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Senate must stand firm against limited safety net.



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Michael Organ MP

Press Release

26 November 2003

Senate must stand firm against limited safety net Greens Senator Kerry Nettle has urged the Australian Democrats to live up to their promise to defend Medicare and not to rush into a deal with the government.

"To allow the legislation to pass before the senate inquiry has had chance to consider the government's proposals would be a slap in the face for those community groups and professionals eager to express their concerns before the bill is considered.

"If the Democrats are looking to improve the package they should join us in demanding universal access to bulk billing, not a safety net that cannot make up for the creeping destruction of bulk billing.

"The Minister's plan to turn the universal Medicare system into a welfare measure for some depends on the passage of this bill. This is not something the Senate should rush into.

"The Senate, including the Democrats, have agreed to send this bill to a committee.

"The Democrats should be in no rush to help the government dismantle Medicare. I urge them to take the time to participate in the inquiry in good

faith and deliver considered recommendations in the New Year.

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