Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Nice one Nicola!

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-06-09

Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon, is not known for being a head-kicker (witness her gentle putdown of the Mad Monk for not turning up on time for a National Press Gallery speech).  She put her head-kicking boots on again today, with good justification, and some style (see below the fold).

Coalition senators treated their duties, the Australian people, and perhaps even the principles of democracy, with contempt, refusing to turn up (or even give notice of intended absences) to the public hearings, part of a Senate Inquiry into means-testing private insurance rebates.

(The post I refer to has some pretty damning figures about the whole idea of subsidizing inefficient middle-persons, so I’m in favor of the bill as far as it goes, but wish it completely abolished the rebate.)

From Roxon’s 2009-06-09 Media Release – and unusually I’ll quote all but the final two paragraphs from a ministerial media spin release:

Coalition Senators Fail To Turn Up For Work
The Coalition’s disinterest in making Australia’s health system fairer and more sustainable was confirmed today by their failure to turn up at a Senate Inquiry into the Government’s proposed means testing of the Private Health Insurance rebate.

Most of the scheduled public hearing had to be cancelled because the Coalition Senators failed to attend." None of the Coalition members of the Committee contacted the Secretariat or Committee Chair to advise they would not be attending.

The Coalition’s claims to be concerned about the proposed changes cannot be taken seriously when they cannot be bothered to turn up to a public hearing.

Since May 12, the Opposition has displayed its contempt for Australia’s health system by not bothering to ask the Government even one question about health in Question Time.

It is irresponsible (apart from illness or urgent family requirements) for opposition senators to abrogate their duties in the only forum where they can make a difference – senate committees.

It’s far-fetched to think that this mass absenteeism, and plain rudeness, was not orchestrated.  And this from a party that abhors workplace strikes and vilifies those who organize the strikes even if they are totally justifiable!

Either Turnbull cannot control the organized shenanigans of unworthy parliamentarians in his party, or he was involved in organizing this co-ordinated abrogation of responsibilities.

I actually don’t mind Turnbull (unusual, because the last Liberal leader I liked was Gorton), and I don’t think he’d orchestrate such a stunt.

This suggests that other forces in the party caused the trouble.

I hope Turnbull gets some control over the unreasonable elements in his party room, or at least condemns such behaviour – perhaps suggesting that those Senator’s salaries should be cut pro-rata based on the number of days they sit in parliament or in committee.

As to Nicola Roxon… we’ll she isn’t a Julia Gillard, who’d have probably gone all Keatingesque with "Bludgers spitting on Australian democracy, cosying up with the parasites sucking the lifeblood from our health system, like workers claiming a sickie when actually out whoring and partying with other anti-social scum.".


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