Abbott ‘committed’ to $7 co-payment

Mr Abbott today said the government remained “totally committed” to the GP co-payment, despite reports emanating from his own office that it had been shelved and the fact that the unpopular policy was being linked to the Victorian Liberals’ defeat at the weekend.

The government would stick with the policy “until we decide that there is an alternative way forward which, under all of the circumstances, makes sense”, he told reporters in Canberra.

Mr Abbott used the press conference to scrap the government’s proposed changes to Defence Force allowances and accept a softer provision for student debt reform, as sought by independent senators Jacqui Lambie and Bob Day, respectively.

He said he was surprised to hear last Thursday’s reports that the $7 co-payment was being axed because it remained part of the government’s policy, but he accepted it would be hard to get it through the Senate.