02 July 2010

Crikey on the government’s policy priorities

The introductory paragraphs in today’s edition of Crikey read as follows:

Deal done. On the issue that has captivated Canberra and chewed through forests of newsprint -- not to mention some $38 million in taxpayer-funded advertising to sell us a tax that the government has just significantly neutered -- Julia Gillard has her deal on mining profits. Crisis over.

Except if you are one of the millions -- yes, millions -- crippled by mental illness in this country. Your distress -- as life-long sufferer Andrew Robb details in today's Crikey -- goes largely untreated and unnoticed.

That's always been a problem with this government: it's never known which fights to pick.
It wasn't so much Health Minister Nicola Roxon's unfortunate slip in calling Tony Abbott's $1.5 billion mental health fund "crazy" that will rile carers and the sick. It was that anyone from the government had the gall to criticise the initiative at all -- let alone Roxon's instance it's "not credible" -- given the lack of attention mental health has received during Labor's nearly three-year reign.

As one health expert said yesterday: "We cannot understand why Nicola Roxon still has her head in the sand.''

The same goes for this entire government and its policy priorities.

Not much to disagree with there.

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