game monster is back and it has been munching steroids in its brief absence.
Tomorrow’s Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting will be the first following both the NSW and Queensland elections and the subsequent realigment of the national political equation.
The long-standing fixture of state-federal animosity will be intensified by the dominance of Coalition premiers who will have a 4/2 majority.
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A few years ago, my wife suggested that we get a pet dog for the kids. The arguments were assembled: it is good for children to learn how to treat animals properly, it will get them outdoors and off the computer, they will get exercise by taking it around the block etc.
By the time we got the cute little thing air freighted to Sydney from the breeding kennel interstate, we had signed for it three times. Once when placing the order for the dog, once when booking it to be sent to Sydney and one more time when I picked it up at the airport. No signature, no puppy. Not once, but three times.
And the point of this story? Well at the moment the Tasmanian Parliament is debating a bill dealing with surrogacy. The bill in its current form permits two men, two women, a single man and even a heterosexual couple to enter into a surrogacy arrangement with a female person, to be known as the “birth mother”, who will seek to become pregnant and give birth to a child.
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Call me brave, or even stupid, but after David Penberthy’s piece last week, I’ve decided to launch a defence of NSW Labor leader John Robertson on The Punch. I expect pundits are already commenting below, calling me a union hack – or worse – as often occurs when I contribute to this site.
One of the reasons I feel compelled to launch this defence is because I find it curious that we endlessly search for people with convictions in politics, but end up bagging a bloke who was willing to stand up for his convictions.
Unpopular as it appears to the Labor elite, his convictions were shared by the majority of people in the community and by the workers that he was paid to represent.
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The Prime Minister has declared that the States of Australia will not be able to fund the public hospital and health needs of Australia’s aging population in to the future. The Rudd answer has been presented to us as his promised health reform in the shape of a 60/40 funding split; with the Commonwealth becoming the dominant funder, and local hospital networks providing management of service delivery.
There is actually no additional or new money; the 60% we all clearly know is to be achieved by a Federal grab of 30% of the States GST revenue. This is a takeover of State revenue.
It has been a skilful exercise in abrogating the responsibility that Federal government (of both parties) has over time failed to maintain its funding of the public hospitals and dropped to an average 35/65 contribution; thus making the States cop the brunt of the costs, and now blaming them for failures. “The blame game” has been played and rightly so. The States have pointed the finger at the federal government’s diminished contribution and now the Feds have stealth fully turned the table on the States.
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