The ALP’s hospital takeover plan has lead to vigorous debate at both federal and state levels. In Crikey’s continuing search for ALP policy detail, we have submitted the following questions to Nicola Roxon, member for Gellibrand and Shadow Minister for Health.

  1. Today’s AFR notes that a full takeover of the states’ hospital spending would work only if a Rudd Labor government won a referendum on the issue. Would a Rudd Labor government call a referendum on the issue? If not, how would a Rudd Labor government assume the legal and constitutional authority to implement its plan?
  2. As you understand it, what powers are required by the Commonwealth to achieve such a takeover?
  3. The Treasurer this morning claims the Government has considered similar plan in recent years but concluded “that the legal and constitutional risks were too great.” What makes the Labor plan different?
  4. Why wouldn’t the states take legal action to prevent a cut to the GST payments — in this case up to 40 per cent of their payments — to which they are legally entitled under the GST contract signed with the Commonwealth in 1999?
  5. What indications of support, state by state, for a Commonwealth takeover of public hospital spending has the federal ALP received? Have there been indications that the states would prefer $2 billion up front to reform their hospitals instead of a full Commonwealth takeover?
  6. What precisely does the ALP mean by “takeover” – full funding or full ownership?

Peter Fray

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