Deal done. On the issue that has captivated Canberra and chewed through forests of newsprint — not to mention some $38 million in taxpayer-funded advertising to sell us a tax that the government has just significantly neutered — Julia Gillard has her deal on mining profits. Crisis over.

Except if you are one of the millions — yes, millions — crippled by mental illness in this country. Your distress — as life-long sufferer Andrew Robb details in today’s Crikey — goes largely untreated and unnoticed.

That’s always been a problem with this government: it’s never known which fights to pick.

It wasn’t so much Health Minister Nicola Roxon’s unfortunate slip in calling Tony Abbott’s $1.5 billion mental health fund “crazy” that will rile carers and the sick. It was that anyone from the government had the gall to criticise the initiative at all — let alone Roxon’s instance it’s “not credible” — given the lack of attention mental health has received during Labor’s nearly three-year reign.

As one health expert said yesterday: “We cannot understand why Nicola Roxon still has her head in the sand.”

The same goes for this entire government and its policy priorities.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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