Abbott Announces Medicare Plus Deal With Senate Independents

The Health Minister, Tony Abbott, has secured passage of his MedicarePlus package through the Senate, following a deal with four senators.

The deal with Senators Brian Harradine, Len Harris (One Nation), Shayne Murphy (ex-ALP) and Meg Lees (ex-Democrats) gives the government the 4 additional votes it needs to pass the legislation 39-37.

Amongst other measures, the deal involves a reduction in the level of the annual threshold for concession card holders. It also provides for incentives for bulk-billing doctors in non-metropolian areas and Tasmania. Harradine and Murphy both represent Tasmania.

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Text of a media release from the Minister for Health and Ageing, Tony Abbott.


The Government has agreed with Senators Harradine, Harris, Lees and Murphy to further improve MedicarePlus. Australians will have a better health system thanks to the Senators’ insights and persistence. [Read more…]

The Ten Motions That Sank Stott Despoja

According the website, these are the 10 motions that were passed by the Australian Democrats party-room.

The motions were opposed by the leader of the party, Senator Natasha Stott Despoja, who resigned the leadership shortly afterwards. [Read more…]

Meg Lees Under Attack By Democrats; Senate Numbers At Stake

Senator Meg LeesThe former leader of the Australian Democrats, Senator Meg Lees, is embroiled in a bitter dispute over the leadership of Natasha Stott Despoja that threatens to split the party and hand the Howard Government the chance of passing its contentious privatisation of Telstra legislation.

At a meeting of the Australian Democrats’ National Management Committee on June 5, a motion was carried requesting Lees attend a meeting of the National Executive on June 22-23 to “address issues of her comments on the sale of Telstra and perceptions of disunity in the Party”. Another motion described “perceptions of disunity and unreliability” in relation to comments Lees made about Telstra. [Read more…]

Democrats’ National Management Committee Minutes

These are the minutes of a meeting of the National Management Committee of the Australian Democrats, held on June 5, that requested Senator Meg Lees to appear before the Committee to discuss her public statements on the privatisation of Telstra.

The minutes were first published on

Democrats' Minutes

Democrats Demand Loyalty From Lees

This is the letter sent to Senator Meg Lees from the Acting President of the Australian Democrats, Liz Oss-Emer, on June 10, demanding that Lees explain her public statements on the sale of Telstra and asking that she “commit to fully supporting the elected leadership of the Party”.

The letter was first published on [Read more…]