Bill's Transcripts

Television- The Project - Tony Abbott’s GP Tax; Tony Abbott’s broken promise






SUBJECT/S: Tony Abbott’s GP Tax; Tony Abbott’s broken promise.


MATT DORAN, CO- HOST OF THE PROJECT: Now, we did reach out to the Prime Minister and also the Health Minister to speak about this but both of them declined. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten though does join us now. Bill, a huge backflip here for the Government but it seems to be a lot of semantics with the Medicare rebate being cut in this way. Isn't this just a covert co-payment?


BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Yes, the real issue here is that it's still a tax on going to the doctor and it's still a broken promise. And, of course, we all know that Tony Abbott's just trying to do through the backdoor what he would like to do through the front door. It's the thin edge of the wedge.


FIFI BOX, GUEST ON THE PROJECT: Bill, the Prime Minister has vigorously defended this move, saying that any savings will be directed to a medical research fund. What's your reaction to that?


SHORTEN: Well, to begin with, does anyone think that Tony Abbott will be doing any of this if he wasn't in political trouble? Tony Abbott's worried about protecting himself and his government. He is not really worried about protecting Medicare or sick people. Of course, he says that it's all about helping Medicare, but it's still going to put a tax on going to the doctor which has a big impact on people's cost of living.


CARRIE BICKMORE, CO-HOST OF THE PROJECT: You're the Opposition Leader, clearly health costs are sky rocketing. How would you deal with it?


SHORTEN: I don't know if there is the Medicare crisis that your question assumes, because if there was a health care crisis such as the Prime Minister wants Australians to believe, why is he putting the money he raises into a future fund to do research in the future. If there was a real crisis, why wouldn't he use the tax that he's putting on to pay the current bills?


DORAN: Mr Shorten, isn't it better that we have an optional charge, I guess, rather than a mandated one? I mean, how likely is it that the doctors actually will pass this payment on?


SHORTEN: How likely is it that they won't pass the payment on? It's hard to put the poor old GP as the tax collector. Either the GP takes a hit or he has to pass it on. I don't think it's fair of Tony Abbott to break his promise and make Australia's GPs, who do a great job, the new tax collectors for the Liberal Government, it's a broken promise after all.


DORAN: In anyway, it is certainly a big change in policy. We're grateful for your time Mr Shorten.


SHORTEN: Good evening.