Who could argue with The Guardian’s election editorial comment:“What a dispiriting election campaign it has been”.

To put it mildly.

As Croakey’s election health coverage has made clear, there has been virtually no intersection between the issues that have surfaced in public debate and what are the pressing concerns for the community’s health and healthcare.

The Guardian says that Tony Abbott and the Coalition “have chosen to treat the democratic process with contempt”, evading scrutiny and leaving “a blank space where their policies should be’.

On the other hand, Labor has been in chaos and, amongst other failings, adopted a “PNG solution” (please note the inverted commas) that “is a nasty and deeply shaming policy”.

No doubt the lack of mainstream media coverage of The Greens policies has contributed to the paucity of health debate, given that their health policies have been agenda-setters in many areas.

The Guardian also highlights the election silence on critical health issues such as climate change.

Yet the ABC’s Vote Compass tells us that 61 per cent of Australians want the Government to do more to tackle climate change, and less than one-fifth of people think it should do less.

Seventy per cent of voters say they support amending the Constitution to recognise Indigenous Australians, an overwhelming majority supports legalised voluntary euthanasia for the terminally ill, and a strong majority of Australians also want abortion services to remain at least as accessible as at present.

(While Vote Compass is not a random sample or poll, being mainly an education tool for promoting electoral literacy, its results are weighted in an effort to correct for selection bias.)

Meanwhile, The Guardian’s editorial asks: “What will it take to rediscover a more inspiring politics for Australia?”

This is a question that many are asking in health, as was made clear this week by one of the sector’s bards, Gordon Gregory, the CEO of the National Rural Health Alliance, in an address to the 12th Australian Palliative Care Conference in Canberra.

Thanks to Gordon for allowing Croakey to republish his poem. (We do have a track record on this – you can see another of Gordon’s poems here).


By Gordon Gregory


We’ve had enough of fluoro vests and cooking shows and malls

the prospect of the next ‘debate’ quite frankly just appals.

We want to feel some leadership, some vision – real ideas –

then we’ll grant a ‘mandate’ to some grouping without fears.


What care for disability? what funding for our schools?

what promises for dental health? for broadband what new rules?

What place for those without a home who venture to our land?

On taxing times for climate what is ultimately planned?


To Close the Gap’s a target for which we all must thirst

so life can be as long and fair for those who were here first.

How to deal with death and dying with somewhat less regret

So care at end of life will be fond business for us yet?


The richest land in all the world, unhurt by GFC,

should share its bounty evenly; that is our earnest plea.

We crave someone of whom we’re proud (in this our nation lags)

a leader fit between the ears – not just between the flags.


• You can track Croakey’s election coverage here and of the 12th Australian Palliative Care Conference here.



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