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Monday, 1 September 2014
Page: 9159

Budget


Ms KING (Ballarat) (14:50): My question is to the Prime Minister. One year ago today the Prime Minister promised a government of no surprises and no excuses. I refer to an email from Toby Green, a single person on a low income with an inherited blood disorder that requires multiple medications and monthly GP visits and blood tests. When did the Prime Minister tell Toby before the election that, because of the GP tax, he would soon be asking if he should reduce his GP visits and blood tests to two times a month, stop taking some medications or only take his medications every second or third day?

Mr Pyne: That's outrageous!

Ms KING: It's in his email.




Mr ABBOTT (WarringahPrime Minister) (14:51): Well, the member that asked the question wants the person in question to pay a PBS co-payment. The member who asked the question wants the person about whom she has asked this question—

Ms Kate Ellis interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Adelaide will desist!

Mr ABBOTT: to face a PBS co-payment. Not for a second do I pretend that people with chronic illness—

Ms Owens interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Parramatta is warned!

Mr ABBOTT: are having an easy time of it. Not for a second do I pretend that things are easy for people with chronic illness.

Ms King: Why are you making it harder for them?

The SPEAKER: The member for Ballarat has asked her question and will desist!

Mr ABBOTT: But, if it is right and proper for the member for Ballarat to insist on people with chronic illness paying a modest co-payment on their PBS medicines, why isn't it right and proper for us to say that, for some early visits, there should be a modest co-payment for visits to the doctor?

The Labor Party under Bob Hawke introduced a co-payment. When the member for Jagajaga was the health adviser to the relevant minister the Labor Party introduced a Medicare co-payment. The Labor Party's shadow Assistant Treasurer thinks a co-payment makes sense, and if they want to repudiate his statements, they had better repudiate him and tell him that he cannot sit on their front bench—(Time expired)