Govt holds course on $7 co-payment

Health minister Peter Dutton told the ABC last night he was optimistic about introducing the reform before 1 July, 2015, and said discussions with key senators were ongoing.

"I think we can negotiate in good faith, and in private, I'm encouraged by some of the discussions we're having with the independent senators, but as you point out, people publicly have made comments and I'll leave that to them," Mr Dutton said.

Asked if that was a hint Mr Palmer was being disingenuous in ruling out support for the co-payment, Mr Dutton said he couldn't comment on private discussions.

Mr Palmer's spokesman told MO the party was "firmly opposed" to the co-payment, and said there had been no change in policy.

The spokesman said he was not privy to negotiations that may or may not be taking place. And he would not comment on claims that Mr Palmer has declined to meet interest groups to hear their concerns about the plan.