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Wednesday, 31 August 2016
Page: 140

Medicare


Mr ALEXANDER (Bennelong) (14:45): My question is to the Minister for Health and Aged Care. I remind the minister that new figures on the weekend showed Medicare investment and bulk-billing at record highs under our Turnbull government. Will the minister please explain the government's plans to build an even stronger Medicare?


Ms LEY (FarrerMinister for Sport and Minister for Health and Aged Care) (14:45): It is a great pleasure to take a question from the member for Bennelong, whose work on medicines and pharmacy is well known in this place. The member for Bennelong knows only too well something that underscores this government's commitment to health care—in particular, the sustainability of Medicare and the PBS—and that is that, in the last three years of coalition government, we have listed three times as many medicines as Labor did, at a cost of $4.5 billion. In fact, a health minister in the Labor government refused to list the recommendations of an expert committee because, remember, what you cannot pay for, you cannot deliver.

It is interesting, because this morning we dealt, in the first order of business, with bullying and thuggery on building sites across Australia; and, really, that was matched, well matched, by the bullying, thuggery and intimidation from Labor's union mates during the election campaign when it came to Medicare—sanctioned, endorsed, by members in this place, I am sure. And the reason I am sure is that, when the Leader of the Opposition was asked on 7.30

Ms Collins interjecting

The SPEAKER: Member for Franklin!

Ms Collins interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Franklin is warned!

Ms LEY: 'Is this Medicare sale really what you believe?' he said nothing. The bullying and thuggery of Labor's union mates, ringing up elderly pensioners late at night—

Mr Stephen Jones interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Throsby does not have the call.

Government members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Throsby will leave under 94(a). He did not have the call.

Opposition members: Whitlam!

The SPEAKER: Whitlam. If there is still a Throsby, don't leave! The member for Whitlam.

The member for Whitlam then left the chamber .

Ms LEY: It is extraordinary. I know there is sensitivity about 'Mediscare', because the fakery of Labor was well and truly revealed and is continuing to be revealed. Fake texts from a fake source, based on a false proposition, were not denied by the Leader of the Opposition.

The reality, as we all know, is that Medicare has never been healthier or had more spent on it than under the Turnbull government. In fact, in the last year, there were 17 million more bulk-billed GP consultations under us than there were under Labor. Record dollars spent on the health system mean a record level of investment, concern and commitment, which you do see from our side of the House. The politics of smear and the politics of fear, which are all that we saw from Labor during the election campaign, are going to be more than matched by our ongoing reforms and our ongoing commitment, by our investment in healthcare homes and in the Medicare benefits schedule modernisation, and by our investment of record dollars in mental health—in all of the things that we have started that we will continue and that we absolutely believe in.