Mr STEPHEN JONES (Throsby) (13:54): Being challenged by a high-profile National Party member in the recent elections means that I pay particular attention to the policies of the National Party, particularly their health policy. It reads as follows, that under a coalition government:
The Minister for Regional Health will give full-time attention to regional health concerns, and win for regional health a high priority in general health policy.
Apparently the wellbeing of regional Australians would be at the forefront of a Liberal-National Party government in health policy. However, in Senate estimates last week the minister for rural and regional health admitted that she was not involved in any discussions about the implementation of the new GP tax, nor was she privy to any discussions or advice on the impact that this tax would have on regional Australia, nor did the minister make any inquiries about its impact on regional Australia. Before the election the LNP were hopping from country town to country town, telling them that health would be the No. 1 priority. Now Minister Nash has admitted that she was not involved in any way in the No. 1 health priority decision of this newly elected government.
More than one million Australians live in rural and regional Australia. They already struggle to access primary health care that others in cities take for granted. It seems that there is a coalition government, but the Liberal Party are in charge and they are calling the shots on health.