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Government in total confusion over UMP.

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Stephen Smith MP Member for Perth Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing

30/2002 Tuesday 30 April 2002

Government in Total Confusion Over UMP The Howard Government today displayed its total confusion over the medical indemnity insurance crisis.

• They are confused over the urgent need for a short term solution.

Yesterday there was no plan, today there is talk of legislation.

The Government should release this legislation for public scrutiny immediately. They have had months to contemplate it. They should make it public immediately so that doctors continue to work confident about the legal framework.

• They are confused over a special levy on doctors.

“I have not considered and the Treasurer has not considered any special levy.” John Howard, 7:10am, Channel 9

‘Whether or not it [a levy] would be part of the overall plan to ask doctors to pay a levy … is simply not yet known or formulated.” Senator Coonan, 7:40am, Radio National

• They are confused over who to blame.

“The doctors were responsible for setting their own premiums and meeting their own payouts, and they’ve got themselves into financial trouble.” Treasurer Costello, 7:10am, Radio 2GB

“This is a problem that is not really the fault of any one government or group in the community.” John Howard, 7:10am, Channel 9

The Howard Government has been, arrogantly, asleep at the wheel on this issue for some time and now it is simply making up its response on the run.

**A transcript of this morning’s doorstop is attached.

Media Contact: Sean Batten (02) 6277 4108 or 0417 696 497