Category Archives: Vested Interests

How inefficient private health insurance, drug manufacturers and distributors drive up costs.

In parliament, forty years ago on 27 September 1967, Gough Whitlam described the factors driving up the high cost of healthcare in Australia. The same vested interests drive up costs in Australia at the expense of the taxpayer and the … Continue reading

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MICHAEL SAINSBURY. Packer kowtows after cash cow slough, Macau Crown row.

James Packer’s ignominious retreat from his once-lauded international strategy is continuing apace as 17 staff from Crown Resorts, the company he controls with 48% of its stock, continue to languish in Chinese detention centres.

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HAZEL MOIR. Evergreening of patents and the cost of pharmaceuticals.

A low standard for granting patents can mean lengthy delays generic medicine availability. In one case this is shown to have cost taxpayers almost $A3 billion extra in Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme outlays. A solution is to grant patents only for … Continue reading

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ROSS GARNAUT. Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. Part 2.

The Challenge of Globalisation. This is the second of a two-part series of extracts from an address which Professor Ross Garnaut gave to the Sydney Democracy Network, University of Sydney, 7 September 2016.  The full text of his address can be … Continue reading

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BRUCE ARNOLD. Testing the body politic? Lobbying by the pathology industry.

  Pathology testing in Australia is big business, getting bigger as the population ages and we rely on high-tech medicine for intractable ailments. Advocacy by commercial interests and government pathology service providers shapes public policy. It potentially affects elections rather … Continue reading

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STEPHEN DUCKETT. Blood money: pathology cuts can reduce spending without compromising health

In the coming weeks I will be posting articles on the high costs and corporate nature of pathology in Australian. The following article by Stephen Duckett in The Conversation, even though posted in February this year, helps set the scene. … Continue reading

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MARK BEESON. Crown: the trials of a tributary state.

Of all the indicators of Australia’s evolving relationship with China, Crown Casino’s current problems are some of the most striking, unexpected and revealing. They present an unflattering but painfully accurate vignette of this country’s increasingly dependent relationship with the People’s … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Dental Care – Medicare – Private Health Insurance.

  Funding a Medicare dental scheme instead of the subsidy to PHI.  The PHI subsidy of over $10 billion p.a. would be much better spent on a Medicare dental scheme. In the following article Jennifer Doggett in Croakey, reports that … Continue reading

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GRAEME ORR. Party Over? Reforming Australian Political Finance

  After decades of halting debate, the momentum for political finance reform has never been greater.   At a national level, this comes off a low base. Australia has the laxest political finance system of all our common law cousins: Canada, … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. ‘Faster economic growth demands better chief executives’.

  There was a revealing heading in a recent article by Ross Gittins, the economics editor of the SMH, ‘Faster growth demands better chief executives’. He concluded his article by pointing to the need for business leadership to seize the … Continue reading

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The creeping Americanisation of Australian healthcare.

In this blog, I have repeatedly posted articles about the threat to Medicare in the $11 billion pa. subsidy which the Australian government provides to support private health insurance companies in Australia. We are sleep walking into the destruction of … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. The new compradors in the China Australia relationship.

  In this blog on 14 October last year I wrote. Compradors are sometimes described as those who help a foreign country exploit their own. I was reminded of this when I read that the ALP Caucus had compromised its … Continue reading

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MARIAN SAWER. Democracy for sale?

    Since the 1980s Australia has become known for its laissez-faire or lackadaisical attitude to the role of money in politics. At the federal level Australia introduced public funding for political parties to reduce reliance on private donations, but … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Medicare, Private Health Insurance and the ALP

In my article, ‘Down a different path in Melbourne: how Medibank was conceived’ written in 2000 for the Medical Journal of Australia (see link below), I described the history from 1967 to 1975 which led to Medibank/Medicare.  In that article, … Continue reading

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WALTER HAMILTON. Minamata Remembered

  This year is the sixtieth anniversary of the methyl mercury poisoning in Japan that caused ‘Minamata Disease’. Shocking images of victims captured by the American photographer W. Eugene Smith (his Tomoko Uemura in Her Bath perhaps the best known) … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Medicare – the Labor Party does not understand its own creation.

  It is claimed that at the last Federal election, the Coalition lost support because it was going to undermine Medicare. In fact, at the last election, the ALP was proposing to do more to undermine Medicare than the Coalition. … Continue reading

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ROBERT REICH: Why a Single-Payer Healthcare System is Inevitable

Private markets for health insurance pose a structural problem, and Obamacare can’t fix it.

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GREG BAILEY. Populist Limitations on the role of the IPA in the New LNP government

  On July 2 the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) had at least two of its members elected to parliament in the Double Dissolution, James Pattison and Tim Wilson and that Senators Bob Day and David Leyonhjelm, at times members … Continue reading

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RICHARD BROINOWSKI. Merchants of Death – the Weapons Trade

  According to Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick in The Untold History of the United States (2012), North Dakota Senator Gerald Nye persuaded the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1934 to investigate the enormous profits made by American weapons makers … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. Health care and Labor.

  In the recent election Labor had fine words on health care – “Labor will ensure that access to health care is determined by your Medicare card, and not your credit card” – but in reality its policy proposals, if … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Democratic renewal.

Vested interests and the subversion of the public interest. There are many key public issues that we must address such as climate change, growing inequality, tax avoidance, budget repair, an ageing population, lifting our productivity and our treatment of asylum … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. Problems of Private Health Insurance.

The PHI industry continues to make two invalid assumptions about private health care.  The first is that governments are intrinsically high cost and bureaucratic and that the private sector is unquestionably more efficient. This is patently not true. The least … Continue reading

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STEVE GEORGAKIS. Sport is only sport if you participate; otherwise it is a spectacle

  The highpoint of sport occurred more than 2,000 years ago when the ancient Greeks established an education system which placed a significant emphasis on the playing of sport and in particular the educational value of participation in sport. The … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Is war in the American DNA?

  In his book ‘Dangerous Allies’ Malcolm Fraser warned us how we can be drawn into US conflicts that are of no immediate concern to us. We have seen that in recent decades in following the US into wars in … Continue reading

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KATHY CHAPMAN & BRIDGET KELLY. Unhealthy sport sponsorship continues to target kids.

In the final month of the countdown to the Olympic Games, our sports stars are probably not eating and drinking the Games sponsors’ foods. Again, as in previous Olympics, the Olympic Games sponsors are Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Cadburys, whose foods … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Privatisation of Medicare has been underway for years.

In this blog before the election, I highlighted the risks to Medicare in many posts.  See links below: John Menadue. Privatisation and the hollowing out of Medicare. David Pope. Medicare – Eaten out from within. Ian McAuley. Bill Shorten is … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Saving Medicare.

  In an earlier article in this blog, I outlined how Medicare is under threat but not for the reasons outlined by Bill Shorten. The threat is the erosion of Medicare from within by the power of vested interests and … Continue reading

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JOHN AUSTEN. Road spending incurs billion dollar new debts annually – nobody notices

It’s traditional that election time in Canberra brings out the road lobbies who ask for ‘all that extra cash’ which governments raise from fuel excise to be ‘put back into our roads’. The problem is that the facts no longer … Continue reading

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JOHN AUSTEN. Infrastructure summit – reported highlights

Is there such a thing as bad or wasteful infrastructure or is it like motherhood, all noble and good?

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STEPHEN LEEDER. Looking forward to a national health policy and not ignoring the community.

  Health policies presented as part of the election campaign should address our expectations for prompt, courteous and effective high-quality care when we need it and not be a random collection of thought balloons – from a child’s birthday? – … Continue reading

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