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Labor's Medicare Alliance sham.

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Minister for Health and Aged Care LABOR’S MEDICARE ALLIANCE SHAM

"You know things are bad when your best mate in politics doesn’t believe you can deliver on your promises," Federal Health Minister, Dr Michael Wooldridge said today on news that the Western Australian Labor Premier, Dr Gallop, had described Labor’s Medicare Alliance as only an ‘in-principle agreement’.

"The Medicare Alliance is the central plank of Labor’s health platform and it has now been exposed as a complete sham by Kim Beazley’s best friend in politics, Dr Gallop who today in the West Australian Parliament said:

"It is an agreement in principle".

"And when asked about specific details, the Premier replied that the details would be worked after November 10 - so Federal Labor is not even prepared to tell the Australian public how their Medicare Alliance would actually work.

"Dr Gallop has exposed Labor’s ‘Medicare Alliance’ as nothing more than empty campaign rhetoric.

"And the actions of the State Labor Governments have shown that the Labor promise to increase both Commonwealth and State public hospital funding is a fraud. This year no Labor State Government has made provision for extra public hospital funding in the forward estimates of their Budgets as the Alliance would require them to do.

"The only State that is increasing its funding at a rate greater than the Commonwealth’s increased commitment this year is South Australia, under a Liberal Government.

"And in fact, the Beattie Government is reducing its own funding for the Queensland Public Hospital system by $20 million this year whereas the Coalition is increasing its funding share to the Queensland Government by $80 million.

"It is the Coalition that has provided record funds to the public hospital system, this year alone we are delivering $6.7 billion to the States and Territories through the Australian Health Care Agreements. When we came to government, that figure was $4.5 billion.

"Federal Labor’s rhetoric is not matched by State Labor’s actions. The Medicare Alliance promise is almost as good as the L-A-W income tax cuts promised by Mr Keating in 1993. Labor’s Alliance promise is obviously worth just as much as the Keating L-A-W tax cuts," Dr Wooldridge said.

Media Enquiries: Craig Simonetto, Office of Dr Wooldridge, 0413 722 281 24 October 2001