Politics: Healthcare, Education and Carers – A brief and irreverent review

In the course of my job at a non-profit that provides support and advice to individuals and families with genetic conditions, I’ve been asked to do an ‘election special’ for our newsletter, involving reading and reporting on party policies in the areas of healthcare, education, carers, and other areas of interest to our members.

This is, of course, a fine idea.

Except that I really have to keep it apolitical, and I am, of course, as biased as hell.

What I’m doing is putting the name of each party, saying ‘these are the areas in which the party has policy documents, and here is where you can find the policy documents’, and then picking the area or areas in which I think our members will be most interested, and putting a little box with their statement on that subject.

Note: this post is a compilation of several, shorter, posts, written as I was reading through the various pages

This has been fine for the Democrats, the Liberals, even the Citizens Electoral Council (who have some very appealing ideas about Medicare, even if they are totally crazed when it comes to the War on Drugs). But, frankly, the act of copying the only items of any (rather limited) relevance from the Christian Democrats page is making me feel physically ill. I don’t want to give them a platform for that, even in the context of giving everyone else a platform. It makes me feel as though I am doing everyone a disservice – yet it really would be biased reporting to give everyone else a paragraph in their own words and not them. Although it must be said, they have very little of direct relevance to our membership as a group – they are sublimely uninterested in mere matters of health, welfare or education. I’m sure you can guess what they are interested in, though. Or perhaps not. I expected some of their bile, but parts of it surprised me.


… Then there are the ones who have really good, well-thought-out and helpful policies in areas such as healthcare and provision for the disabled – and then rabidly froth at the mouth at the idea of single parent families, or worse still, no-fault divorce. Let alone those nasty, AIDS-spreading, promiscuous homosexuals. And then they turn around and go all pro-union, pro-immigration/refugee (regardless of colour or creed, mind you!) statements. Not a combination of sense and bigotry that I am familiar with. This is the Democratic Labor Party, if you were wondering.

In some ways, I feel as though it is almost misleading to put their sensible disability policies in our newsletter. At least you can take one look at the CDP’s policies and know what they stand for (and take a good guess at their other opinions)… But then, if my priority was services for intellectual disability, I would have to say that this lot offer the best set of policies in the area. And maybe I’d find their bigotry in other areas more bearable?

Or maybe not…


It’s a bad sign when the Family First policies start looking refreshing by comparison. And yet they do. Not that I think much of a policy which acknowledges the tough role of carers and the burden they have, but make no suggestions about how to improve this. Twits.

Ah well. Liberals and Nationals are up next. I predict they are going to start looking positively magnificent by comparison to this morning’s batch… (hmm, maybe that’s why people vote liberal? Too much time on the DLP and CDP websites and the liberal party begins to look sane and sensible…)


I think the Citizens’ Electoral Council are my favourite party of the day. They have sensible, well thought out policies on a wide range of topics – and then they say that it’s time to fight the war on drugs with all the weapons of a real war. And off we go, into the land of insane, surely you can’t be serious, political wingnuttery. It’s special stuff.

Anyway. In further news, People Power are, um. A good idea. But not terribly competent, and (I have the inside scoop on this, since my colleague attended one of their meetings today) rather inclined to strut about pompously instead of getting the job done. My colleague wrote a report on them for the newsletter – the words “Waste of time.”, repeated for an entire page. On reflection, we decided to go with my approach instead…

The Socialist Alliance are of course the lefty lunatic party (they even have a manifesto!), and have a real talent for saying things I agree with, in a manner that makes me really wish I didn’t.

The Nationals and Country Alliance are both probably very useful if you live in the country, but don’t have policies for anyone else (although I did like the Country Alliance’s policy on ‘continuation of traditional recreational, cultural and social activities’, which turn out to be ‘recreational use of four wheel drive vehicles, rodeos, recreational fishing, recreational shooting and hunting and the opening up of public lands to public access.’).

Both the Labor Party and the Democrats are looking quite good, though sadly lacking in humorous policies, but the very first policy on the Liberal website at present is “Let’s bring Bollywood to Melbourne!”, which can only be said to bode well (I haven’t done the Liberal party yet – it had 227 policy documents, and I got scared and saved it til last).

And, I’m glad to say, the Greens once again have a decent range of non-laughable policies. It’s interesting to note that they actually say pretty much the same things as the Socialist Alliance, but manages to say them in a sane, rational, non-mouth-frothing way. Which is a good thing, since I’ve said I’ll hand out how-to-vote cards for them again this election…

Anyway. Off to read my way through the Liberal party site. Bollywood here I come!!

(yes, yes, I know Bollywood is not remotely relevant to what I’m doing, but I have to reward myself somehow!)


If anyone actually wants to go and look at all the Victorian political party websites and policy documents (ie, what I’ve been nattering on about all day), they can be found at http://www.gsnv.org.au/pages/advocacy/election2006.php .

Given my audience, I’ve only done extracts from policies relating to health, disabiliy, carers and special education – and given that we are government funded, I’ve been very, very careful not to provide any commentary and to be as evenhanded as possible (difficult, given my very strong views and conviction that I am right – but, after all, this is supposed to be about education and empowerment, which means allowing people to make their own informed decisions, even if I disagree with them), but the site does list all parties currently enrolled in the election, with links to their sites and policy documents – which is useful if, like me, you like to vote below the line and drive the vote counters right up the wall…

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