Australia’s major nursing, medical and health groups today issued a joint call for voters to make saving Medicare their top priority in Saturday’s election.

Sharan Burrow, ACTU President said: ”This election is a ‘Medicare emergency’ — it could be our last chance to resuscitate bulk-billing, fix the hospital crisis and restore universal access to quality healthcare. On Saturday the ACTU urges people to vote for the political party with the best policies to save Medicare and ensure everyone receives good healthcare when they are sick, regardless of the size of their bank balance.”

Professor John Dwyer of the Australian Healthcare Reform Alliance said: “The Australian Health Care Reform Alliance, which consists of 25 major health, consumer and community organisations regards Labor’s health package as superior to the Coalition. Labor’s plans to reform the system are particularly welcome, as are commitments to:

  • Improve dental health,
  • Revitalise out-patient hospital clinics to enable Australians who
    can’t afford specialist care to access such services in the public system,
  • Establish a new partnership between the private and the public system to
    improve the situation for older Australians who often miss out on treatment.
  • Ged Cowin, Australian Nursing Federation said: “Nurses want to be able to provide high quality nursing care, and because of that are calling for the next Government to provide a health system that is properly funded, universal and well coordinated. Australia also needs an aged care system that truly values older people and the nurses who care for them and a skilled and sustainable nursing workforce.”

    Craig Thomson, Health Services Union said: “People need to vote with their heart and put health first. Hospital workers believe that Labor’s policy is better equipped to relieve the pressure on hospital emergency departments and hospital waiting lists. Our comparison of both the major parties health policies shows that Labor has an outstanding policy to restore bulk billing, expand Medicare and improve aged care services.”

    Con Costa, Doctors Reform Society said: “It’s time to end the lies on healthcare with Medicare now at the stage of Lazarus needing a triple bypass to survive. It is almost impossible to find a family doctor much less a family doctor who will do after hours appointments or see patients at home when they are in desperate need of an urgent house call. The Doctors’ Reform Society calls on the Coalition to come clean on their continuing agenda of privatising Australia’s health system.“


    Wednesday 6 October 2004 — 10.30am
    Prince of Wales Hospital (Randwick, NSW) — Emergency Department

    Media Contacts:

  • Sharan Burrow, ACTU President — c/- Susannah Greenleaf 0418 479
  • Ged Cowin, Australian Nursing Federation — 0417 053 322
  • Prof John Dwyer, Australian Healthcare Reform Alliance — ph 0413 002
  • Craig Thomson, Health Services Union — ph 0419 498 691
  • Con Costa, Doctors’ Reform Society — ph 0418 400 309
  • Judith Kiejda, NSW Nurses’ Association — ph 0414 674
  • More Information

    Labor’s Better Health Package Welcomed But Further Reforms Still Needed – a media release from the Australian Healthcare Reform Alliance.

    Nurses Support A Universal Health System – a media release from the Australian Nurses Federation.

    ANF Election Survey Results

    Put Health First Scorecard – members of the Health Services Union have looked at the policies of the major parties and given them a ranking.