9 January 2024

Labor has been in office long enough now to stop blaming the last mob

| Chris Johnson
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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese

Anthony Albanese’s government continues to blame the Coalition for the nation’s woes. Photo: Screenshot.

Labor has now been in power federally for 18 months and we have a new year ahead.

So, is it too much to ask that all the problems and difficulties facing the nation are not continuously and endlessly blamed on the former government?

There is hardly a public statement, media appearance or press release issued at the moment without a government minister declaring they are still trying to undo the mess the Coalition got the country into.

It’s not new. It’s been happening since Labor won the election in May 2022.

It was understandable for a few months – six months, maybe – but it’s now more than a year-and-a-half that Labor has been in office and the excuses are wearing thin.

Sure, there have been a number of doozies the former Coalition government inflicted on Australians (Robodebt, anyone?), and yes, it is a well-worn ploy used by all sides of politics to cop out by pointing the finger at the ‘previous lot’.

READ ALSO Businesses on notice as government prioritises closing the gender pay gap

The Morrison government is an easy target. It was often mean and nasty and more than a little embarrassing.

That’s a broad generalisation, sure, but it’s hard to overstate how out of touch Scott Morrison was on so many issues.

But guess what? Those issues are not the Coalition’s problems anymore.

Is it not time for the ALP to take ownership of them all, good and bad, without hiding behind the false security of the past?

Take this week, for example. In fact, just yesterday (8 January).

An independent report from online healthcare directory Cleanbill shows a disturbing trend that bulk billing is collapsing in every state and territory.

Cleanbill’s Blue Report states that fewer than one in four Australian GP clinics currently offer bulk billing to all adults through Medicare, which has fallen by more than 11 percentage points on a clinic-by-clinic basis in the last year.

A total of 514 clinics that bulk billed all patients at the start of 2023 had stopped by November.

More than 75 per cent of clinics today do not offer bulk billing to adults, leaving patients with an average out-of-pocket cost in excess of $40.

That’s pretty much how it is across all of Australia.

“The trend it outlines is catastrophic,” the report declares.

Of course, the Federal Opposition jumped on this.

READ MORE GP bulk-billing continues to slide, survey finds

Shadow health minister Anne Ruston blames it on the government.

“Since Labor came into government, bulk billing rates have dropped consecutively every single month, with the latest quarterly data showing rates have plummeted to the lowest levels in over a decade,” Senator Ruston said.

“This government was elected with a promise to ‘strengthen Medicare’, yet all of the data is steamrolling in the opposite direction.

“This is a seriously concerning trend that Australians just cannot afford. Not only is it pushing up out-of-pocket expenses for families, but we also know that a weakened primary care system only increases the pressure on our overburdened hospitals.”

That’s a free shot for the opposition and Ruston was right on target.

That’s what oppositions do and they can comfortably get away with it.

There is no responsibility in opposition.

The government’s response? Blame it on the last government.

Health Minister Mark Butler told news outlets it was the Coalition’s fault that Australians have reduced access to bulk-billing doctors.

“A decade of cuts and neglect” is how he described it.

But the government can’t get away with those tactics as easily as the opposition can. That’s because all responsibility lies with the government.

Medicare is just one example.

When more Australians are finding they have tax bills rather than returns for the past financial year, they’re not blaming Scott Morrison – but Anthony Albanese and Jim Chalmers are.

When people can’t access Centrelink services, they’re not cursing the former government.

Katy Gallagher weakens almost every good initiative she announces by formulaically adding that the Albanese Government is cleaning up the Coalition’s mess.

All Labor ministers are saying the same thing.

But the former government is yesterday’s (yesteryear’s) news.

One day, this government will be old news, too, so why not leave a legacy of ownership rather than petty blame-shifting?

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Look up General Norman Schwazkopf’s quote about Saddam Hussein, remove anything to do with military, insert Anthony Albanese and it nails him down to a tee: https://www.azquotes.com/quote/263102

Here’s my take: As far as Anthony Albanese being a great political strategist, he is neither a strategist, nor is he schooled in the art of governance, nor is he a thinker nor is he a leader. Other than that, he’s a good Labor man, I want you to know that.

GrumpyGrandpa10:56 pm 09 Jan 24

At every election, we vote in a party to undo the mess the previous government caused.
At the next election, we do the same thing.

Whilst there’s no doubt that we can blame the Coalition for many problems, it’s time to focus on the future and stop whingeing. Let’s start by getting rid of the stage 3 tax cuts, but first Albanese will have to take responsibility for doing so, or he’ll have to be replaced with a more dynamic leader who will do what needs to be done. He never should have agreed to these tax cuts, but was so keen to become PM that he’d agree to anything. He’s lost his credibility. Let’s move ahead.

Disagree, how about the middle class get a tax break, we are the ones that seem to be funding everything

William Newby9:44 pm 09 Jan 24

I can’t point my finger to a single successful item that Labor has delivered yet.
Scott Morrison was a complete slug of a PM but Albo has been even worse, why do we attract such duds to our local and Federal politics?

Labor, good for welfare recipients, immigrants, minority groups , losers, there policy is spend. spend. Worry about the cost later, look at NDIS what a joke

@William Newby
Given your propensity for half truths when it comes to the government’s delivery on its promises, your failure to identify “a single successful item that Labor has delivered yet” is hardly surprising.

Perhaps this link (https://www.abc.net.au/news/factcheck/promisetracker) will help you point your finger in the right direction.

The current government has lined the pockets of Airbus for frequent maintenance of its aircraft fleet. I guess that is something

HiddenDragon7:50 pm 09 Jan 24

All new governments do this, and they typically do it for far longer than is politically wise and/or justified by the facts.

It’s part of the tedious game of politics, the appeal and entertainment value of which always seems so much greater for the participants than for those who are observing, enduring and paying for it, something I was reminded of last week when I heard Keir Starmer, the British Labour leader, talking about “the shrug”, which is explained in this speech –


If they’re really smart, British Labour won’t just (as seems to be the case) draw on the strategies and policies which the ALP utilised to get themselves into power, they will also be looking at why the ALP government has so quickly found itself on the receiving end of “the shrug”.

“All new governments do this, and they typically do it for far longer than is politically wise and/or justified by the facts.”
Absolutely agree.
… and it will be very interesting to see the outcome of the UK general election – thanks for the link to Stamer’s speech.

At the election, the Albanese government said they would take responsibility and not blame. It appears that they have the ‘not’ in the wrong spot. The continue to take ‘No Responsibility’ and pass ‘Blame’. It’s time for action and leave the stories to the ‘Children’s TV Shows’.

Article makes good point. Unfortunately the government is treating us all like mugs. Rather than looking for gotcha moments about the past, could they please provide direction to resolve current issues and ensure a better future for all.

18 months? Try 10 years if not more, what an apalling government. When my internet doesn’t slow down due to rain filling up the ancient telecommunication pits full of copper wire that should have long been retired maybe then will I forget.

This Albanese government is by far the worst government our country has had in my 60 years on this planet. He has zero leadership skills and hasn’t got a clue how to.move us forward with prosperity. Blaming the last govt constantly won’t fix any problems. Maybe you should go on another overseas trip Albo or promise us more cost of living relief without actually delivering a thing. We can only hope that you and your incompetent cabinet get relegated to political oblivion next year.

The ALP Whitlam Government was incompetent but the Albanese ALP Government so far has surpassed in spades the Whitlams’ governments ineptitude. Failed election promises on everything from energy to cost of living. Then we get to taxing policy they have hit superannuation, payee tax, company tax fringe benefit tax. Then the sneaky attacks on democracy itself the failed indigenous Voice, the misinformation/disinformation bill that they will again introduce in 2024. Lastly opening up the Visa process so illegals now just have to arrive by plane and claim asylum (2,000/month at last count). Ta

so, the LNP blaming Labor for the previous nine years was acceptable? Do you realise that, there are still issues left by the LNp being found, nearly 19 months later? The LNP gutted billions out of Medicare, something that Labor can’t fix quickly, especially with the other billions cut from Healthcare in general. Does a $Trillion debt ring a bell? Plus it’s not just the damage done to Australia overall by the previous Govt. that Labor has to fix, there’s still a lot of damage left over from the Howard years, that wasn’t rectified due to either “Global Financial Meltdown” or, just how entrenched the damage was made.

Strange that whilst the LNP were apparently gutting “billions out of health”, government spending on health increased both in real terms and as a proportion of GDP whilst they were in office.

Almost sounds like a made up excuse to continue blaming someone else for the current government’s responsibilities.

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