You are here

June 2021

DFAT to appear at first hearing for the Trans-Pacific Partnership inquiry

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will appear at the opening public hearing today for an Australian parliamentary inquiry looking at the merits of expanding the membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. The CPTPP agreement signed in 2018 is a trade bloc of 11 countries that includes Australia and is an export market of 500 million consumers worth nearly $14 trillion. The parliamentary inquiry will examine the scope for expanding the TPP beyond the existing membership of Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia and Peru to include new members. Find out how to view the inquiry by video at http://www.aph.gov.au/jfadt

Julian Hill MP to put crucial Motion for Julian Assange to the Australian Parliament this coming Monday 21 June - how you can help

Update, 16 June: (see comment) The House of Representatives Selection Committee has ruled that Julian Hill's motion cannot be put this coming Monday 21 June. That motion will now have to wait almost 7 weeks, until 9 August, in the next (joint - both Senate and House of Representatives) sitting of Parliament, before it can be put and debated!

New important initiative. Labor MP Julian Hill's private motion may finally force Australian parliamentarians to take sides for or against Julian Assange and lead to his being freed. Whether this motion is heard and debated depends on whether the House of Representatives Selection Committee allows it. We urge Australians to contact their local members and each other to get behind Mr Hill's motion, which calls for Assange to be set free from his illegal imprisonment, noting that he is the recipient of many awards for journalism, detained for political reasons through an abuse of power. If the motion is allowed through, then both sides of the house will be obliged to vote or abstain, and the Australian public will finally see what they are made of.

What's changing with Medicare? It's really hard to find out ...

"On the 1st of July, just a few weeks' time, we're going to see the biggest changes to the Medicare Benefits Schedule that we're aware of in the history of Medicare. Over 900 items are changing and this has a significant potential impact on patients. The problem that we're seeing, and the problem that we're calling out today is that Government have only just released these new changes to the schedule in the last week or so, leaving only a few weeks for doctors, health funds and others to determine what their fees are and what the arrangements will be for the future.

Now, the changes to the schedule are quite significant, including very significant cuts to some rebates that patients may expect for their surgery as a result of rule changes within the MBS. But the bigger problem is the chaos that's going to ensue because doctors can't tell patients how much they can expect to receive back from their health fund because they simply don't know. It's not the fund's fault. They haven't had a chance yet to develop their own fee schedules. It's not the doctors' fault because they've just got no information around which to have a conversation with their patients for surgeries that have already been booked post first of July. So our message to patients having orthopaedic surgery, also cardiac and general surgery, is that if you do receive a bill that is not what you're expecting, if your doctor is unable to tell you what your fees are, it's not the doctor's fault. It's not the health funds fault on this occasion, it's the Government's fault." (Omar Khorshid, President Australian Medical Association.) Read more on the AMA's site at "Dr Omar Khorshid - MBS changes and comments on quarantine," 6 Jun 2021.

Subscribe to RSS - June 2021