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This website is in imminent danger of being shut down. It has been online since 1995, but the personal circumstances of the owner, Malcolm Farnsworth, are such that economies have to be made. Server costs and suchlike have become prohibitive. At the urging of people online, I have agreed to see if Patreon provides a solution. More information is available at the Patreon website. If you are able to contribute even $1.00/month to keep the site running, please click the Patreon button below.


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Rudd And Abbott Debate Health Reform At National Press Club

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott have debated health care reform at the National Press Club.

The debate came after Rudd announced that the federal government would assume the dominant role in state hospital funding. [Read more…]


Tony Abbott Comments On Kevin Rudd’s Health Plans

This is Opposition Leader Tony Abbott commenting on the Rudd government’s proposed reforms to the health system.

Rudd has announced that the government will take over the dominant role in funding state hospitals. [Read more…]


Hospital Reform: Kevin Rudd Address The National Press Club

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has addressed the National Press Club on his hospital reforms.

Rudd said the federal government “will take on the dominant funding role for the entire public hospital system”. The government will build a National Health and Hospital Network in which the eight state-run systems will become part of one national network.

Rudd said: “Today we are delivering on the most significant reform of Australia’s health and hospital system since the introduction of Medicare almost three decades ago. The Government will deliver better hospitals by establishing a national network, that is funded nationally, and run locally.” [Read more…]


The Lancet Attacks Howard Over Health And Medical Science

This year’s election provides an opportunity “to bring a new enlightenment to Australian health and medical science”, according to the prestigious medical journal, The Lancet.

An editorial in the journal says that whilst “Australian culture feels progressive and inclusive”, this “belies a strong undercurrent of political conservatism, which Howard is ruthlessly tapping into.”

The journal cites Aboriginal health, HIV and Climate Change as issues which demonstrate that “Australian politicians are scoring well below their potential”.

The Lancet was founded in 1823. Its founder, Thomas Wakley, said: “A lancet can be an arched window to let in the light or it can be a sharp surgical instrument to cut out the dross and I intend to use it in both senses”. The journal’s website says that “Thomas Wakley and his successors aimed to combine publication of the best medical science in the world with a zeal to counter the forces that undermine the values of medicine, be they political, social, or commercial. The journal was, and remains, independent, without affiliation to a medical or scientific organisation. More than 180 years later, The Lancet is an independent and authoritative voice in global medicine.”

This is the text of the editorial in The Lancet.

Click here to go to the website of The Lancet

Australia: the politics of fear and neglect

Australian clinical and public-health research is an emblem of excellence across the Asia-Pacific region. That enviable position is being put at risk by Prime Minister John Howard’s indifference to the academic medical community and his profound intolerance to those less secure than himself and his administration. The latest example of his complacency was a comment he made on a Melbourne radio station last week. He said that people living with HIV should not be allowed to enter and live in Australia — “prima facie, no”, he asserted. Australia already has tough immigration rules for those with HIV. All hopeful migrants aged over 15 years are tested for the virus. Their applications stumble if they are found to be positive.

To any visitor, Australian culture feels progressive and inclusive. This attractive exterior belies a strong undercurrent of political conservatism, which Howard is ruthlessly tapping into. As the Australian columnist Janet Albrechtsen wrote recently, “the Australian polity is inherently conservative…a conservative coalition has ruled for 42 of 58 years”. 2007 is an election year for Australia. How the country interprets its past and sees its hopes for the future will be critical not only for the health of its people but also for the contribution Australia makes to world health. At present, Australian politicians are scoring well below their potential.

Take Aboriginal health. The current health minister, Tony Abbott, recently insulted Aboriginal peoples by claiming that those who spoke up for indigenous health were simply “establishing politically and morally correct credentials”. On climate change, environment minister Malcolm Turnbull apparently sees little new in the latest alarming assessments by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Reviewing the effect of successive Howard administrations on Australia’s academic community since 1996, the respected scientist Ian Lowe has written that “the present government has gone to extraordinary lengths to silence independent opinion within the research community”. This year provides an opportunity at the ballot box to bring a new enlightenment to Australian health and medical science.


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…]


Howard Claims No ‘Underlying Racism’ In Australia; Cautions Against ‘Rush To Judgement’

John Howard, says he does “not accept that there is underlying racism in this country”.

John HowardSpeaking at a press conference today, the Prime Minister said: “I think it’s important that we do not rush to judgement about these events.”

As he did when Pauline Hanson arrived on the political scene in 1996, Howard steered a course through the political and racial minefield arising from the riots in Cronulla and Maroubra yesterday. Whilst “unconditionally” condemning the violence, and repudiating attacks on people based on race, appearance, or ethnicity, Howard argued that “this is first and foremost a question of the application of the law of this country”.

Howard went on to say that “it would be an enormous mistake if we began to wallow in generalised self-criticism, because the overwhelming majority of Australians have the proper instincts and decent attitudes and decent values.” He said that “newcomers to this country must embrace our values” and “those who were born here must respect and accept as fellow Australians, those who have chosen to make this country their home.” [Read more…]


Mark Latham Health Policy Announcement

This is Opposition Leader Mark Latham’s press conference announcement on Health policy.

Latham announced a Labor government would immediately extend Medicare bulk billing rebates. [Read more…]


Howard Announces Medicare Rebate Extension

Prime Minister John Howard has announced an extension of the Medicare rebate.

Citing better than expected budgetary conditions, Howard said the government would legislate for an increase in the Medicare rebate to 100% of the scheduled fee.

The change will take effect from next January. [Read more…]


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. [Read more…]


COAG Meeting Reaches Water Agreement But State Leaders Walk Out Over Health

This is the text and partial audio of the Council of Australian Governments meeting in Canberra.

Agreement was reached on the Water issue, but the State and Territory leaders walked out of the meeting because of disagreement over Health. [Read more…]