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11 Apr 2019

Australians have a date with the ballot box and health funding will be on their minds when they get there.

That is the message the AMA is sending to all political parties as the starter’s gun is fired on the 2019 Federal Election.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison visited Governor-General Peter Cosgrove at 7am on Thursday, April 11 to ask that Parliament be prorogued, and writs be issued for a May 18 election.

Trailing in the opinion polls and already notionally three seats short of a majority in the newly redistributed House of Representatives, the Coalition has a tough battle over the five-week campaign.

There will be a half-Senate election on the same day.

Mr Morrison appeared confident of victory when fronting the media from his Parliament House courtyard after returning from Government House.

“Keeping our economy strong is how we secure your future and your family’s future,” the Prime Minister said.

“Keeping our economy strong ensures that we can secure your wage, your job, your business and, importantly, the business you are going to work for today. Particularly, those small and family businesses out there employing more than half of the Australians who go to work today.

“And it’s also absolutely essential to guarantee the funding for the services that you rely on – hospitals, schools, roads, medicines, aged care, disability care – all of these now already at record levels of funding that only a strong economy can guarantee into the future. Not higher taxes.”

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, however, had his own message.

He said Australians had a choice between being stuck in the past and having a bright future.

“The case to vote Labor is that we will deliver more jobs, better health and education, take real action on climate change and renewable energy and help push energy prices down…” Mr Shorten said.

“If you want better than the last six years, if you want a fair go for all Australians, if you want a government who is united and not constantly trying to tear each other down, then vote Labor on May 18.”

AMA President Dr Tony Bartone said health policy from each of the major parties will play a major role in the election’s outcome.

He said Australians were acutely aware that the next government must invest heavily right across the health sector.

“Right at the top of the list is the call for significant investment in general practice,” Dr Bartone said.

“For many years now, general practice has been underfunded, devalued, disinvested and it's not recognised as the engine room of the health system.”

In releasing the AMA’s Key Health Issues for the 2019 Federal Election document (see separate story), Dr Bartone said substantial, well-targeted health funding was required and expected.

“Doctors are uniquely placed to comment on health policy. We have the daily lived experience to know what works and what doesn’t work. Our patients tell us what is good and bad about their patient journey,” he said.




Published: 11 Apr 2019