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Patterson: Medicare package designed for "la la land"

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Shadow Minister for Health


There has been another blow to the Howard Government’s Medicare policy - this time from Health Minister Kay Patterson herself.

Senator Patterson has admitted that the Howard Government’s Medicare package is an inadequate response to the Medicare crisis and not her preferred solution - saying that the package was designed for ‘la la land’.

Senator Patterson blamed the shortcomings of the Government’s package on the basis that she lived in the “la la land” of the Senate for six months of every year and admitted that the package had a “snowball’s chance in hell of getting through”.

Senator Patterson’s unusually frank remarks, made to a group of West Australian doctors, are reported in the current edition of health industry publication Medical Observer.

Senator Patterson also admitted that the Howard Government’s response to the Medicare crisis was “not the package that I would have originally wanted” and that “It is not everything I would have done had the world been mine.”

“Australians are very fortunate that the world is not in fact Senator Patterson’s,” said Julia Gillard, Shadow Minister for Health.

“While the Health Minister on her own admission lives in the ‘la la land’ of the Senate for six months of the year, Australians who exist in the real world are increasingly unable to access bulk billing and are being forced to pay more and more for necessary medical care.”

“If the Health Minister doesn’t have confidence in the Government’s Medicare policy, why should the rest of us?”

Labor is campaigning to save Medicare and is asking all Australians for their help. Australians should contact Labor’s Save Medicare Hotline if they:

• Haven’t been able to find a doctor who bulk bills and sees patients for free. • Ended up not seeing a doctor because they couldn’t afford to. • Went to a doctor who allows patients paying extra to jump the queue. • Went without something they really needed because they had to pay to see a doctor. • Ended up in a hospital emergency department because they couldn’t afford to see a doctor.

Labor’s Save Medicare Hotline can be contacted by ringing 1800 006 269 or sending an email to or visiting and following the prompts.

For further information contact:

Jamie Snashall on 0407 438 746 Wednesday 6 August 2003