And politicians wonder why we don't trust them....
Let's say that you or I made someone an "absolutely rock-solid ironclad commitment[s]", to deliver something such as the election pledge by the Health Minister, Tony Abbott, to maintain the Medicare safety net. And then that person accepts our offer and gives us something as consideration, (like a vote!) in return, but we fail to deliver on our promise, what would happen?
We would be carted of to court and sued for breach of contract, that's what. Especially when the terms of the contract where delivered with such a clear guarantee.
Given the circumstance of the projected expediture blow-out the policy needed to be tweaked. And this isn't the first time that politician has been caught saying and doing anything to get elected, and then once in power changing their mind. And why wouldn't they? There is no form of recourse for us until the next election (still three and a half years away), so they can do what they like. Of course it sucks, it is wrong, and is totally inconsistent with what would happen to you or I if we behaved the same way in our business dealings. But that is the way it it.
As an aside thought, I reakon the whole Safety Net idea was poor policy to begin with, but not one to be defeated easily, Tresurer Peter Costello had this to say on AM during the week:
STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Older Australians are high users of the Medicare Safety Net, and that is obviously blowing out from around $440 million to $1 billion. Hasn't the government completely miscalculated the cost of the Medicare Safety Net?
PETER COSTELLO: No we haven't. We've actually put down in our estimates reasonable anticipation of those costs. But since you're on the question, let me remind you of this. With the population aging, with the draw down on services four times higher for over 65s, the policy that was put forward at the last election, the so called Medicare Gold policy – free health care – must have been the most irresponsible policy ever announced in Australian history. Fortunately nobody ever had to hang around to see its implementation.
STEPHANIE KENNEDY: But Labor also said at the time that the Medicare Safety Net would blow out to around $1 billion and it has done. What will you do to rein it in?
PETER COSTELLO: Well, as I've said now, in the last three questions, the answer in Australia is to get our health services on to a sustainable basis.
In other words, if you think this is bad policy, you should have seen Labor’s.
Nothing though on how the doctored Medicare Safety Net will still cost twice the original estimate. Nothing on how the clumsy idea of a Safety Net wouldn’t even be needed if Medicare worked properly – or if levels of bulk billing were maintained.
But like I said. Stiff.