Labor is planning to abandon the Rudd-Gillard Government’s $57 billion hospital funding promise to the States and Territories, according to reports this morning, in a belated admission it was both unfunded and unaffordable.
In the ultimate act of hypocrisy, the Labor Opposition is reported to be traversing the country, begging State and Territory Governments to let them off the hook for their $57 billion funding black hole that even the ALP now clearly privately admits was nothing more than a pie in the sky promise.
“The Courier-Mail has been exclusively told that Bill Shorten’s team had been meeting Labor Treasurers to determine what health funding “they can live with”, signalling the Opposition will not meet a $57 billion shortfall.” – Courier Mail – Monday April 4 2016
This explains why Labor has been dodging questions for the past two years – they are simply trying to prolong their inevitable back down.
This is because Bill Shorten knows that while Labor can’t afford the Rudd-Gillard Government’s unfunded hospital promises to the States and Territories, Labor also can’t afford to be publicly seen to be offering them $1 less than $57 billion or his election scare campaign is dead in the water.
However, the cat is now out of the bag.
Today’s revelations clearly contradict claims by Labor Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek yesterday that every single dollar of Labor’s $57 billion hospitals black hole was actually “well and truly” fully funded, suggesting she has been excluded from Mr Shorten’s secret dealings.
JOURNALIST: “You’ve criticised the Prime Minister for not going ahead with the Gillard era promises on health. He makes the point that they were never properly funded.”
PLIBERSEK: “Well that’s just the first lie. I mean that is absolutely not the case, these have always been funded commitments.” - Press Conference – Sunday April 3 2016
The real question of course is whether ‘tough talking’ Labor State Premiers are willing to risk the political embarrassment of being forced by Federal Labor bosses to back down from their demands for every single dollar of $57 billion to be paid in full.
If they do, it will prove their criticisms and scare-mongering have been nothing but hollow political rhetoric.
The Turnbull Government has shown clear leadership by signing a sensible, affordable and deliverable hospital-funding agreement with the States and Territories that will deliver them about $2.9 billion over the next three years.
It’s time now Mr Shorten, his Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen and his Shadow Health Spokesperson Catherine King came clean to Australians about their latest secret backroom dealings to save face and sell-out.