By Colin Turnbull
“I am prepared to be judged by these choices” said Prime Minister Julia Gillard earlier this year, in regards to her bill to raise Medicare tax in order to pay for disability care. In her bill, Gillard proposes to raise the Medicare tax from 1.5% of a person’s annual wage to 2%. The extra .5% increase would help cover the cost of medical bills for those who have disabled loved ones. This would cost Australian citizens another $350 a year, on average.
This proposal has sparked much debate. Although Opposition leader Tony Abbott agrees with Gillard that there should be more care provided for those with disabilities, he argues that her current scheme would only cover half the costs required for disability care. Shadow treasurer Joe Hockney is against the tax, saying it would only hurt business because people would feel less confident about their smaller amount of discretionary income. “This levy is going to hit every household budget,” he said in a recent radio interview.
Before putting the bill into motion, Gillard will ask the nation to voice their opinions in the September 2013 election, “to make sure that we support disability care around Australia.” As members of a democratic society, voting is an essential part of moving our country in a positive direction. That is why it is the citizens’ responsibility to stay informed on all the current issues involved with politics, regardless of whether or not the issues affect them directly or not. Chances are, there will be a political issue that affects everyone at some point in their life. Voting is a privilege that everyone should take advantage of. By staying informed on the issues and voting accordingly, ordinary citizens can take part in the problems faced by society, and hopefully say they were part of the solution.