Gillard urges AMA to befriend MLs

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard’s appeal to the AMA to back Medicare Locals met a cautious response last week, as the PM urged the association to view the new organisations as a “new and valuable friend” to GPs.

Ms Gillard made the peace-offering at an AMA parliamentary dinner last week, aiming to end months of vocal AMA opposition to MLs, partly based on concerns that GPs will lose board representation in the new bodies.

“Through dialogue and lived experience, we can give Medicare Locals a chance to prove themselves,” she told the event.

AMA president Dr Steve Hambleton told MO the association would work with government on the ML roll-out, provided the government protects GP involvement on ML boards. He also repeated his demand that the first 19 of 62 MLs should be assessed properly, prior to a national roll-out. 

“Our clear advice [to government] is that GPs in governance roles both in