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Tuesday, 2 December 2003
Page: 23421

Ms GILLARD (2:21 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Health and Ageing, and I refer to the registration form for his so-called safety net. It is called `Here is your chance to catch up', a clear acknowledgment that, under the Howard government, Australians are missing out on affordable health care.

The SPEAKER —The member for Lalor will come to the question.

Ms GILLARD —Can the minister seriously maintain that his bandaid safety net system that requires millions of Australians to fill in this simple and `cuddly' form is really the system we should have? Minister, wouldn't it be fairer and simpler to increase the Medicare rebate by $5 for all bulk-billing for all Australians?

Mr ABBOTT (Minister for Health and Ageing) —The fact is that, even if you did do exactly what the member for Lalor proposes, there would be no guarantee of universal bulk-billing. Members opposite are running around the place saying, `We believe in universal bulk-billing,' but universal bulk-billing is simply undeliverable. It was not deliverable by the former government and it is not deliverable by any government.

The SPEAKER —The member for Lalor has asked her question.

Mr ABBOTT —The member for Lalor asked me about the registration form for a safety net. I very much suspect that the registration form in question is a registration form for the existing MBS safety net—a safety net which members opposite support.