Tony Abbott may have survived the ‘near death experience’ of seeing off a leadership spill, but his own party has expressed to him, in no uncertain terms, that he is now ‘on notice’ to lift his game.
In response, Mr Abbott yesterday pledged that ‘good government starts today’ – and Australian Medical Association (AMA) President, Associate Professor Brian Owler, believes that a priority for the Government’s rehabilitation should be to review its unpopular health policies.
The AMA President has pressed upon the Prime Minister the need to consult closely with the medical profession on the controversial Medicare reforms – the handling of which to date has scarred the Government’s reputation in the eyes of voters.
“The Prime Minister said that ‘good government starts today’. Good health policy must also start today,” Owler said. “It is time to end the uncertainty about the Government’s Medicare plans.
“The Prime Minister must ditch the disastrous Medicare co-payment model, the $5 cut to the Medicare patient rebate, and the freeze on Medicare rebate indexation until 2018. Coalition members know that these policies are hurting the Government at the local level across the country.
“Voters want health policies that improve access to health care, not policies that make it harder and more expensive to see a doctor.
“Doctors want to provide quality care to their patients and communities, and do not want the viability of their practices threatened.
“The AMA held doctor forums in several States yesterday and the message from grassroots GPs was clear – the Government must scrap its potentially destructive Medicare changes. All of them.”
Apart from many other factors, such as the Queensland election result, the PM’s back-flipping on his paid parental leave scheme, and the knighthood for Prince Philip, it seems clear to many that the Government’s poor health policy was a major catalyst for the leadership spill ballot.
“Good health policy will restore confidence in the Government’s leadership and in the Government’s public standing,” Owler said. “The AMA is ready to engage with the Government to develop health policies that will ensure quality health service provision to the Australian community for the long term.
“As AMA President, I am available immediately to start the good health policy conversation with the Prime Minister,” Associate Professor Owler said.
Read the media release.
Mr Abbott has survived a potential leadership spill and has vowed to change his ways in order to better serve Australians. Reviewing his disastrous health policy seems a good place to start.
Since its introduction with the Federal Budget, the poor handling of the proposed changes to Medicare has been an obvious black mark against the Government. This issue affects all Australians – young and old – and if Mr Abbott wants to redeem himself in the eyes of voters, scrapping the Medicare proposals could do wonders for his reputation.
If the PM can somehow fix this problem, his stocks would no doubt improve in the eyes of his constituents, and that surely should be a priority for his flailing administration. Solving the Medicare issue also gives the PM a chance to prove that he can ‘socialise’ policy, by actually consulting with the health-care sector for the best possible outcome – a sustainable health system. It would also go a long way towards the PM regaining voter confidence and solidifying his role as a trustworthy leader of our country.
The Federal Government – and all Australians – will undoubtedly benefit from a rehabilitated health policy. Here’s hoping Mr Abbott can come through with the goods.
What do you think? If the Government scrapped its proposed changes to Medicare, would it give you renewed confidence in the current administration? Do you think fixing the Medicare issue should be a priority for the Government? Or do you think Mr Abbott faces bigger problems than healing our health system?