NATIONAL DISABILITY INSURANCE SCHEME: Funded by Medicare levy increase which is unaffordable for most Australians

CARBON is the substance left over when certain materials are incinerated. Members of Julia Gillard’s government might ponder this as Labor’s latest carbon debacle leaves the party looking burned.

In fact, carbon has been an issue for Labor ever since previous prime minister Kevin Rudd’s deferral of a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme three years ago set in train the events that led to Rudd being axed by his own party.

Problems were compounded prior to the 2010 election, when Julia Gillard vowed not to introduce a carbon tax. That vow was subsequently broken, leaving us with a carbon tax that now appears to be broken itself.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet’s announcement yesterday that the carbon tax wouldn’t deliver anywhere near projected revenue amounts should really be the final straw for this ill-conceived policy. In a two-for-one blow, the government has also withdrawn planned carbon tax compensation.

The collapse in projected revenue follows the government’s decision to link Australia’s carbon scheme to the carbon price in Europe. Big mistake. Europe’s carbon price has fallen through the floor and Labor’s carbon credibility is hovering at the same sad level.

Future historians may marvel at the havoc wrought by carbon policies (which also, it must be remembered, were a significant factor in Malcolm Turnbull’s loss of the Liberal party leadership). Far from being the “the greatest moral, economic and social challenge of our time”, as Rudd once put it, carbon dioxide is proving to be an insurmountable political challenge.

Bonus for bureaucrats

GIGANTIC government programs necessarily involve gigantic spending. Take the proposed National Disability Insurance Scheme, which will cost taxpayers almost $360 million every year just to pay for the scheme’s administrators.

A spokesman for Disability Reform Minister Jenny Macklin points out that this enormous sum represents less than five per cent of the NDIS’s overall cost, which is an unusual line of argument. If anything, the spokesman has only further alerted taxpayers to the epic scale of this proposal.

Australians are overwhelming supportive of improved care for those of us who are injured or disabled, but many will be startled by the amount required simply to fund the NDIS bureaucracy.

More than a few voters might wonder at the level of direct medical and social care that could be provided with $360 million.

As things stand, however, that money will be spent outside of direct care.

These factors are well worth deep examination prior to a wholesale commitment to the NDIS – and its vast network of support and background staff.-contributed