The National Commission of Audit chairman Tony Shepherd has proved he doesn't know what he's talking about. He thinks Australians are going to the doctor far too often when we're "not that crook."
"Australians on average go to the doctor 11 times a year" he said. Not true. Figures show the average Aussie makes 6.9 visits to doctors every year which makes us almost level to the OECD average of between 6 and 7 visits per year.
He advised the Abbott government to introduce a $15 co-payment to visit the doctor which "will give people cause for thought over whether they really need to go" he said. But it gets worse - Tony Abbott thought it was a good idea and put a $7 doctor co-payment in the budget. All money raised will go towards medical research, they said, and assumed that makes it okay - but it doesn't, it stinks!
People in Denmark, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and the UK are encouraged and given incentives to visit the doctor because checking out a medical concern with your local GP sooner rather than later is a no brainer.
Joe Hockey's budget includes a co-payment of $7 for every visit to the GP for adults with no concession card and many procedures that were free under Medicare including blood tests, X-rays and ultrasounds, will now cost $7 per appointment.
And now we come to the quote of the year. Treasurer Joe Hockey said on ABC radio yesterday
"One of the things that quite astounds me is some people are screaming about the $7 co-payment....One packet of cigarettes costs $22, that gives you three visits to the doctor."
They are the words of a man who is completely out of touch with reality. If he had the faintest idea of how hard life is out there for the average family, he would never have said it.
The Treasurer got a shock when Laurie Oaks asked him about dancing around his office to the tune Best Days of My Life just before delivering the toughest budget in 18 years.
Oakes: You were dancing in your office before you got up to give that speech, why were you dancing?
Oakes: You put on a song called This Will Be the Best Day of My Life and danced with your wife.
Hockey: I think that was more about our little boy was there. I hadn't seen him for three weeks. I think that was more of the focus.
Oakes: The unemployed, the sick, the welfare recipients have been hit by the budget. They're not going to be dancing, are they?
Hockey: No, Laurie, they are not.
Oakes: Won't be the best day of their life.
Hockey: No, but it is the best day for Australia, Laurie. It's the best day for Australia because we are actually getting on with the job of building a stronger nation. That's what we're focused on, building a stronger nation. Hugely important.
The picture of Joe Hockey puffing away on a big cigar in a private courtyard at Parliament House will linger, probably for the rest of his life. It epitomizes what his budget is all about, the wealthy think it's great because they won't be affected, but the rest of us will. It's Joe's "let them eat cake" moment.