House debates

Monday, 2 May 2016

Private Members' Business

Universal Health Care

1:16 pm

Photo of Brett WhiteleyBrett Whiteley (Braddon, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

The reality here is that the MBS rebate pause was put in place by the previous government under the direction of the member that sits in this chamber now, the member for Sydney. Do not come in here with your crocodile tears today, because it is just not going to wash.

Let's talk about pathology and radiation. What a tremendous contribution by my fellow Tasmanian the member for Lyons! He got it spot on. What happened? The previous Rudd government said, 'We'd like to increase the number of people who are being bulk-billed'—which was about 86 per cent at the time. They committed, rounded up, $600 million for an incentive of between $1.40 and $3.40 to try to encourage everyone in that space, but we know that about 80 per cent of the business in that space was taken up by two major companies.

So we go from talking about removing an incentive that has only increased by one per cent to these companies now saying, 'Whoa! We'll have to charge $30, $40, $50, $60, $100.' What the hell is that all about? $1.40 to $3.40 is being proposed to be taken away because the incentive that you put in did not work, and we have multinational companies actually saying, 'That's going to cost us $30, $40, $50 to $100.' How does that work? I do not know where that works. I am going to leave that. You can run the 'don't kill bulk-bill' campaign all you like, but the reality is you are supporting a strategy that basically puts very good profits into the hands of very big companies. Do they do a good job? I am sure they do. I agree with the member for Lyons; maybe it is time that we put this service out to tender. Maybe that is what we should be doing. I think the member for Lyons is spot on.

Let us talk about another one of these areas in the member for Newcastle's motion: the child dental and adult dental health scheme. What is really interesting here is that we heard a lot a minute ago about health and about how everyone should be treated equally—that it should not be about your postcode and your credit card. What did the previous government do? One: they put in place a scheme in which only a third of the eligible children have been treated. What an absolute joke.

Opposition members interjecting

It is like everything you do—it is never project managed and it never delivers. What did you say? You said that the child dental benefits schedule was just like Medicare except that it was means tested. Does this mean that Labor has a secret plan to means test Medicare? Well, we know that they love a good means test. Just look at the private health industry rebates.

At the end of the day, this motion that is before us today is just full of error, it is full of incomplete ideology, it is full of deceit. It is a deceitful motion. Everything that is going on around this is full of deceit, and the people are much smarter than that.

Debate adjourned.


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