Darth Howard

Posted: August 1, 2007 in Australia, News, Politics

palpatine004.jpgIn the Star Wars prequel films, as awful as they generally were, the villainous Darth Sidious created havoc and misery in order to impose his vision of peace and perfection. He caused war and over-ruled the Senate to get what he wanted, ending with himself in complete control of his new empire.

Today the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, announced that the Federal Government would be taking over control of a Hospital in northern Tasmania on what seems to be the the sole basis of they do not particularly like how it is being currently john_howard.gifbeing run.

Howard unveils hospital takeover

Prime Minister John Howard has unveiled his plan to directly bypass the Tasmanian Government and take direct responsibility for funding a hospital in the north of the state.Mr Howard received a hero’s welcome when he arrived at Latrobe’s Mersey Hospital to announce the takeover this morning.

Patients left their wards to greet the Prime Minister from the hospital balcony and a small crowd applauded as he announced the plan to fully fund the restoration of services at the Mersey.

Mr Howard announced that the controversial plan would cost Commonwealth up to $45 million a year.

Control of the hospital’s day-to-day operations will be handed to a trust made up of medical specialists and community members.

In June this year the State Government began winding down emergency services at the hospital, which is now operating only as a day surgery unit.

Mr Howard has denied the takeover is an attempt to shore up the marginal seat of Braddon, saying the Mersey is an obvious test case for the scheme.

“This is not something the Commonwealth has normally done in the past, but action was needed,” he said on a YouTube video.

“The Commonwealth’s true role in this case is one of direct intervention to help the local community.

“The Tasmanian government has announced plans to downgrade the existing hospital which has left the local community deeply unhappy.

“The Australian people are not especially concerned about theories of governance when it comes to the delivery of basic services.”

That last line is actually very interesting if you take a moment to figure out what is really being said.  From my perspective, it seems to be saying something along the lines of ‘To hell with due responsibilities given to governments by the democratic process, if we don’t like how something is being done then we’ll step in and do it ourselves. The people won’t care as long as we give them shiny things.

But then, this move should not be surprising at all.  Of late the Federal Government has been doing it’s best to impose it’s agenda on State issues on a regular basis, tying federal funding to really rather inane things.  For example, they attempted to modify Federal Education funding so that to get that funding, schools would need to raise the Australian Flag and sing the national anthem every morning.  Likewise, funding has recently been tied to national tests which all schools will be required to give to students.   As someone in the teaching profession I can safely say that both conditions are a complete and utter waste of time.

Anthem singing every day is a waste of time (all schools sing the anthem once a week, which really is plenty) and a flag raising ceremony would do nothing but bore the more students into some sort of comatose stupor.  Nationwide testing is simply ridiculous which does nothing but add stress to already badly overworked Teachers, disrupts the school time table in a devastating fashion and only ends up hopelessly misleading parents and the community with figures that completely fail to take into consideration all manner of vital factors (maybe more on the stupidity of such tests at a later date).

To tie this back to the opening paragraph; Howard has committed Australia to an unnecessary and really rather useless war, has over-ruled the democratically elected representatives of the people which leaves him in control of his own little Empire.   All with more to come, with talk zooming about regarding the Federal Government taking over more Health and Education state services in the very near future.

  1. Iain says:

    The whole point of the actions of the Fed’s was that the state Labor Government has been very slack indeed when it comes to the needs of the Merseyside community for adequate hospital services…
    The thing is the federal government is also democratically elected which rather destroys your line that they are acting against democratic principles by stepping on the toes of state governments.
    I wonder if you would have the same attitude to federal intervention when it comes to events in the past like the Hawke government stopping the Franklin dam? Ah but then it was a state coalition government and a federal Labor Government…

  2. Matt says:

    The state government was elected to run the health services, not the federal – that’s the whole point. The Federal Government is there to run certain services, the states run others and that distinction is quite clear. If the Federal Government is able to step in and take over any service it wants, whenever it wants … then what is the point of democratically electing state governments in the first place?

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