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Why the $7 co-payment is a bad idea

In last night’s budget, the Government announced a $7 co-payment for GP’s, as well as pathology, and a $5 co-contribution for medicines on the PBS. Now, $7 doesn’t seem like a lot, but the issue is, it’s not ever going to be $7.

Sometimes, a GP can’t get everything they need just by looking at you. They need to send you off to get some blood work done. So, what was a $7 visit, now becomes a $21 visit ($7 for the initial visit, $7 for the pathology, $7 for the results). If there is then medicine needed, that increases to a $26 visit. Continue reading Why the $7 co-payment is a bad idea

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An open letter to our new Prime Minister

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott (16)
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott (16) (Photo credit: Troy Constable Photography™)

Dear Mr Abbott,
Firstly, congratulations on being elected our latest national leader. You ran a very professional campaign, and defeated an opposition who was trying hard not to implode, whilst trying to destroy themselves at the same time.

So you are now the elected official to lead our country into the next three years. And while I didn’t personally vote for you, and I don’t agree with many of your policies, I thought that I would share some advice from myself, of things I would like to see as the hallmarks of your time as prime minister. Continue reading An open letter to our new Prime Minister

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An open letter to Tony Abbott

Dear Tony,

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott (16)
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott (16) (Photo credit: Troy Constable Photography™)

I realise that you’re in the midst of a very busy election campaign, however I feel like I need to bring some things to your attention that need your swift and decisive action.

Now I know you’re a man who likes to be portrayed as Australia’s next action hero, what with the bike riding, budgie smugglers, and running in the city 2 surf, so I’m sure you’ll be able to take the quick and decisive action needed on this issue.

The issue at hand is your language. Now, many will say that perhaps I’m overreacting, but as a voter who hasn’t completely made up his mind yet, I feel like you need to know this information.

Firstly, calling asylum seekers “illegals” is incorrect, you know this, and have been pulled up on it many times. Stop it.

Secondly, and probably the most important thing, please engage your brain before you open your mouth. I have to assume that you are, in fact, quite smart, or you wouldn’t have got as far in politics as you have. However, in recent days, your brain seems to have been on holiday when you’ve been making comments to the media.

For example, your “suppository of wisdom” comment. Now, I know you meant to say “repository” and everyone has little slips of the tongue now and then, but if we are too consider you to be a serious prime ministerial candidate, then we’re need to hold you to a higher level, otherwise we’ll end up with a George W. Bush style leader, whose gaffes are remembered more than what he actually did while in office.

Another example is saying that one of your female candidates has “sex appeal.” Tony, we live in a modern age, where women are seen to have the same opportunities as men, however there are many times when discriminatory remarks are made that while thought to put women up, they actually drag them down. Saying that a female has sex appeal says that we should vote for them based on looks, rather than any of the values that we would hold out male politicians to – hard work, telling the truth, fighting for the values we hold dear. It puts in a discriminatory wedge that devalues all female politicians. In order to get away with this, I have a brilliant idea. Before you make a comment about any female candidate, think, “would I say this about Joe Hockey?” If not, then keep it in your head.

You may think it petty, but your language is very important, as it shows what sort of prime minister you will be – one who builds up our great country, or one who drags it through the mud of derision and being the butt of all jokes for the next three years.

Yours sincerely,

Ben Clapton

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A call for a humane Asylum Seeker Policy

Still image from the documentary film "Wa...
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There’s lots of talk at the moment about Asylum Seekers, as both political parties released policies to “stop the boats” of asylum seekers, and how they are treated. Both of the policies include mandatory detention, locking up asylum seekers while their claims are processed.

While I can understand why this is necessary to ensure security, the method in which this is done has drawn criticism. Currently, refugees are sent to Christmas Island, to be held in a detention centre which is, in all senses of the word, a high security prison. The asylum seekers are kept here until their claim is approved, in which they get moved to the main land, or declined, in which case they are deported back to their homeland.
Where this plan is currently failing is that asylum seekers can be held in detention for months on end, in a high security prison, on an island where there is no fresh food available, with no guarantee upon when they will know whether they will get out of the centre – either into Australia or back home. Without that guarantee, they run into mental breakdowns, mental scarring that will affect the rest of their lives.

The craziest aspect of all of this is that the politicians believe this policy change will deter asylum seekers from coming to Australia via boat. However, our policy changes make absolutely no difference on what asylum seekers think, mainly because the news doesn’t get through to them, and conditions in their home country are so bad that anything – even detention in a high security prison are much more preferable.

The solution to this situation is to remove the politics from this issue, for the two major parties to sit down and develop a humane policy for asylum seekers that will treat them like human beings, while still being secure about who enters Australia.
The way I think this will look like is establishing a deadline by which a decision must be made on the status of an asylum seeker. While I would prefer that to be along the lines of 3 months, more likely it will be 6 months. If there are too many claims to be processed, then more workers should be employed to process these claims in the time required. Setting this time period will give asylum seekers the knowledge of when their claim will be processed by, and also ensure that detention centers do not get overcrowded.

Remove the politics. Insert humanity.

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