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AMA in Action

AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton delivered a major speech to the National Press Club on 17 July in which he put health at the centre of the agenda for the forthcoming Federal election. The speech was broadcast live by ABC television, and was attended by journalist from national media outlets as well as representatives from key national lobby groups. In his address, Dr Hambleton called for national attention on preventive health care, medical service affordability, the damaging affects of the $2000 cap on tax deductions for self-education expenses, continuing improvements in Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander health, tighter controls on alcohol marketing and the sale of energy drinks, greater support for doctors providing care for chronic conditions, investment in GP practice infrastructure, direct clinician involvement in the design and implementation of electronic health records, scrapping the PBS authority prescriptions system and independent medical oversight of asylum seeker health care. Dr Hambleton used his speech to launched the AMA’s Key Health Issues For the Federal Election 2013 publication, which sets out the top health issues that the AMA wants to see addressed by all political parties in the lead-up to the Federal election, and beyond. The publication can be viewed at: keyhealthissues. Following his address, which was chaired by National Press Club President Laurie Wilson, Dr Hambleton fielded questions from leading health journalists. AMA Victoria President Dr Stephen Parnis, AMA NSW President Dr Brian Owler, AMA Treasurer Dr Elizabeth Feeney, AMA past president Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, and AMA Council of GP Chair Dr Brian Morton were among those who attended Dr Hambleton’s address. Dr Hambleton represented the AMA at a meeting with Shadow Education Minister Christopher Pyne in Adelaide on 25 July to discuss the $2000 tax cap on self-education expenses. The meeting, which was also attended by several delegates from the #Scrap the Cap alliance, was told the Coalition supported the call for the cap to be axed.