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Friday, 24 June 2016 09:45

The Government won’t privatise Medicare, but it will privatise the NBN Featured

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Although the NBN’s privatisation is years or decades off yet, the deliverer of tele-health that will connect doctors to patients electronically will one day, unlike Medicare, be sold off.

Note: it is always "dangerous" to write about politics, we think we live in a free world, but do we really? Some will say that in a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. Some will decry this, or that. Some will say take the blue pill, and go back to sleep. Others will urge you to take the red pill, and wake up!

What is written below is half in jest, yet fully serious. It appears to be ok not to do one thing, but ok to do another. However, asking for consistency in politics is like expecting all political promises to be kept, all to be reasonable in the first place, and none to be broken. 

So, before you decry me, just read. Be entertained. Engage your brain to think. And most of all, enjoy life and have fun. Don't forget to vote, and let us hope that, in the end, we get not just the NBN we deserve, but the one we really want.

And please don't forget, this article is written in my own personal opinion column. It does not reflect the views of iTWire, so if you're happy/not happy about something I've said, use the comments section below to blast me a new one or say a few words of support in solidarity – don't hassle my excellent editor about it, for these are my words solely and wholly. 

So, here we go, just below:

The "great lie" of the election campaign, which the Liberal and National Coalition has been too afraid to simply ignore and instead attack the Labor Party’s record on taxes, union thuggery, anti-business policies and more, is the "Medicare lie".

This "lie" is centred around the Labor Party’s claim that the public Medicare service, which loses (or rather, invests) billions of "our tax" dollars per year to pay for the collective health of all Australians, will be sold.

It’s hard to imagine any private company wanting to buy an organisation that never makes any money, but in the mind of Labor politicians — whose grip on reality is always in question, especially after the disastrous Rudd/Gillard/Rudd years — some company out there voluntarily buying Medicare is apparently a reality.

Perhaps that company will be a union, who like some cleaning or health union members might allegedly find their pay rates and benefits slashed.

But not even unions are stupid enough to buy Medicare. Indeed, the only organisation that wants to buy Medicare is the Labor Party, who promise to save it, but who would probably end up destroying it after eventually running out of other people’s money to pay for it.

There are interesting parallels with the NBN. Although the former Labor government, during the disastrous Rudd/Gillard/Rudd years, dreamt up the NBN, and made it a new government-owned enterprise, the Labor Party declared they wanted to eventually sell it! That’s not the kind of thing that historically nationalising Labor Parties generally promise, but they did.

Of course, the Liberal and National Coalition want to eventually sell it too, even though there’s quite a lot of concern at the moment that NBN Co will never make any money either, and will end up losing quite a lot.

That’s because they’ll be faced with competitors like TPG who make the NBN more uneconomic with every customer they put on their own network instead of the NBN backbone, as Rene Sugo of MyNetFone recently spoke of earlier this year, including references to cellular and also wireless as I expand upon below.

As just noted, there’s also the march of technology that makes wireless technologies like 5G an airborne form of mobile fibre, alongside the Google Fibre "wireless" technology it wants to deploy that sounds similar. There are more systems from the founder of Aereo, Facebook with some wireless plans, and the pCells from Artemis Networks which are already being deployed in San Francisco and which Nokia has been testing since November 2015 (PDF Link)

Of course, the NBN network and its backbone of backhaul will be used to light up a lot of these wireless technologies.

The article concludes below this digitally enhanced image, please read on!

NBN Medicare

However, the reality is that NBN is a government-owned enterprise that will, amongst many, many other vitally important functions, will be delivering a massive amount of e-health/telehealth over its network, and no-one is making any bones about its eventual sell-off.

Indeed, the Labor Party, which created the NBN and wanted to sell it in the first place, isn’t agitating to keep it in public hands, even though it will be providing ever more of the health services which will be charged to Medicare.

What if whoever eventually owns the NBN wants to charge Medicare more money? By Labor’s logic, isn’t it better to NOT sell NBN off so it can never start gouging little old ladies and cancer patients so much money they can’t afford telehealth services?

And then we get back to Medicare itself, which already "loses" billions and which is never, ever projected to make any kind of profit, and is still apparently going to be privatised just because the side out of power says so.

Pigs will fly and the NBN will be finished on time before Medicare is ever privatised. The end of the world could come first, too.

Welcome to the election silly season, dear readers, in the last week of the 2016 Federal Election campaign, where the only thing worth selling off is the Labor Party, so its new owners can shut it down and return the money to the shareholders.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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