BY SHUA GARFIELD
HOBART — "An attack on Medicare is an attack on the community itself", David O'Byrne, Tasmanian secretary of the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union, told a "Save Medicare" rally on October 22.
Delegations from unions, community organisations and political parties made up the bulk of the 100 rally participants. Speakers included Chris Brown from the Health and Community Services Union, minister of health and human services in the Tasmanian Labor government David Llewellyn, ALP federal member for Denison Duncan Kerr and Joan Berry from the Tasmanian Medicare Action Group.
Most speakers criticised the fact that the $7.5-billion surplus in this year's federal budget was being directed towards tax cuts rather than improved health care. Llewellyn pointed out that a recent AC Nielsen poll found that 77% of Australians would increased spending on health or education, rather than get a tax cut.
Speakers warned of the introduction of a US-style health system, in which the wealthy would enjoy world-class health care and the poor and uninsured won't be able to afford adequate services.
Berry called for Medicare to be extended to cover more services, such as dentistry.
From Green Left Weekly, October 29, 2003.
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