Thursday, 20 March 2014
Questions without Notice
I thank the senator for her question. The government has not considered the introduction of a co-payment for Medicare services. I understand that there was some public comment around this issue which the senator may well be referring to, but I can indicate to the Senate that the government has not considered the introduction of a co-payment for Medicare services. Can I also indicate to the Senate that it is this government that recognises that Australians should have access to affordable, high-quality health care. It is this government, as opposed to the other side, that is going to consider measures and appropriate ways forward when it comes to health. Unlike those on the other side with their ill-thought-through policy on the run—
I think I indicated very clearly to the chamber that the government had not considered it. But when we compare the record of those on the other side when it comes to health and that of this government, the absolute starkness of the contrast is there. Let's just for a moment perhaps look at the record of those opposite, as they are raising matters relating to health. Indeed, I think it was the Labor government that was—
Mr President, I raise a point of order on direct relevance. The question was about whether or not the Minister for Health has asked his department to model the impact of a tax. If the answer is no, just say no. But this is nothing whatsoever to do with the topic of the question.
As I have indicated to the chamber, the government has not considered it. When we compare the track record of those opposite to this government's, we can see a litany of waste, economic mismanagement and ill-thought-through policy by the previous Labor government. This government is not going to implement policy in the same way that the previous government did.
I thank the senator for her question. If the senator is so concerned about the delivery of health services in Western Australia, perhaps under the previous government they may have done a better job. If the senator had then, while they were in government, delivered to Western Australia what she is now requiring this government to do—
Mr President, on a point of order. Again it is on direct relevance to the question. It was about the impact of a tax on the emergency departments in the state of Western Australia. The minister has gone nowhere near that question.
My understanding is that it has not been considered. But let's look at Labor's record in WA. When it comes to GP superclinics in Western Australia, Labor promised six GP superclinics and delivered only one. In 2007 they promised one in Wanneroo. In 2010 they again promised one in Wanneroo. It is still not built. In 2010 they promised one in Rockingham. It is still not built. Northam was promised one in 2010. It is still not built. Karratha was promised one in 2010. It is still not open. Coburn was promised one in 2007. It was again promised in 2010 and it was not delivered. (Time expired)
As we know, things like the Commission of Audit are considered. Indeed, as we canvassed yesterday in this chamber, under the previous government the Henry tax review was considered—apparently, according to the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Senator Wong—for six months. So these things are indeed considered.
We will in due course, after consideration, release that report. But can I just point out that when it comes to health it was Labor who cut $1.6 billion from state hospitals in the 2012 MYEFO statement. So perhaps the senator opposite may have had some clearer discussions at the time with her then Labor government about the fact that they pulled $1.6 billion from state hospitals. It is this government that will deliver health. It is this government that will deliver good health outcomes for Western Australia and indeed all of the country. (Time expired)