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Dear Minister: where are the bulk billing figures?

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Shadow Minister for Health


Last Saturday I highlighted the fact that, eight weeks after the end of the June quarter, bulk

billing figures had not been released. Given that tomorrow is the day that the Premiers and

Chief Ministers will meet with the Prime Minister at COAG, it is hardly surprising that

Senator Patterson is preventing the release of the figures until after the meeting’s conclusion.

I note that yesterday the Minister indicated she would like to be remembered as the Health

Minister for Prevention. I have no disagreement with that - the Minister has demonstrated in

her two years in the portfolio that she is the Minister for the Prevention of bulk billing.

With the Premiers and Chief Ministers today unanimously calling for health reform to be top

of the agenda at COAG tomorrow, these bulk billing figures are a vital tool to assist them

make the case to the Prime Minister on health funding and the necessity for health reform.

Senator Patterson obviously prefers to prevent these statistics from being publicly available as

she continues to waste time and taxpayers’ money prosecuting a war with the States.

Federal Labor agrees with the joint statement issued by the Premiers and Chief Ministers

today. I call on the Prime Minister to agree to discuss health reform tomorrow with the State

and Territory leaders. A Crean Labor Government will work with the States and Territories

in a co-operative way on what is the biggest domestic issue facing Australia.

For further information contact:

Julia Gillard MP on 0417 361 637 28 August 2003

Jamie Snashall on 0407 438 746