Treasurer Scott Morrison Delivers 2017 Federal Budget

The Treasurer, Scott Morrison, has delivered the Turnbull government’s second Budget, forecasting a return to surplus in four years, abandoning stalled budget cuts, guaranteeing Medicare and the PBS, incresing the Medicare levy and imposing a new levy on the commercial banks.

The Budget also includes provisions for first home buyers to salary sacrifice into their superannuation. It includes a crackdown on welfare recipients.

The Budget marks a break with the Abbott years. It abandons the “zombie” cuts stalled in the Senate whilst increasing spending in traditional Labor areas. Morrison said it was a “reset”.

  • Listen to Scott Morrison deliver the Budget (32m)
  • Watch Morrison (32m)

Budget Documents – PDF downloads

17-05-09_budget-speech


Bill Shorten Delivers ALP Policy Speech At Penrith Campaign Launch

Bill Shorten has delivered the ALP’s policy speech for the 2016 federal election.

ShortenPicture credit: image posted on Twitter by @AustralianLabor

Speaking in Penrith, in the western Sydney seat of Lindsay, Shorten gave a speech light on new promises but heavy on appeals to the Labor faithful. Defence of Medicare was a constant theme of the speech, with Shorten paying homage to former prime minister Bob Hawke’s role in establishing the scheme in 1983.

The proceedings began with a speech by Emma Husar, the ALP candidate for Lindsay. Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen and Deputy Leader Tanya Plibersek also spoke.
[Read more…]


Another Medicare Advertisement From The ALP

Ahead of its official campaign launch tomorrow, the ALP has released another television advertisement on Medicare.

The ad comes at the end of a week that began with an ad featuring former Prime Minister Bob Hawke talking up the prospect of the Turnbull government privatising Medicare. [Read more…]


Bob Hawke Does Medicare Advertisement For ALP Campaign

Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke has appeared in a Labor Party advertisement on Medicare.

It was Hawke’s government that introduced the current Medicare scheme after winning the 1983 federal election. Medicare came into operation in 1984. It was essentially the same scheme legislated by the Whitlam government in 1974 but dismantled by the Fraser government after 1975.

In the advertisement, Hawke warns against the privatisation of Medicare. He says that the only reason for establishing a taskforce to investigate privatisation is if you intend to do just that. [Read more…]


Health Minister Peter Dutton Won’t Comment On Medicare Levy Speculation

The Minister for Health, Peter Dutton, has refused to comment on speculation that the Commission of Audit will recommend a Medicare co-payment for bulk-billed patients.

Dutton“We won’t be commenting on speculation around what the Commission of Audit may or may not recommend,” Dutton said.

Media speculation this week has suggested consideration of a $5 upfront co-payment for bulk-billed GP patients. The speculation suggests savings of around $700 million a year can be made by introducing the co-payment.

The idea is said to apply to families after they have made 12 visits to a GP in any year. Pensioners and health card holders would be exempt.

The Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Penny Wong, described the proposal as a tax on health care and said the Abbott government is not the government voters thought they were getting. [Read more…]


Medicare 30th Anniversary

Medicare is 30 years old today.

MedicareThe legislation to establish the universal health insurance system was passed on this day in 1983, six months after the election of the Hawke Labor government.

As it still still does today, Medicare is partly funded by a 1.5% levy on all taxpayers. It allows doctors to provide medical care at no cost to patients through bulk billing. Alternatively, Medicare reimburses patients 85% of a scheduled fee which allows doctors to determine their own charges with patients paying the balance. Medicare also provides for basic public hospital cover with patients able to take out additional private insurance. Health professionals with a Medicare provider number are also included in the scheme.

Medicare’s history begins with Gough Whitlam in the 1970s. The health insurance scheme was developed by health economist Richard Scotton and John Deeble. Under Whitlam, the scheme was called Medibank and was a major plank in Whitlam’s 1972 election platform. [Read more…]


Howard And Abbott Abortion Counselling Press Conference

This is the press conference held by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Health Minister Tony Abbott on the subject of pregnancy support counselling.

They announced that the government would introduce a Medicare payment for pregnancy support counselling by General Practitioners. Additionally, the government would fund a National Pregnancy Support telephone helpline.

  • Listen to Howard and Abbott (24m)

Transcript of joint press conference with Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Health Minister Tony Abbott.

HOWARD: Well ladies and gentlemen this news conference has been called by Mr Abbott and me to announce some Government proposals regarding pregnancy support counselling. [Read more…]