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Doctors ahead in slow early going

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Doctors and other professionals have emerged as one of the early winners from the 2013 Federal election campaign after Labor decided to defer its highly unpopular cap on tax deductions for self-education expenses.

While the AMA and more than 60 other professional organisations, business groups and education providers remain committed to having the measure scrapped, the Federal Government hopes to have drawn much of the short-term electoral sting out of the issue by holding the introduction of the cap over until mid-2015.

But, aside from this move – made on the eve of the campaign proper – the Australian Greens have made most of the early running.

Even before the election was called, they had flagged they would reinstate indexation of Medicare rebates.

Barely a week later, the Greens again grabbed the initiative by promising to establish – as per AMA policy – an independent panel of medical experts to monitor and report on health care for asylum seekers being held in detention.

They followed this up with a commitment to “stop the bombardment” of junk food advertisements on television directed at children.

The announcements overshadowed a commitment by Labor to provide $20 million to prevent, research and manage foetal alcohol spectrum disorder, which has blighted the lives of many children, particularly from disadvantaged communities.

Even less visible has been the Coalition, which has so far largely kept its own counsel on health policy.

Adrian Rollins