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Tuesday, 27 November 2012
Page: 13535


Mr DUTTON (Dickson) (19:33): by leave—I move opposition amendments (1) to (3), as circulated, together:

(1) Clause 2, page 2 (table item 4), omit “items 20 to 23”, substitute “item 23”.

(2) Schedule 1, page 5 (line 14), omit the heading.

(3) Schedule 1, items 20 to 22, page 5 (line 15) to page 6 (line 26), omit the items.

These amendments will ensure the name 'Medicare' is protected into the future. This bill seeks to correct another botched implementation by Labor. They created primary healthcare organisations operating under the name 'Medicare Locals', a name which is technically unlawful under Commonwealth legislation. Nothing could better highlight this government's incompetence. Nothing could better highlight the fact that this government was merely after a headline as opposed to a health outcome. Nothing could better highlight the fact that this government has stumbled from one disaster to the next when it comes to the health portfolio. What competent government could enlist the assistance of primary healthcare organisations and insist on them being called Medicare Locals, bearing in mind that the government, in their Medicare Locals, do not provide any Medicare assistance? You cannot go into a Medicare Local office to have your Medicare claim processed. You cannot go into a Medicare Local office to see a doctor or a nurse or to seek medical advice or attention. You cannot go into a Medicare Local office and ask for advice in relation to Medicare matters. Medicare Locals have nothing to do with Medicare whatsoever. Why did this government decide to call them Medicare Locals? Because it thought it could fool the Australian people into believing that somehow this was a network of retail services, which of course it is not. That this government, in the height of its incompetence, would allow the use of the word 'Medicare' in the title of these primary healthcare organisations, knowing that it contravenes federal legislation, just speaks to the absolute continuing incompetence of the Gillard government.