Wednesday, 11 September 2019
National Health Amendment (Pharmaceutical Benefits) Bill 2019; Second Reading
I will take the interjections from the Labor member. Because you would think that the PBS did have bipartisan support, and then we got to 2011. In 2011, in those heady days of financial mismanagement by the Labor government, hidden away in the very small fine print of the portfolio budget statements of the Labor Party's budget of 2011-12 was an announcement—not trumpeted in a press release or anything like that, but hidden away—to say that they would stop listing life-saving PBS medicines, until 'fiscal circumstances permit'. The question is: when under a Labor government would fiscal circumstances permit?
We know they can't deliver a surplus. We know they can't manage an economy responsibly, and that's why it in fact wasn't until the LNP government that life-saving medicines were again listed on the PBS, as I said, at an average of one new medicine a day.
So imagine how many people that has helped, but imagine also that, instead of freezing it in 2011, the Labor Party had listed a drug a day on average as we have managed to do. How many Australian lives could have been saved? How many more Australian families could have spent more time with their loved ones if the Labor Party had managed the economy properly? We talk a lot in this place about financial indicators. We talk a lot in this place about the importance of having responsible management and a strong economy, but this is the human side of that. When you have a Labor Party and a Labor government that can't manage an economy, the human side of that is that Australians don't have access to life-saving drugs. Under the Morrison LNP government, they now do. Over 2,600 drugs have now been listed. So, next time we hear a scare campaign from Labor on health—next time we hear them talk about how they will spend more money on health than ever before—we will think back to their record in 2011 and 2012, when, for all the heady spending promises that they brought to the Australian people, they so damaged the economy that they got to the point where they had to look sick Australians in the eyes and explain to them why they didn't have enough taxpayer money to list these vital drugs.
Families rely on the PBS. Sick people rely on the PBS. The residents of Ryan rely on the PBS. That's why I'm so pleased to support this particular bill, which will ensure the stability and continuity of the PBS going forward.