Selling the budget: Tony Abbott in Sydney today. Photo: James Brickwood
Prime Minister Tony Abbott took his budget sales pitch to a prominent Sydney heart research institute on Saturday to extoll the virtues of a $ 20 billion research fund established in the budget.
Mr Abbott, visiting the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in Sydney’s east, described the research fund, which draws almost all its funding from the proposed controversial $ 7 GP co-payment, as “world leading” and a “significant part of this budget”.
When asked about the prospect of passing the co-payment through a hostile Senate, Mr Abbott said he expected budget measures to “gain a passage” regardless of whether they are contentious.
“Governments get their budgets through,” Mr Abbott said.
“Sometimes there might be a little bit of refinement here, a little refinement there, but governments get their budgets through.”
Health minister Peter Dutton, who was accompanying the Prime Minister on a tour of the heart research clinic, said the fund delivers an extra $ 1 billion to be spent on medical research each year.
Mr Dutton would not be drawn on whether the $ 7 co-payment would be dumped if the government could not find Senate crossbench support for the reform, and instead blamed Labor for ensuring Medicare would become unsustainable.
“If the expenses continue to mount in what we spend on Medicare then Medicare will topple over, and Labor has no account at all as to how they are going to provide for Medicare going foward,” he said.