All Australians deserve equitable, high quality, publically-funded health care services. The Democrats have called for reform of the health system to end cost-shifting, to set national standards, to set in place joint funding arrangements for all health services and to focus more on preventing illness.

Access to high quality care must be provided on the basis of need—not on an individual's capacity to pay. The Democrats oppose the private health insurance rebates and prefer to fund public hospitals and the public system.

Democrats Health Principles

The Democrats will work towards the development of a health system which:

Medical and Acute Care

Hospital emergency departments are seriously overburdened due to the lack of after hours availability of GPs, and the fact that many come here for treatment when they are unable to afford seeing a doctor elsewhere. The Democrats recommend the State government meets the funding requirements of emergency departments in order to appropriately serve those in need of their services.

Aged Care

There is an ongoing problem with people, who are waiting for rehabilitation or aged care beds, occupying acute hospital beds. Hospital-based health care is very expensive and will continue to rise owing to greater use of technology. Victoria's aging population could put further pressure on the public hospital system.

The Australian and Victorian governments need to provide funding for high quality residential aged care services regardless of an individual's capacity to pay. This would include ensuring sufficient nursing staff is always available. The Democrats support community and home-based aged care services and programmes that assist people to remain in their homes with confidence and comfort for as long as they wish.


There are fewer nurses in Victoria than any other state, with hospitals hiring nurses from agencies in other states. It is time for nurses to be recognised as an equal player in the health system with fairer wages and workplace conditions.

Public Dental Services

In Victoria people must wait up to two years for treatment by public dental services, and many more extractions are needed as teeth have decayed beyond repair. The Democrats believe that oral health is an integral part of general heath and wellbeing. We believe that all Australians have a right to affordable dental care to maintain their oral health. Preventing dental diseases is far more cost effective than treating such diseases once they have progressed. Poor oral health directly impacts upon the wider community in terms of the cost of care and pressure on public hospitals when called upon to provide emergency treatment. In the absence of direct Commonwealth assistance to public dental services, we believe that the Victorian Government should provide community health centres:

Mental Health

There is a critical shortage of nurses, allied health professionals, and psychiatrists in the public psychiatric sector in Victoria. A Commonwealth inquiry recommended funded scholarships for nurses in this area, and the Democrats support this recommendation. We also support additional funds going to universities to extend clinical education in rural hospitals. There is a need for housing and general support for de-institutionalised people with a mental illness and their carers.

Youth Suicide

20% of all youth deaths are from suicide. In some rural areas this rises to 40% with males. Youth groups are calling for funding for prevention programs to be matched with that of road safety, drugs and alcohol. The Democrats believe funds for early prevention and intervention programs are urgently needed.


With the current cost of care falling onto unpaid primary carers in Australia, this group currently provide approximately $30.2 billion in unpaid work. Palliative care depends largely on unpaid carers. However the health of unpaid carers is at risk, with many suffering from stress, exhaustion, adverse impact on close relationships and physical ailments. In Victoria, 3.6% of all carers are under 18, over 18% are aged 75 or older, and 15% of the poorest Victorians are carers. The Democrats support further development of quality and affordable services for carers, a Victorian carers policy, a state-wide carers issues centre, and a transport allowance. Long-term, we advocate better homes for carers, respite programs, and managed care programs.


HOSPITALS: The Democrats support-


The Democrats oppose the 30% private health insurance rebate and lifetime health cover and would re-direct funding to public hospitals and the public health system.

MEDICARE: The Democrats support-