No Senate approval, no co-payment

The federal government reintroduced indexation of the fuel excise last month without legislation in a move that requires parliament’s approval within 12 months. But at a press conference in Canberra today, Mr Dutton ruled out going down a similar path with the $7 co-payment because of opposition from Labor, the Greens and crossbenchers in the Senate.

That followed repeated calls from the opposition for the government to rule out introducing “the GP tax via the back door”.

Through the Parliamentary Library, MO has learnt that while the government could not introduce a GP co-payment by regulation, it could still achieve the main cost-saving element of the co-payment plan — the reduction in the rebate of $5 — by altering the Schedule Fee listed in the MBS.

Mr Dutton said he was “not planning on cutting the [MBS] rebate by $5 through regulation” when questioned about it at his press conference today, but