Disgruntled Libs refuse to rubber-stamp Future Fund bill
Aggravated backbench MPs have stonewalled the federal government's attempt to fast-track the $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund outlined in the May budget.
In a rare show of strength amid burgeoning despair over the way their leaders have been selling reforms, the coalition's economics committee snubbed a draft bill to set up the future fund, saying more time was needed to consider the measures.
The move came as MPs recently expressed both uncertainty and confusion about the state of another one of the government's controversial budget bills – the $7 GP co-payment.
Shortly after the Future Fund measure was announced – which was to be funded by various health sector cuts and the GP fee – Treasurer Joe Hockey said it could pave the way for Australian researchers to find a cure for cancer.
"It may be an Australian who discovers better treatments and even cures for dementia, Alzheimer’s, heart disease or cancer," he said.
"If we start investing now, this new and historic commitment in medical research may well save your life, or that of your parents, or your child."
Medical research organisation Research Australia (RA) whilst 'championing' the idea of the fund has refused to endorse the government's funding approach.
RA's spokeswoman Elizabeth Foley said: "The government has got to find a socially acceptable way to fund it."