Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey has hit-out at critics of his new Medical Co-payments saying people should cut back on personal vices instead.

That provoked an angry response from the Opposition Leader who labelled Mr Hockey as completely out of touch with ordinary Australians.

Mitchell Van Homrigh reports.


Mr Hockey says it’s time for all Australians to act in the national interest and contribute to a better Australia with less debt.

Joe Hockey, Treasurer: “Is a parent really going to deny their sick children a visit to the doctor. Which would be the equivalent payment of a couple of beers or one third of a pack of cigarettes.”

He’s calling on the Opposition to show some courage in their reply and offer feasible alternatives.

Joe Hockey, Treasurer: “Either Bill Shorten is going to help try and fix it, or make it worse.”

The two per-cent deficit levy to tax Australians who earn more than $180,000 will affect over 400,000 people.

Bill Shorten, Opposition Leader: “He lied, and he lied, and he lied. He said that there would be no new tax increases, deficit levy, what weasel words.”

The Opposition Leader will deliver his Budget Reply in Parliament tonight.

Bill Shorten says his reply speech will articulate what Labor stands for and highlight the policy differences between the Opposition and the Government.

Mitchell Van Homrigh, QUT News.