Shorten looks Left
What was Malcolm to do? Wait for the end of days to have any deficit reduction measures accepted by a recalcitrant Senate? That would be pointless. Instead, he trumped Shorten on NDIS, making good on the allegation that Labor had legislated the NDIS, but never funded it. And he trumped Shorten on the other great Labor lie: that Gonski was funded, and fair. Gonski, as negotiated in government by Gillard and Shorten, was patently unfunded and unfair. There were more carve-outs than a Sunday roast, and most of the juicy slices went to the Catholic sector.
So, Malcolm called their bluff. In doing so, he pushes Shorten way to the Left. This is dangerous territory if you want to be Australia’s PM. Remember, Kevin Rudd pretended to be economically responsible in the 2007 election. Shorten will make the same pitch. The less credible he is, the more difficult the pitch will be. Sure, the Liberals have had to abandon return to surplus in the near term, but big party politics is about positioning, and Malcolm had to shift Left to shove Shorten out.
Medicare: not so universal after all
Malcolm proposes a further half of one per cent levy to part-fund the NDIS. Shorten, now moving further to the Left, opposes the further levy on those who earn less than $87,000 per year. Labor loves Medicare. And, Labor loves a good Mediscare, herding voters into the fold to defend their ‘universal’ scheme. But, when it comes to paying the bills, it excuses almost half the country. Almost half the country does not pay for the much-lauded universal health insurance system. Medicare, Labor’s baby; Labor’s tribute to socialism; Labor’s tribute to caring for all is only paid for by around every second Australian.
The Medicare extra 0.5 per cent levy announced in the budget, to pay for some of the NDIS that Labor forgot to fund, should apply to all. Well, all that is except those who do not pay the current levy. But Labor wants to exempt everyone who earns less than $87,000 per year. Medicare is becoming less universal by the day. The Liberals need to point out, in real dollars, who are paying the bills and how much.
In terms of total income tax paid, those on less than $40,000 (depending on family circumstances) pay nothing, in net terms. Those on $40,000 pay $4,500 tax per year. Those on $60,000 pay $11,000 tax per year. Those on $500,000 pay $200,000 tax per year. When you quote in dollars it is clear the rich pay more, a heck of a lot more than the middle, and the poor pay nothing.
But Labor regards the rich person’s income as theirs to do with as they please. The Liberals have to reclaim the tax debate. A flat rate of tax claims more dollars from the rich than the poor. A progressive rate claims much more from the rich than the poor. I am comfortable with a degree of progress in the tax system, but Shorten has now gone feral and wants to retain the temporary deficit levy on the wealthy and, in addition, only apply the extra Medicare levy to those earning more than $87,000.
Catholic old boys pulling your leg
Shorten will be backing the good Old Catholic boys on school funding. Catholic old boys, writing in the media following the Gonski 2.0 funding announcement, are pulling your leg. This is not opening the state aid debate. But it is killing off Labor’s outrageous bribe to the Catholic bishops. The bishops should be ashamed, screwing the taxpayer blind.
The bishops and the bureaucrats are cherry-picking the examples they are using in their campaign against the government. For example, and using Peter Goss’s figures, the Victorian schools highlighted in recent campaigning are in the top two per cent of all schools. They are completely unrepresentative of Catholic schools.
In effect, in the Victorian examples, the Catholic Education System is asking Catholic school families in Broadmeadows to fight to keep fees low in Camberwell. What ever happened to charity?
Goss compares two groups of schools. The Catholic campaign features eight Catholic primary schools in Victoria. These are the ‘leafy green’ schools.
And 11 Catholic primary schools that appear on the Catholic’s school-finder website in and around Broadmeadows Catholic Education Melbourne – the ‘Broadmeadows’ schools. The leafy green schools are dramatically more advantaged than the Broadmeadows schools, but their fees are only $1,000 higher per student. Total net recurrent funding for the Broadmeadows schools was only 4 per cent higher per student in 2015 than in the leafy green schools. This data raises serious questions about how Catholics allocate public funds.
This comparison is made even starker by comparing St Dominic’s in Camberwell East versus St Dominic’s in Broadmeadows. St Dominic’s in Broadmeadows stands to gain nearly $11,000 per student over the next decade if the Catholic system passes the Commonwealth funding straight through.
Goss found that if the Catholic system sent funds straight to schools the leafy green schools would lose 42 per cent of their funding in nominal terms, but the Broadmeadows schools would gain 78 per cent. Why does the government allow taxpayer funds to be subverted by warped Catholic priorities?
The federal government should send the money to each parent in a voucher and cut out the Catholic bureaucrats. Full marks to the Turnbull government and Simon Birmingham for Gonski 2.0, but why let the Catholics, or the Independents or, indeed, state government bureaucrats play god? You have a formula, let it work. Give the money to the parents.
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