Courtesy of Piers Akerman/Daily Telegraph:
For more articles by Piers go to; http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/piersakerman/
By Piers Akerman –, Thursday, February, 21, 2013, (6:33am)
THE Prime Minister pro tem Julia Gillard has been forced to restore a $107 million cut to Victorian hospitals.
Typically, the Gillard government has lied about the action.
In doing so, the disgraceful Tanya Plibersek, one of Gillard’s kitchen coven of men-hating Emily’s Listers, has been further revealed as a failed Health Minister.
Both Gillard and Plibersek attempted to blame the Victorian Liberal government for the federal Labor-Green-Independent minority government’s stuff-up.
But the Victorian government has been supported in its claims that the Gillard government used outdated figures to justify its slashing of the hospital budget.
According to reports in The Herald-Sun, the architect of Medicare John Deeble slammed the federal government’s budget cuts and described the misuse of population figures to justify them as “contentious” and “extraordinary” in a submission to a Senate inquiry.
“They deliver cuts that should be spread over several years in just a single year,” he said.
Evidence to the same Senate inquiry which begins hearings in Melbourne today also shows the federal government ignored the advice of the Australian Bureau of Statistics when recalculating population growth.
Victorian Greens Senator Richard Di Natale said the backdown by the government came on the eve of a Senate inquiry forced by the Greens that would have embarrassed it.
“It appears that the government manipulated ABS data to justify the cuts,” he said.
Federal Opposition health spokesman Peter Dutton said the Gillard Government had been incompetent.
“Doctors and nurses have been put off and people contacted to have their elective surgeries cancelled,’’ Dutton said.
“Tanya Plibersek should be ashamed and should resign.’’
And pigs might fly.
Victorian Health Minister David Davis welcomed the return of the 2012-13 funding as a “first step”, but said he would push for ongoing cuts to be returned over the next three years.
“The Federal Government now needs to follow up and restore the full amount of $475 million,” he said.
Mr Davis said the cuts had crippled Victoria’s health system and it would take a long time for the impact to be reversed, even with the return of this year’s funding.
Gillard, who held a taxpayer-funded “community Cabinet” meeting in the South Australian Liberal seat of Boothby last night to promote the local Labor candidate, claimed her backdown would deliver what she called a “rescue package”.
This is clearly the new model for Labor spin.
Create a problem, then rip borrowed money out of other areas of government expenditure to apply a temporary fix.
What is a political game for Gillard and Plibersek is a chilling horror for those involved.
Hospitals in Victoria have announced plans to cut about 20,000 elective surgeries over the next four months, close 350 hospital beds, shut overnight emergency departments and axe staff.
The hospitals affected ranged from the Royal Children’s, The Alfred and Peter MacCallum to Bendigo, Colac and Lilydale.
The so-called fix will be paid for through the extraordinary step of ripping away other money earmarked for Victoria for occupational health and safety and will “count against” future projects.
Showing pure spite, Gillard accused Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu of running a “a disingenuous and purely political campaign”.
She said the state was to blame for the cuts because it managed the hospital system and despite receiving other federal money, it had decided to hurt patients.
But the funding cut was announced in Treasurer Wayne Swan’s Budget update in October and based on a complex formula and controversial population estimates that Victoria said were outdated.
Who do you believe? Not Gillard and Plibersek.