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Latham misleads on country health.

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MEDIA RELEASE The Hon John Anderson MP Deputy Prime Minister Minister for Transport and Regional Services Leader of The Nationals

23 August 2004 A96/2004


The Opposition Leader, Mark Latham, is continuing his policy of misleading at every turn, this time on Medicare and private health insurance, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, John Anderson said today.

Mr Anderson said he was appalled that Mr Latham would twist his comments on the value of private health insurance out of context for base political reasons.

For the record, this is the question and response from a press conference in Canberra this morning, on the subject of private health insurance:

JOURNALIST: Can I ask you a question on health? Mark Latham this morning said he wouldn't support the increase in the private health insurance rebate for country voters. Has he got an argument that perhaps the money's better spent on public hospitals, the public system?

ANDERSON: No, I don't believe he has an argument at all. I think country voters are very strongly supportive of the two-tiered system, and many people - and by no means all simply wealthy people - are members of private health, and you know maintain their private health, and believe very strongly in it.

"I did not suggest that we should have a 'second class system', as Mr Latham puts it. I made it clear that country voters support private health insurance on top of Medicare. And they do, although I would not expect the ALP to know that because they never talk to rural and regional Australians.

"The Australian Government was left with a dilapidated health system by the Hawke and Keating governments, and it is only after years of hard work that improvements are being seen.

"Mr Latham and his team have spent days telling us about how they believe honesty in public statements should be paramount. As soon as he is put to the test himself, he fails."

Media Contacts

Paul Chamberlin ( Minister Anderson's Office ) 02 6277 7680 / 0419 233 989