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AMA in the News

Your AMA has been active on policy and in the media on a range of issues crucial to making our health system better. Below is a snapshot of recent media coverage.


Doctors call for child detainee audit, Canberra Times, 2 August 2014

Australia’s largest medical bodies have demanded the Abbott government allow an independent group of doctors to investigate claims of mistreatment and abuse of children being held in immigration detention. The AMA said they are dismayed at the abysmal conditions and the length of detention for children.

Co-payment relief flagged, Courier Mail, 2 August 2014

The Abbott Government has given its strongest indication it will relax its $7 GP co-payment for some seniors and chronically ill patients after meeting with AMA President A/Professor Brian Owler. A/Professor Owler described his meeting with Health Minister Peter Dutton as constructive.

The lowdown on the high cost of surgery, Sunday Age, 3 August 2014

The market for surgery doesn’t work so well, because we tend not to shop around for an operation in the same way we might for other goods and services, AMA President A/Professor Brian Owler said. A/Professor Owler said it wasn’t possible for surgeons to publish their fees because the charge varied depending on each patient’s circumstances.

Inside the head of a brain surgeon, Sunday Telegraph, 3 August 2014

In a profile piece, the Sunday Telegraph provides a glimpse into the theatre of three-dimensional thinking with AMA President A/Professor Brian Owler.

Coalition MPs Break ranks on $7 GP charges, Sydney Morning Herald, 4 August 2014

The proposed $7 GP co-payment needs to be scrapped for pensioners, at least three of the Government’s own MPs say. The Government is in parallel negotiations with the Senate crossbenchers and the AMA on the $7 GP fee.

Medibank moves into GP care to push ‘quality’ deals, The Australian, 4 August 2014

Australia’s largest health fund, Medibank Private, has extended its level of protection and support for members, declaring better quality care the key to making the system financially sustainable. After meeting with the AMA, Health Minister Peter Dutton said he would consider its proposed re-design of the co-payment, and added private health funds were not part of the discussion.

Docs want climate on G20 menu, Courier Mail, 8 August 2014

The powerful doctors’ union is pressuring Prime Minister Tony Abbott to include climate change on the G20 summit in Brisbane. The AMA has backed an open letter to Mr Abbott from 12 medical and health scientists who argue climate change and health are interlocked with the global economy.

Storm over Abetz gaffe, Hobart Mercury, 9 August 2014

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Health Minister Peter Dutton have distanced themselves from comments by Tasmanian Senator Eric Abetz that appeared to credit a link between abortion and breast cancer. AMA President A/Professor Brian Owler labelled Senator Abetz’s comments as irresponsible and ideological.

Detainees get online medical check-ups, Age, 11 August 2014

Sick asylum seekers on Christmas Island are being offered video-conference appointments with specialists on the Australian mainland after damning evidence showed the deplorable state of medical services in immigration detention. The AMA cautiously welcomed the teleconferencing, provided the consultations were done thoroughly.

Docs vow to sway senators, Courier Mail, 12 August 2014

The doctors’ union has pledged to help the Abbott Government convince senators to vote for its Budget health reforms if its backs down on some controversial measures. AMA President A/Professor Brian Owler said if the Government agreed to his reforms, he would sell the merits to the crossbench to help the Government pass the measures.

$7 GP fee change flagged, Adelaide Advertiser, 13 August 2014

Pensioners could be exempted from the $7 GP fee as the Government tries to win the support of doctors and the Senate. Health Minister Peter Dutton is currently costing a series of changes to the $7 GP fee suggested by the AMA.

Medicare Co-payment will have devastating effect on indigenous health, warns Owler, Sydney Morning Herald, 13 August 2014

AMA President A/Professor Brian Owler has warned the Coalition’s proposed $7 Medicare co-payment could destroy recent gains made in Indigenous health by deterring people from seeking care.  


A/Professor Brian Owler, 4BC Brisbane, 1 August 2014

AMA President A/Professor Brian Owler talked about his meeting with Health Minister Peter Dutton regarding the future of the Federal Government’s planned $7 GP co-payment.

Dr Brian Morton, ABC Coffs Harbour, 6 August 2014

AMA Chair of General Practice Dr Brian Morton discussed adverse complications found to be caused by the blood thinner, Pradaxa. Dr Morton said Pradaxa had been linked to 280 deaths over five years, but the risk to benefit ratio needed to be carefully considered.

A/Professor Brian Owler, 6PR Perth, 8 August 2014

AMA President A/Prof Brian Owler talked about comments linking abortion and breast cancer. A/Professor Owler said there have been large international studies that prove there’s no link between abortion and breast cancer.

A/Professor Brian Owler, 5AA Adelaide, 13 August 2014

AMA President Associate Professor Brian Owler talked about the GP co-payment. A/Professor Owler said many people in the Northern Territory are accessing services funded by Medicare and bulk billing, and imposing the $7 co-payment on vulnerable patients would mean a partial de-funding of clinics treating them, as they would not be able to get the money off their patients.


Dr Brian Morton, Channel 9 Melbourne, 1 August 2014

AMA Chair of General Practice Dr Brian Morton talked about claims that statins are over-prescribed and not worth the side-effects they cause. Dr Morton said the side-effects of statins are minor.

A/Professor Brian Owler, ABC Sydney, 7 August 2014

AMA President Associate Professor Brian Owler talked about Medibank Private rejecting and delaying claims arguing that they are not clinically necessary. A/Professor Owler said it is a tactic moving Australia closer to a US-style health care system.

A/Professor Brian Owler, Sky News Sydney, 8 August 2014

AMA President A/Professor Brian Owler discussed comments made by Senator Eric Abetz linking breast cancer and abortion. A/Professor Owler said the comments made were irresponsible.

A/Professor Brian Owler, ABC News 24 Sydney, 14 August 2014

AMA President A/Professor Brian Owler talked about the Government’s proposed GP co-payment. The Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the NT has announced the 26 Indigenous health services it represents will not charge the fee in any of their clinics. A/Professor Owler said the health services stood to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars each because the vulnerable position of most of their patients meant they would have to absorb the co-payment rather than pass it on.