With the Coalition returned in the narrowest of victories – at the time of writing, it had gained the 76 House of Representatives seats it needed to form Government – attention is now turning to who will be the Health Minister.
In May, Health Minister Sussan Ley told the ABC’s Fran Kelly on RN Breakfast that should the Coalition be returned to Government, the increased prescription co-payment and increased safety net would still be on the table.
“The measure is on the table and the reason why is that we are taking a responsible path back to a surplus,” the Minister said at the time.
“I had negotiations with my colleagues when the measure was in the Senate across the Independents, around where we might position additional payments and Safety Nets, that’s small, modest additional payments.”
Cabinet Secretary Arthur Sinodinos told the ABC Insiders program yesterday that the Coalition has a mandate to “put up all of the elements of the Budget” handed down in May.
Health stakeholders welcomed several aspects of the 2016 Budget; the Pharmacy Guild said at the time that community pharmacy small businesses were set to benefit from cuts to company and personal income tax, the increased tax discount and instant equipment write-offs.
But attention has now turned to the future of Sussan Ley.
In claiming victory, Prime Minister Turnbull has flagged changes to the Ministry.
According to the Australian conservative commentator Andrew Bolt, who has been deeply critical of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull during the vote-counting, the PM is now “blaming a woman for his own failures” and attributing the swing against the Coalition to the Health Minister.
“Liberal MPs who go along with this fraud of blaming Ley are party to a dishonourable act and will themselves deserve no support if Turnbull one day blames them, too, for his own failures,” Bolt wrote.
The AFR’s Phillip Coorey wrote on the weekend that “there is rampant speculation that Ms Ley will be shifted sideways for a more effective health minister, even though she was effectively gagged during the campaign when she wanted to speak out against Labor’s “Mediscare” campaign.
“Mr Turnbull said last week that the campaign had exposed health as a Coalition policy weak-spot.”