March 10, 2014

Prime Minister Tony Abbott needs to come clean on his plans for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card after another damaging leak from the Commission of Audit indicated it’s in line for cuts.

When asked about his plans yesterday, the Prime Minister refused to answer:

REPORTER: Is your audit commission proposing a crackdown on eligibility of the Seniors Healthcare Card?

PRIME MINISTER: …what you will see on Budget night is a government which keeps its commitments.

“These comments do nothing to clarify the Government’s position, and leave senior Australians uncertain about how any changes might affect them,” said Shadow Minister for Families and Payments, Jenny Macklin.

“The Prime Minister needs to clarify his position – otherwise Seniors have every right to think his Government will make cuts to the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.”

This is the second damaging leak from the Commission of Audit in as many weeks. 

Two weeks ago we saw a leak recommending that the Prime Minister scrap his extravagant Paid Parental Leave Scheme.

However, on that occasion the Prime Minister was happy to rule out changes to his Scheme:

MR BOWEN: Given the revelation that the Commission of Audit has called on the government to dump its excessive, gold-plated Paid Parental Leave scheme, will the Prime Minister now abandon his signature policy?

MR ABBOTT: Well, no, I will not.

“Why won’t the Prime Minister give the same certainty to retirees and come clean about his plans for the health card?” said Ms Macklin.

“This government already has plans to dismantle Medicare, driving up costs and reducing access to health services.  Placing restrictions on the Seniors Health Card will only further marginalise thousands of vulnerable Australians” said Shadow Minister for Health Catherine King.

“Instead of being open with the Australian people decisions are being made in secret, which is fast becoming a characteristic of this government” Ms King said.

The Government should stop hiding, release the Commission of Audit’s report and start explaining to the Australian people how they will be affected by this Government’s cuts.

10 March 2014

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