Medicare cutbacks

A casualty of the fallout in the Australia-China trade war?

29 July 2021 | CCCA

Prof. James Laurenceson (UTS Sydney) sums up the current Australia-China relations clearly and concisely in the article “No evidence the US has Australia’s back in its dispute with China, despite all the rhetoric”.  He said, “The US has “got our back”. This talking point is repeated by Australian government ministers with rising fervour, as China continues its campaign of trade punishment against Australia. Think-tank experts and media commentators amplify it further”.

The article gave a good insight of the close working relations between Australia and China and particularly the statements made by US officials.    

Mike Goldman, the Chargé d’Affaires at the US Embassy in Canberra says, “I’d just say keep on doing what you’re doing but with confidence that the United States and other like-minded democracies see an interest in having Australia succeed.” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken insisted Australia would not be left “alone on the (cricket) pitch”.

Two hundred days into the Biden administration, Laurenceson lamented that US support does not extend beyond rhetoric.

There are economic costs to this type of foreign policy and the good Professor wondered whether the Australian state governments, the business community and general public deserve to know who is bearing the costs. He also listed five suggestions on how the US can improve its trading relations with China.

For more information on the subject, Elena Collinson wrote an informative piece entitled The Australia-PRC relationship: What do Australians think? for the Australia China Relations Institute at UTS Sydney.

When the media reported Australian officials cannot get counterparts in China to take phone calls, that is a measure of the degree of deterioration of China’s relations with the west, as shown in this video.  

Although the Federal government is silent on the long-term loss of revenue from the Australia-China trade war, is the announcement of Medicare cuts the beginning of belt tightening exercise for Australians? 

Medicare rebate changes for surgeries kick in next month, however, doctors say more time is needed.  

Labor has accused the Morrison government of using Victoria’s COVID-19 lockdown as an opportunity to make ‘ruthless’ cuts to Medicare. From July 1, more than 900 items on the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS), including general, orthopedic, and cardiac surgery, were changed following a five-year review.

With our great economic momentum, we are still cruising in the economic waves with our wealth generated from increased iron ore demand from China.  When China gets her alternative source of iron ore, our deceleration would be swift.

Before that happens, Australia should try to improve its relations with China before the US mends the fence.  If we don’t get it first, then our commodities would queue behind the US.

An ABC Podcast “Australia-China” with (SMH Columnist) Peter Hartcher and (Sydney University Academic) David Brophy can be found here.

This commentary is supplied by the Chinese Community Council of Australia Incorporated: Founding President, Dr Anthony Pun OAM, President, Mr Kingsley Liu. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors.

Previous CCCA News