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Thursday, 24 June 2004
Page: 31623

Mr ORGAN (10:42 AM) —The Greens unreservedly condemn the government and the opposition for these amendments and for increasing the copayment. Forget about all this political `who is the worst, who is to blame here?' The Greens are quite clear—and I think the community is quite concerned—about it all. The increase of $4.90 in the copayment for each script is going to affect those least able to afford it here and now—the poor, the sick, the unemployed and the elderly. As I said, the government and the opposition must be condemned for this. We heard gross hypocrisy from the health minister when he talked about the Leader of the Opposition losing his compassion credentials: where are the government's compassion credentials? The government is blaming the opposition here, but the fact is the poor, the sick and the unemployed in our community are going to be severely affected by this.

There is hypocrisy on both sides of parliament. We have a poverty crisis in this country. Just yesterday I attended the launch of the Vote [1] No More Poverty campaign by the Christian churches in this country, and here we are today in the parliament putting through a $4.90 increase in scripts. This is going to have a severe impact on ordinary Australians, and it is something that the Greens cannot condone at all. Forget about the politics, forget about the election campaign: we are talking about an extra $4.90 each time families have to get a prescription. This is going to have a severe impact on the poor, the sick, the unemployed and the elderly in our society, and I think the government and the opposition should be condemned for it.

Question agreed to.