Who's to blame on health, and what does it mean?

Queenslanders are not happy with their public hospital system, and they're not happy with Premier Peter Beattie, but that doesn't mean they are satisfied with the Opposition either. While our research suggests that Beattie would lose an election held next weekend, he is improving his position and no-one should assume that he will lose an election held in a year's time. 62% think the hospital system is heading in the wrong direction. This makes 57% of voters less likely to vote for Peter Beattie. But at the same time 42% of them are less likely to vote Liberal and 36% less likely to vote National. The reason for this reaction against all three parties, but particularly Labor and Liberal, appears to be that voters blame the state and federal governments more or less equally for the mess. The National Party attract less criticism. Perhaps Barnaby Joyce has helped them distance themselves from the Liberals. The main points that we made in our on-air analysis are:

  • Peter Beattie is in trouble in this area, but it is not necessarily terminal because of weaknesses on the issue from the Federal Liberal Party.
  • If an election were to be held next weekend Beattie would be cactus with a first preference vote of 29% versus a combined Coalition vote of 39%.
  • Beattie has lost one-third of those who voted for him last time, although the Labor vote has not slumped that much because other voters have come to him, particularly from the Greens and Liberals.
  • The National Party is picking up votes from the Liberals. This is probably part of the Queensland effect, where the National Party always does better at state elections than most polls suggest. The other thing that is happening - see later - is that much of the blame for the health problem is being given to the Liberals, courtesy of John Howard. There is possibly a Barnaby Joyce effect here as well, allowing the Nats to distance themselves from the Libs.
  • An overwhelming percentage of voters think that health is heading in the wrong direction. 62% agree with the proposition, and only 26% disagree, a net -37%. Only group that thinks that things are OK on balance are Labor voters, but even then the result is a net 4%.
  • The issue is damaging Beattie. 57% of voters are less likely to vote for him as a result of this.
  • But, it isn't necessarily positive for the other parties. 36% are less likely to vote National, and 42% less likely to vote Liberal.
  • Beattie's ten-point plan is a small positive. 24% think it will help while 49% disagree, but this is better than the position on health where 26% think health is heading in the right direction, but 62% disagree. He'll need a lot more to fix the issue.
  • Voters who have changed from Labor to Coalition cite the lack of funding, mismanagement, lack of planning and too much bureaucratic control as the reasons the system is in trouble.
  • Quotes on why the system is in trouble are:
    "The problem is not being addressed - simply creating distractions from the main game and not having the gumption to roll some heads in the department." "The hospitals in Qld are getting worse, not better. Beattie obviously hasn't got the money to fix it, and doesn't trust his Minister either, who looks a bit of a buffoon. And Beattie and co are insulting us with that awful faux pas of yellow ribbon-wearing." "It used to provide a response to people in need .. now it is run to suit politicians (ie reducing costs and public relations when suddenly there is a need created to spend more). Doctors have almost no say and patients and the public no say at all. Bring in/back the local health committee (and similar in schools and road safety) so that the politicians and bureaucrats actions can be discovered and critiqued in the public realm.N/A"
  • When it comes to who is to blame, Peter Beattie gets the personal blame, but the Federal Government probably gets more of the blame than the State Government, explaining why the Liberals aren't doing better out of this issue.
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0 #21 CommentMargaret McKenzie 2006-04-05 02:14
I find the comments interesting but fail to understand why the Federal Gov is getting as much blame as the Beattie Gov regarding health issues in Qld. I understood that the GST had given the states a huge amount of money that was to be used for health - where has it gone? The problem as I see it is the fact that QH is top heavy with bureaucrats and they are not up to the task of operating the hospitals without some medicos having an input.

I also take exception to people saying that they are "ashamed to be Australian". Personally I would never be ashamed to be Australian. I may be ashamed of the actions of some sections of the community and also some of the decisions our government makes but I love being Australian and this is the best country in the world to live in.
0 #22 CommentPeter 2006-05-02 05:05
If the opposition keeps on getting doctors to get into politics we are only have a part time doctors and part time members the only winners are the doc come pollie getting two high wages
0 #23 CommentFrank Blunt 2008-05-19 08:45
Who was the dilbert who thought up the idea of allowing people to go to a public pospital and come away without an account. It's a recipe for bankrupting the country.

If you're uninsured you get fixed up for free. Hello!

What next - make Woollies and Harvey Norman's free?

The best thing the governments of Australia can do is privatise the hospitals and leave them to the medical industry to run - unprotected. Then we'd see just how smart they are!

Give everybody an account. If people are uninsured or can't afford to pay, put them on a scheme similar to HECCS.

Who is the dilbert that doesn't allow health insurance firms to rate premiums against risk. There's no incentive for people to keep themseleves fit and healthy. It punished the innocent and rewards the guilty.

Health insurance won't work until it's a compulsory, first party insurance rated against risk. That'd smarten a few people up! If it's good enough to require people to take out third party motor insurance it's good enough to require them to take out 1st party health insurance - or go on the medical equivalent of a HECCS scheme.

The bughers of Collingwood and Brunswick would be mightily aggreived if they ever discovered that the money that went out of their pockets when tarrifs were reduced on FCT ended up in the pockets of the doctors in Toorak.

Protection of the medical industry has created a bloated and largely ineffective industry. Ineffective? You know it's ineffective because the health of Australians is getting worse. Prescribing pills to mask symptoms is just another form of junk medicine.

By and large the Commonwealth Department of Health is just a welfare agency providing subsidies for people who are, in the main, keeping themselves in poor shape. It's unsustainable. Ms Roxon could fix all this in a copuple of strokes of the pen.