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Wednesday, 2 March 2011
Page: 987


Senator EGGLESTON (4:44 PM) —We are here today to debate the broken promises of Prime Minister Gillard from the last election campaign. Let us first of all look at what the Prime Minister made in the way of commitments to the Australian people and whether she is honouring her election promises. In an interview with Jon Faine in March 2009, she said:

If the reputation of this government is that we are stubborn in the delivery of our election promises, that we are stubborn in keeping our word to the Australian people, then I’ll take that. I’ll take it as a badge of honour.

She also said:

We’re always there delivering our election promises. That’s important to us. And we’re always there acting in the national interest.

That on 16 June 2009.

Let us now have a look at how well that grand commitment has been kept. First of all, what did Julia Gillard and Labor used to say about a carbon tax? They said on the eve of the election that there would never be a carbon tax. And what happened? Just recently—in fact, last Thursday afternoon—the promise made by Prime Minister Gillard on 20 August 2010, which was, ‘I rule out a carbon tax,’ was broken when she announced that there would be a carbon tax.

What about the education revolution? There was the Building the Education Revolution. During the 2010 campaign, the Prime Minister promised that she would publish all costings as per the recommendations of the Orgill taskforce’s interim report. Has this been done? The answer is no. Nothing at all about the costings of the Building the Education Revolution program has seen the light of day publicly.

Putting aside the broken promises on the carbon tax and on the Building the Education Revolution, I would like to focus on the Prime Minister’s broken promises on health reform. In 2007, Kevin Rudd said that he would fix the hospitals by 2009 or take them over. We know that that did not happen. In fact, Mr Rudd said in 2010 that hospitals should be locally run and nationally funded. Now it emerges that they will be neither under the jurisdiction of Prime Minister Gillard. Under Gillard’s deal with the states, the federal government will not be paying 50 per cent of the cost of all hospital services, which is what they promised and implied that they would do. The government’s promise only relates to growth, not to existing hospital costs. The Commonwealth will in fact offer to pay 45 per cent of the growth costs in the 2014 year and up to 50 per cent in 2017-18, a far cry indeed, you would agree, from the financial takeover promised by Labor in 2007. In fact, it will be 10 long years between the time that Kevin Rudd first announced that Labor was going to fix our public hospitals before this so-called 50 per cent funding will flow in 2017. That is 10 wasted years for patients, doctors and nurses around this country. Once again in this area of health, Labor has overpromised and failed to deliver.

The National Funding Authority that was lauded as the centrepiece of accountability and transparency under COAG agreement mark 1, was unceremoniously dumped within weeks of that last COAG health agreement, with the health minister arguing that it was not appropriate to have a second funding authority. The whole history of the Rudd-Gillard government has been a litany of broken promises and unreal expectations that have proved undeliverable. This government has an unblemished record, almost, of misleading the Australian people and not delivering on what they said that they would deliver.