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Thursday, 15 May 2014
Page: 3896


Mr GILES (Scullin) (13:33): Last week in my electorate I was approached by a number of constituents who were incredulous at the prospect of a GP tax being imposed by this government. I was unable to offer them any reassurance, despite the promise made before the election of no cuts to health. Sadly, my scepticism of this government's true intentions in relation to health were founded.

Today the electorate of Scullin has the highest bulk-billing rate in Victoria. I am very proud of that. The people in Scullin are getting the primary health care they deserve. But what about tomorrow? This from a government that talks of intergenerational equity. When it comes to the budgetary decision of this government relating to health, I think of the impact on The Northern Hospital—a 'flick pass' to the states—and I think about the dismantling of our Medicare local that is doing so much to improve primary healthcare outcomes.

The Treasurer has spoken about values being more important than figures in this budget. The values message here is all too clear—if you are poor, do not get sick. Everyone should think before seeking health care. This is a cruel budget in the area of health, as elsewhere—a triumph of ideology that is contemptuous of the health and wellbeing of the people of Scullin. The broken promise is only part of this problem. The cost to our community of ending universal health care will be vast.