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Senate blocks change to Medicare threshold levy « Previous | |Next »
September 25, 2008

I understand that the budget changes to the Medicare levy surcharge threshold were defeated by a single vote from Victorian Family First senator Steve Fielding.This was in spite of last-minute changes to the proposed legislation by Health Minister Nicola Roxon on Tuesday, which altered the new threshold for singles from $100,000 to $75,000.

So Family First sides with Coalition to block this compromise, which was based on indexing the Coalition's 1997 thresholds. It is the equivalent to a tax cut, and the Liberals are in the position of opposing tax cuts to prop up the private health insurance industry.Had the Bill passed, it would have delivered up to $1200 of tax relief to 330,000 people.

Senator Fielding defends his move by saying the Government had done nothing for lower-income earners who could be affected by higher health insurance premiums:

When you change it, you've got to be really careful that you look after those who will be worse off..hese are people vulnerable Australians, low-income earners and pensioners that are now going to have the rug pulled out from under their feet.

Yet health insurance premiums would be 2.5% p.a. (roughly $20) whilst around 70% of lower income earners do not have private health insurance. So Fielding is defending corporate welfare in the form of rent seeking from tax payers.

Health Minister Nicola Roxon will stare down the Senate, introducing redrawn Medicare legislation that will give effect to her compromise plan to slash a proposed increase in the Medicare levy income threshold from $100,000 to $75,000.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:52 AM | | Comments (4)


I was wondering if you could send me the e-mail address for your political blogger. I am writing from a British-based political website and wish to send you some information which I think you will of some interest.

Many thanks,

Esme Knight ~

Two separate issues.
Firstly the legislation itself. Wish I was bright enough to workout the esoterica the way Gary does.
Secondly the issue of Fielding himself: Hanson in trousers.
The bible bashers and righties of the ALP put him there. Anything but have to deal with an extra Greens or other centre-left senator. Anything but have to deal with environmental issues from the basis of environmental sustainability, rather than the privileging of vested interests, particularly the woodchipping/pulping industry that has had such a grip on the Southeastern states.
Couldn't get over the cras response of Sen.Wong to Sen. Milne the other day, in response to a fair question about Tassie carbon sinks.
Makes me wonder why ordinary Aussies should make a sacrifice as to global warming when Gunns billionaires are protected so assiduously by their lackeys.

Fielding is spinning exactly the same lines about this as the opposition, which sound as though they're fed to them by the AMA. Why Fielding bothers pretending to be independent of the opposition is anyone's guess.

Paul, I doubt Labor will make the same preferencing mistake again, especially since the Greens are picking up support the ALP is losing. They love to hate them, but they need them.

the script for the Liberals and Fielding is being written by the heavy handed private health insurance industry. Their politics is all about propping up the private insurance industry. The AMA supports it because it means more money for their specialists working in private hospitals.