Press Conference – Sydney – Wednesday 13 April 2022


SUBJECTS: 2022 election; Medicare; Scott Morrison; Alan Tudge.
JASON CLARE, LABOR CAMPAIGN SPOKESPERSON: Australia has one of the best public health systems in the world. And it’s because of this, it’s because of Medicare. It’s because of Bob Hawke and it’s because of Labor. It’s because of Labor that we’ve got a card like this, in our wallet, in our purse, in our pocket. It’s because of Labor that when we get sick, we pull out our Medicare card, not our credit card. And you’re going to hear more from Albo today about how we make Medicare stronger. How we take pressure off our emergency departments. 

The fact is the Liberals have never supported Medicare. In the past, they had policies to try and rip it up. And today, you still see their opposition to Medicare in the pressure on our emergency departments, in the increased out of pocket costs to see the GP, in their failed attempts to force Australians to pay a $7 tax to see the doctor. And frankly, in some of their candidates, like Dr Fennelly in Dobell, who still think it’s a good idea for Australians to have to pay a tax to go to the doctor. So, if you care about Medicare, there’s only one party to vote for in this election and that’s Labor. 

It’s day three of this campaign, and it’s day three of the Tudge cover-up. On the first day of this campaign, on Monday morning, Scott Morrison was asked “why was half a million dollars of taxpayers’ money paid out in compensation to a former Liberal staffer?”. The Prime Minister fudged that answer then, he refused to answer the question. He said it wasn’t his job to know why that money was paid out in compensation. Well, that’s wrong Prime Minister, it is your job to know. You’re the Prime Minister of Australia. He’s your cabinet minister. This was a former government employee, and this is half a million dollars of taxpayers’ money. Half a million bucks is not chump change. According to the legal definition that the Government uses, half a million dollars is a major claim. According to the Government rules, whenever they pay out more than $100,000 in compensation they need to get independent advice from lawyers about liability.

There’s a story in the Sydney Morning Herald today that says that under the Government rules, they can only pay out a major claim like half a million dollars, when they’ve got advice from independent lawyers that says there is a meaningful prospect of liability being established. A meaningful prospect of liability being established. That means that lawyers have been asked for their advice, and they have reached the determination that the payment should be made because there is a meaningful prospect that liability has been established. The Prime Minister has to answer the question. What the hell has happened here? If Alan Tudge did nothing wrong, why is half a million dollars of taxpayers’ money been spent in compensation? And if he did something wrong, why is he still in cabinet? The Prime Minister needs to answer these questions. Alan Tudge needs to answer these questions. He’s still on the ballot paper. He’s still running for parliament. If he’s running for Parliament he can’t hide from public scrutiny. It’s half a million dollars of taxpayers’ money. Australians have a right to know what’s happened and why this money has been paid. Thanks very much.