The Federal government has defended its proposal to charge people an up-front fee to visit the doctor.
Minister for Health, Peter Dutton, said that the proposed $5 or $6 GP fee was a sensible way to rein in health spending.
“The government needs to be able to cover the cost of non-essential services like health. A modest co-payment by people who choose to go to the doctor is a fair and sensible way of doing that.”
Mr Dutton emphasised that the government was not picking on sick people, saying that an up-front fee should be charged for almost anything.
“Another obvious target for a co-payment is voting in Federal elections,” said Mr Dutton. “Australians already pay to vote for Big Brother and The X Factor. Given the huge cost of Federal elections, it’s crazy that voting in them should be free.”
Mr Dutton added that a $5 fee for casting your vote was still a lot more affordable than the current $20 fine for not voting at all.
Other potential targets for an up-front fee identified by Mr Dutton include:
– Using the ABC website
“Why should the government be giving news and entertainment out for free when commercial organisations like News Limited charge for it? A $5 fee to access the ABC website would help balance the budget and make it a fairer playing field for competing media organisations.”
– Following Federal MPs on Twitter
“People who follow Rihanna on Twitter already buy her music. Federal MPs get no financial compensation. If someone wants to follow politicians and reply to every tweet to say we’re dickheads, they should have to pay a modest $5 co-payment for the privilege.”
– Advocating same sex marriage
“It’s just an idea at this stage but anything that might discourage people voicing their opinion about controversial social issues is worth looking at.”