News Election 2016 Ex-PM Hawke returns to defend Medicare

Ex-PM Hawke returns to defend Medicare

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Bob Hawke has appeared in his first ad since he was Prime Minister to urge voters to back Labor to protect Medicare.

The 30-second ad, airing nationally from Sunday, features Mr Hawke sitting at a desk, warning of a coalition plan to privatise the publicly-funded universal healthcare system he introduced in 1983.

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“The Liberals were totally against it, and now the Liberals have set up a Medicare privatisation task force,” he says.

“Everybody knows you don’t set up a Medicare privatisation task force unless you aim to privatise Medicare.”

Mr Hawke, Australia’s third-longest serving Prime Minister, then urges voters to back Opposition Leader Bill Shorten in order to protect Medicare.

Health Minister Sussan Ley confirmed earlier this year the government was looking at ways to bring Medicare’s 30-year-old payments system into the 21st century.

The government had set up a task force to look into outsourcing the payment of benefits, but she insisted it was not privatising Medicare.

Labor has accused the government of harbouring a secret plan to privatise the system.

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