Running late today: so three found treasures

1. Poor Tony Abbott

“Federal Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, has revealed that he feels “threatened” by homosexuality in an interview with current affairs program 60 Minutes.” — Tony Abbott "Threatened" By Gays.

Always felt he needed counselling…

2. Devious Tony Abbott?

“…the Opposition Leader has gone out of his way to paint the scheme as costly, when in fact the policies should actually save money because they are about achieving efficiency in healthcare…” — Private Cover Is Costing An Arm And A Leg.

Of course healthcare costs will rise in the future, but if we make savings now that rise will be less burdensome. Another political misrepresentation has been the claim by Shadow Minister Hockey that the policy "doesn’t add one single bed", as if this is a shortcoming. In fact, the Government’s intention is to make better use of existing hospital places, for Australia already over-uses hospital services.

And some of the confusion is based on a simple misunderstanding. We have been conditioned to expect governments to address healthcare problems by spending money — sometimes they spend public money and sometimes they try to lever private funds, as the Howard government did with private insurance — but as any economics student knows, when resources are fixed, more money does not bring forth more resources. Another million or billion dollars does not immediately create a new orthopaedic surgeon or a qualified nurse. Instead, extra funds fuel price inflation, which is one reason why medical and hospital costs have been rising at almost 4 per cent above general inflation. (This inflation is manifest both in public budgets and in private insurance premiums.)

Predictably, no state government has shown enthusiasm for the reform package, but it would be foolish for any state government to give an early endorsement when there is still a great amount of detail to be negotiated.

Put simply, the proposals, outlined in the Prime Minister’s Press Club Speech and detailed in this lengthy document are designed to improve the efficiency of hospital care and to integrate hospital care with other aspects of healthcare…

3. Digital natives

“Hi, I’m Abby and I love libraries and books and story time but I’m a digital native and I want an online library that learns what I like, that has lots of multimedia. I want everything to be quick and easy. I want to be able to add my own stuff and share other peoples stuff. I want to be able to do it all from my iPhone or my ebook reader. I want even more mashed up content, semantic tagging, real time information, augmented reality, geospatial tagging…”


Postkiwi Duncan Macleod.