Abbott backs disability levy – for now

Prime Minister Julia Gillard last week pledged to introduce legislation, before September’s federal election, that would hike the Medicare levy by 0.5% to part-fund the $8 billion-plus a year DisabilityCare Australia scheme.

Her announcement came despite Opposition leader Tony Abbott’s assurance last week that a coalition government would ensure the levy rise was only temporary and would be axed once the budget returned to surplus.