pseudo swede blemishes the internet with her impure thoughts and so on.

sunnuntaina, lokakuuta 31, 2004

Tony Abbott wants your fetus!

That's right! What do you mean you think you'd like a say? Just because it is tucked in there amongst your vital organs, carrying half your genes and if it happens to grow into a child, you'll be the one having to feed, clothe and mother it doesn't make it your decision - No! according to our health minister, it should be up to him - or maybe his parliamentary secretary for Health, Christopher Pyne, or the Family First senator, or the head of Catholic Health Australia, Francis Sullivan, well, okay any overly sanctimonious man who happens to be a politician or a priest, anyone as long as it isn't the person in possession of the fetus...

Mr Abbott says he cannot rule out a change to the Government's position on funding abortions through Medicare in the next three years, though there are no current plans for change.

He says he does not like abortion "full stop" and has expressed concern that 75,000 abortions are funded through Medicare every year.

"Even the most determined pro-choice advocates these days seem to be rightly concerned," he said.

Now that John Howard has a majority in the Senate, it looks like one of his first "thank you" presents to the Assemblies of God ("Family Fist") party will be to stop those irresponsible women from making their own decisions when it comes to child-bearing. Obviously enough women (or approximately 46%) "trust" John Howard to run the government, but neither he nor Tony Abbott trust women to decide when they want to have children.

Funny that, how Abbott tells us that it is really the pro-choice advocates who want to limit women's access to free and safe abortion - I'm sure they've all just changed their minds and think it really would be better if male politicians / priests decided when women can and can't have children - but funnily enough, he doesn't name any of them...

torstaina, lokakuuta 21, 2004

put out tha WELCOME MAT!
Ooooh!! my very first little right wing audience member!! I am so excited!!

Thesplatguy <> came a-visiting and had a few little words to say about my rant on MBF / subsiding private health care:

That argument really doesn't stand up. I can definitely agree that the
US system is ugly. But the problem there is that there is no
subsidisation,except the blanket subsidisation of an ugly, ill-performing public
school system.

The ultimate aim of free marketeering would be to have no public schools
(except perhaps in remote areas where private schools would go broke) and
instead give people financial assistance to meet the fees: e.g., 95% if your
family earns less than $20,000 a year; 50% if your family earns $100,000; and
nothing if your family earns over $250,000.

The same is true of health care. Although for now MBF will make a large
profit, over time more firms will enter the market, improving service and>
reducing prices, while MBF's profit will hence be reduced. It just takes time.
People bitch about middle class use of private schools and private
hospitals, yet no left-wingers seem to bitch about rich people snuffling for
free at the trough of education and healthcare!

So, here is my sally in return:

My problem with that is that you end up funnelling huge amounts of public money into private providers (of education / health / whatever) with little or no accountability, and no upper limit on the subsidy (because it is based on a % amount). So you end up shelling out the same amount of public money or more, but the result is rapant inequality, and huge amounts of replication and inefficiency. I think education is one of the areas where there is huge market failure for a number of reasons:

1. nature of the product - sometimes, the better an education is, the less it pleases the "customer" - kids have to learn by making mistakes, being shown their mistakes, being challenged to do better, and having many of their presumptions tested out. Sometimes the value of this process isn't apparent to the "customer" until later. By making it a "market choice" product, you risk down-grading the education provided, so that it is more like entertainment / providing only popular skills.

2. nature of the customer - the person you are "servicing" (ie the child) isn't usually the person who is paying / making the market choice (ie it is generally the parent - sometimes also grandparents / other family). One of my big issues with the Liberal doctrine of "choice" in education is that kids don't get to choose their parents (and how wealthy / educated their parents are) and that kids very rarely get to choose which school they go to. And yet they are the ones who are affected by the "product"... The only way you can maximise the ability of children to make free choices to maximise their potential and talents, is by equipping them (equally and universally) with educational opportunity. By imposing parent's "choice" (and what is often, for poorer families, lack of choice) on the opportunities of children, you are cutting off real choice in the higher education / careers market, and limiting the potential for innovation.

I'm very happy for rich people to "snuffle at the trough" of public education and health, as long they pay their fair share of tax. Perhaps then they will be appalled by the poor facilities and will help with local fundraising efforts. At least then, they could help improve public education / health to an acceptable level, rather than shouting for more public money to fund their private school kids' "educational" tours of the Great Barrier Reef, and building rock-climbing walls...

keskiviikkona, lokakuuta 20, 2004

Expelling 12 and 13 year-old girls for what they are wearing - that sounds pretty fundamentalist to me.

Your tax dollars - subsidising inequality
Good to see a private health insurance company such as MBF making a record profit of over $100 million of the back of taking millions of dollars of government rebates... It does make me wonder, if private enterprise is so efficient, why it needs to be subsidised by government? Or at least, shouldn't government money be spent on fixing up the basics (eg ensuring there are enough public hospital beds) before handing over millions of dollars in middle-class welfare in the form of private health insurance subsidies? But then if you could get decent care in the public system, why would you go private?

Like with public education, to fulfil the Liberal wet-dream of a two-tiered society where rich people get the superior healthcare and education which they think they "deserve", it is essential to run down public services to a bare grubby minimum. It is neither efficient, nor fair - but it does take us a step towards a society like the US, where money can buy you a degree, or top notch health care, and where, equally, the lack of money buys you no chance at an education, and no health care. This is the ideology which has left 42 million people in the US without any health insurance, and therefore liable to being jailed for bankruptcy if they can't pay their hospital bills. It is the perfect recipe for intergenerational poverty, and for the social division which comes with it.

tiistaina, lokakuuta 19, 2004

Okay what is going ON?

Right, I think this requires a list:
1. work out how the hell to do this blogging business again. Oh how technology has moved beyond me in the few short months that I have been on my mysterious "secret mission"....

2. explain that i have been absent on a secret mission for some time and that i can't say anything about it except that that other persona of mine is rather exhausted...

3. express sadness / moaning about election debacle. (oh i know i'm sick of it too, but must be done) In a dada-ist mood inspired by the election, i decided to produce a piece of art by typing "confused lady" into the google image search engine. And the result, i think, really speaks for itself:

4. Gleefully (and more woefully) point to the long list of nasty things which John Howard will do with his Senate majority... Looks like Peter Costello is already salivating to get his teeth into the PBS and disability pensions - nice to see that in Liberal party logic, rich private schools deserve more money where as sick people and people with disabilities deserve less. [i would link in the AFR headline, but it is subscription only on the web hmph!] And here's $20 to say that before the next three years are up, the government will try and remove abortion from medicare...

4. suggest diversions from number 3 & 4. my favorite is this explanation of how to throw a Sesame Street party for a child who clearly doesn't care. Here is a woman who has devoted a good 6 months of her life to making fake lollipops and homemade colouring "crafts" to make an ostentatious display of her parenting / crafty skills... only to admit that her one-year-old child will probably not remember, let alone enjoy the event. Failing that, downloading a Sesame Street Ramadan colour-in may soothe. Actually the whole entire site is ace - apart from a comprehensive range of colour-in options that would make ">spiderman go wild - there are games involving the Snuffaluffagus and e-cards from oscar the grouch that say "go away".

5. coming soon (as soon as i work out how to do it...) a "family first" watch

6. strange dreams - these involved a minute loaf of bread wrapped up like a lolly but when I bit into it, I realised it was a "krispy kreme" - i can't believe they now do product placement in my dreams... also i dreamt my brother came home, but he was only 15 years old - but it was really good to see him - i missed him. he told me he couldn't see properly in cairns because he was homesick.

7. Cut-out-and keep!!! your very own wallet card from Fairwear to see which shops have and haven't signed onto the Ethical Clothing Code of Practice, which makes sure that the people who make your clothes get decent pay and conditions. I've tried asking shop assistants as i'm trying something on "like, have you guys signed onto one of those code of conduct thingies against sweatshop labour, like, has the company" and gained only blank looks, so maybe this time i can know what i'm talking about. Besides, anything which is cut-out-and keep must be applauded!

8. realise that i still can't count