This week the election campaign made me want to throw things at the telly.
The politicking has reached an exasperating level. The commentary regarding asylum seekers was deliberately divisive and for that reason I’m going to do you a favour and I won’t re-hash any of it.
Through all the muck and the mire I heard a tiny snippet that piqued my interest. It was an actual, real, policy announcement, and, as it turns out, there were quite a few commitments from each of the parties (not that you would know it).
So this week I’m going to steer clear of the politics and dig out the policy announcements that might help to decide your vote.The announcement that made me sit up and pay attention was Labor’s $40 million commitment to fund swimming and water safety lessons for every primary school aged child at a state, Catholic or independent school.
Seems simple, right? I remember having swimming lessons through school as a kid - it’s certainly how I learnt to swim, complete with retro orange floaties. I’m not sure when or why school swimming lessons stopped being provided, but as a nation obsessed with the sun and the surf it’s a total no brainer. Obviously this shouldn't remove parental responsibilities (as pointed out by Shauna Anderson on Mamamia earlier this week), but I reckon this policy is a winner.
The other Labor announcement of note was Thursday’s $2.4 billion promise to undo the inflation based freeze on Medicare rebates. In recent years, both parties have capped rebates to claw back escalating health care costs, and the Government announced in the budget that this would be extended for a further two years. This has significant flow on effects. Instead of doctors taking the financial hit, the cost is often passed on to the patient, eroding the bulk-billing system.
Of course, when out-of-pocket primary health care costs increase, people wind up in emergency departments when they really should just be seeing a doctor, which ultimately costs the tax payer more. With Medicare set to be a key battleground in this election campaign it will be interesting to see whether this commitment is matched by the Government.
The Coalition made a significant announcement this week for families struggling with the day to day management of their kids’ Type 1 diabetes. If re-elected, the Coalition will provide $54 million to subsidise continuous glucose monitoring systems, which remove the need to draw blood through regular finger-pricks. This will be welcome relief for families who can’t afford the technology now. It’s difficult to imagine how stressful it would be to have to wake up a child to take blood. A goody.
Last week 7/11 dumped the independent panel tasked with investigating the systematic wage fraud discovered in their franchises. It was a move universally condemned by all parties and met with concern by the Fair Work Ombudsman.
In response, the Coalition announced that they would introduce higher penalties for companies who underpay workers.
With estimates that 7/11 staff were underpaid by more than $50 million, the proposed penalties will need to be very high to act as an effective deterrent. The Coalition also committed to the creation of new offences for parent companies who fail to deal with exploitation of workers conducted by franchisees.
Would you buy an electric car if you had five years’ of free rego? The Greens this week released an electric car policy which included this as an incentive for people to make the switch. The policy includes $151 million for the provision of up to 3500 charging stations around Australia, to be funded by an increase in the luxury car tax.
43 days to go.
In case you missed it, power posing.