Speeches in Parliament
Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (10:55): We are on the eve of an election and a lot of issues will be discussed during the election period. I have put on record in this place many times the stark difference between Labor and the coalition when it comes to education. Today I want to put on record the stark difference when it comes to health care. In my first speech in this place I talked about the importance of money not determining what level of health care you get in this country. It seems that what I spoke about nine years ago will be a matter for debate in this election. It seems that the government is slowly walking away from the concept of universal health care. That was on stark display in the budget—the government is now planning to freeze Medicare rebates, which is really a GP tax by stealth. Reports today suggest there will be a $14 out-of-pocket expense for those who are currently bulk-billed, and for those who are already paying a gap one would assume that that $14 will be put on top of the out-of-pocket expenses already incurred. We are starting to see very much that the out-of-pocket expenses are going to be more than the Medicare rebate, which suggests that there is no real concept of universal health care anymore in this country.