THE HON CATHERINE KING MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND MEDICARE
MEMBER FOR BALLARAT
LABOR CANDIDATE FOR BRADDON
BRETT WHITELEY’S APPALLING RECORD ON HEALTH
The last time Brett Whiteley was in Parliament he enthusiastically supported the Liberal agenda to smash Medicare, rip billions from public hospitals and force up the cost of medicines.
Whiteley was a key cheerleader for the horror 2014 budget, including the $7 GP co-payment that would have effectively ended universal healthcare in Australia.
“The last thing I want is to get paranoid about a small co-payment today. If we conveniently today turn our backs on what I believe is a reasonable solution, we do that at our peril because Medicare is unsustainable,” he said.
Labor candidate for Braddon Justine Keay said: “Does Brett Whiteley still think our universal healthcare system – which is the envy of the world – is unsustainable? Does Brett Whiteley still think forcing up the cost of health care for all Australians is a ‘reasonable solution’? And does he still support a $20 GP tax, which he described in 2015 as ‘entirely necessary’?”.
“Brett Whiteley also supported Tony Abbott’s plan to rip $57 billion from public hospitals and an increase in the cost of medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, including for pensioners. And he never spoke out against the Liberal plan to axe bulk-billing incentives for pathology and diagnostic imaging, which would have hit people with higher out-of-pocket costs when they had vital tests and scans,” Ms Keay said.
“Does he still support taking a wrecking ball to Australia’s healthcare system?”
Shadow Minister for Health and Medicare, Catherine King, said the Australian people rejected these cuts at the 2016 election.
“But now Brett Whiteley wants to be a part of a Government that is still cutting billions from hospitals and continuing the Medicare rebate freeze until 2020. A Government that has also cut millions from the TazReach service that is supposed to give Tasmanians better access to specialist medical services,” Ms King said.
“Labor has promised to restore that funding, so that Tasmanians are not forced to travel to the cities or interstate for vital medical treatment. The Liberals have failed to match this commitment – and Brett Whiteley needs to explain why,” Ms King added.
Ms Keay said: “So when Malcolm Turnbull and Greg Hunt visit Tasmania today, will Brett Whiteley stand up for the people of Braddon and demand they abandon these cuts? Will he tell them they should look after the health of all Australians instead of giving big business an $80 billion handout?
“Or will he meekly capitulate and fall in line once again, leaving all Tasmanians worse off?”
THURSDAY, 14 JUNE 2018