Government must rule out stealth GP, pathology and imaging taxes

Treasurer Joe Hockey has failed to rule out introducing, by stealth, the government’s highly unpopular and controversial new taxes on GP visits, pathology tests and imaging. 

Fran Kelly: Are you planning to do that, to introduce it without legislation?

Hockey: I am not speculating on what the outcome is.

                                                                       ABC Radio National 13 November 2014

Member for Griffith Terri Butler said this latest development showed the Abbott government’s arrogance, and the contempt it had for parliamentary process.

“The Abbott government knows how controversial and unpopular these new taxes are,” Ms Butler said. 

“Mr Abbott lied about the GP tax before the election, and he lied about it before the Griffith by-election – saying there was no plans to introduce it.

“Now, faced with the overwhelming rejection of the Australian people and the parliament, it seems the Abbott government is planning to introduce the GP tax by stealth, just as they did with the petrol tax. 

“If they can’t get parliamentary support for the new taxes, they should go back to the drawing board, not introduce them by regulation.

“This rotten GP tax is part of the most unpopular budget in the history of the federation. Mr Abbott has not made a case for it. There’s no evidence that it’s needed. 

“Why do the Liberals and Nationals want to make it even harder for households to cope with cost-of-living pressures by adding to medical out-of-pocket costs?

“It’s just another attack on universal healthcare. The Liberals can’t suppress their ideological hatred of Medicare. Medicare’s part of Labor’s legacy in making this nation what it is today, and Labor will always fight for universal healthcare,” Ms Butler said.

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