A little over a month ago, a friend forwarded an article from The Age which inspired the following rant (you might want to read the article first… to get an idea of what I’m ranting about).
It’s an interesting article and the issues it addresses do p*ss me off… however, I believe some of the arguments presented are fundamentally flawed.
While it’s clear that the Howard government is doing everything in it’s
power to destroy Medicare and public schooling, I’m not too sure that the
reason for it is “social status”. I think it’s more a case of him looking
after his own i.e. the well to do. He couldn’t care less if the general
population improve their social status, in fact, he’d probably prefer that
they didn’t and his policies go part way to ensuring they don’t improve
their position in life. The changes to Medicare and public schooling are
further example of how the Liberals like to steal from the poor to give to
The changes, while encouraging people to take out private health insurance
and send their kids to private school, do not do so because of a perceived
improvement in social status, but rather because of the drastically poorer
quality of services available to them if they do not do so. The government
pumps so much money into subsidising the health insurance industry (via 30%
rebate), and pumps money into private schools and an ever greater rate, that
the public hospitals and schools are under funded and as a result the
quality of these services suffers. Health and education aren’t things
people want to sacrifice and as a result people that can afford to do so are
forced to go the way of private health insurance and private education so
that they’re not left further behind.
If, instead of subsidising private health insurance and private schools, the
government subsidised the PUBLIC system better, less people would feel the
need to move to the private systems. I’ve got private health insurance and
send [my daughter] to a “private” (catholic) school, I do so because the public
system isn’t adequately funded and don’t provide the service one expects
from systems as important as health and education. If I didn’t take out
private insurance, I’d probably still be waiting for my knee reconstruction
(there was a 3-5 year waiting list) and [my daughter] would be in a school that
had inadequate resources (we looked at the local government schools).
I could care less about my “social status” but I do care about my familles
health and I want to see my kids get a proper education… that’s what is
important to me, and the thousands of other people that have moved to the
private systems because the alternative are no longer appropriately funded
to deliver a service that we expect. Are our expectations too high? I
wouldn’t have though wanting a ruptured ACL in ones knee fixed soon, or
having a few computers in your child’s classroom to be too high, but
obviously the Howard government thinks it’s too high an expectation for
anyone to have of a government funded service.
Enough ranting from me.