Interview on Today with Karl Stefanovic
Transcript of Minister for Health, Greg Hunt's interview on Today with Karl Stefanovic regarding Strengthening the My Health Record legislation.
The Hon Greg Hunt MP
Minister for Health
1 August 2018
Topics: Strengthening Labor’s 2012 My Health Record legislation; by-elections; company tax cuts
Health Minister Greg Hunt has announced he will change the law to tighten privacy rules surrounding the My Health Record system. The Minister joins us now. Greg, good morning to you. What took you so long?
Well in fact, we’ve moved very quickly. We’ve had discussions with the AMA and the College of GPs, and they’ve put forward a sensible and reasonable proposal that we lift Labor’s 2012 legislation to match the practice, which is with six million Australians and six years of operation. No documents have ever been released without a court order, but we’ll enshrine that in legislation. That just gives additional reassurance and additional protection for all Australians and it was important to the medical community.
Even though there’d been no issues and the system has been operating exceptionally well for six years but also the other thing they asked was could we make sure that if somebody opts out, asks to have their record cancelled, it’s deleted forever. Previously it would have been kept for up to 130 years. Now, if you opt out, you either will never have a record or if you’ve had one, it will be deleted forever and I think those are two very important reassurances.
Clearly you thought the system was okay. Why the backflip then?
Well, I think we’ve listened and we’ve responded very quickly. The system had been operating under the previous government and throughout this government without issue, and there still hasn’t been a privacy breach, there still hasn’t been any document released and six million Australians have now signed up, almost a quarter of the population.
But the medical community said, for them, it was important to have the additional reassurance. And we responded within two weeks of them asking for that and they’ve been very constructive. And the real point here is these records can save lives.
They can have what you need in an emergency to ensure that there’s no medical issues in relation to medicines, where there are allergic responses or other questions. So, as the head of the AMA said, the system can help save lives, it can protect lives and it will mean that people have much more control over their own health. But everybody not only has complete choice, but importantly now there is a total guarantee that the legislation will match the practice. No release without a court order ever.
Okay. Talking of health news, how’s the PM’s health? The weekend must have absolutely knocked him for six.
Look, one of the things about Malcolm Turnbull is he is relentlessly positive and forward-looking. We haven’t had a...
He’s got massive dramas now, hasn’t he?
Not really, no. He’s as focused as ever on delivering outcomes that benefit Australians. If you create a stronger economy, you create more jobs. You can support the services. People have better lives individually and you’re then able to do the things, such as the listing of new medicines for epilepsy and diabetes, for new breakthrough cancer treatments. All the things we’ve done recently.
Minister, it must have seriously rocked the Coalition to its core, the weekend.
No, I respectfully wouldn’t say that because what’s happened is we’ve now had, I believe, seven by-elections coming from the dual citizenship issue. All of them have returned to the members that were elected at the last election.
So I think that is a very interesting observation that the public have simply said we voted for these people at the last election, whether it was the (inaudible) , the one independent – all of the four Labor MPs who were in breach of the constitution and the public has returned everybody that they returned at the last election.
Okay, finally, because I know you’ve got a flight to catch, are you still seriously supporting this company tax reform?
Yes, I am and we are. What we saw, of course, was Mr Shorten was going to abolish company tax cuts for small and medium family businesses. He backflipped on that because he realised that it would actually create jobs if you have it and it would hurt jobs if you didn’t. This is about creating job opportunities for as many Australians as possible.
Okay. Good to have your company today. That was the loud speaker calling you to your flight, so we’ll let you go, Greg. Thank you for your time today. Appreciate it.
Authorised by Greg Hunt MP, Liberal Party of Australia, Hastings, Victoria.