Medicare rorts by doctors across the country cost $8 billion a year


Doctors are rorting up to $8 billion a year from Medicare, according to the SMH and ABC’s 7.30, by billing dead people and faking patient records. The “leakage”, as the paper put it, is a third of Medicare’s annual budget. The figure comes from Margaret Faux, who has a PhD in Medicare claiming and compliance, and was backed by the former head of Medicare watchdog the Professional Services Review, Dr Tony Webber, He said many private clinics are “run by corporations, where their shareholders are overseas”, and argued Medicare wasn’t designed for that purpose. Tweed Health for Everyone, in northern NSW, one of the country’s largest clinics, is alleged to have claimed more than $1 million for services it either didn’t do or which weren’t claimable.

Speaking of rorts — the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) has finally been ordered to hand over the Gaetjens report into the Morrison-era sports rorts. Then senator Rex Patrick FOI’d the document in March 2020, which was denied by the PM&C because it claimed it wasn’t in the public interest (for us to know the depth of a taxpayer rort? Hmm). Patrick was blown away, and lodged an appeal to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner about the FOI. Fast-forward to now and it’s finally ruled the report is not cabinet confidential, Patrick writes for Michael West Media. It’s super important — the report gives transparency, but the whole thing also sets a precedent to prevent “future improper cabinet confidentiality claims by ministers and officials”. From rorts to price gouging and a Brisbane real estate agency has told landlords to raise their rents by 20%, saying tenants mostly agree because the rental market is in such dire straits, Guardian Australia reports. Tenants Queensland says it stinks: it argues rent increases above CPI should be allowed only if there’s been major work to the home to make it better. Available rentals in Brisbane are down 48% in 2022 after people flocked to the Sunshine State during the pandemic.


NSW Opposition Leader Chris Minn is on track to beat Premier Dominic Perrottet in the March state election in the two-party preferred vote, according to a poll from the AFR. Voters say they’re angry about the NSW government’s response to the cost of living and integrity issues — no doubt former Nationals leader John Barilaro’s NY trade role is still fresh in people’s minds… Minns is the preferred premier at the moment too, with a lead of 41% to Perrottet’s 38%. It comes after Minns promised 10,000 extra teachers and a locally built fleet of trains to replace NSW’s ageing lot, as The New Daily reports, tapping into two major protest pain points for the Perrottet government this year. The NSW government quickly promised to shift 10,000 temporary teachers into permanent gigs in response, while Education Minister Sarah Mitchell blamed unions for not doing it sooner.

So could the state Coalition fumble the bag 16 years since Labor won an election in NSW? With Labor in federally, and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’ likely win in November against Opposition Leader Matthew Guy, pundits say the stage is set. And Perrottet’s popularity hasn’t proven to be a strong suit. About 350,000 people voted for Gladys Berejiklian’s Coalition government in 2019 while voting for another party in the federal election this year, showing her hold on voters. Perrottet has retained only about 50,000 of that Berejiklian cohort, pollster Mike Turner said. It comes as Perrottet and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese are butting heads, The Australian ($) reports, after the premier felt short-changed in the new $9.6 billion infrastructure pipeline. NSW got 10% of the package but has 30% of the country’s population. The paper somewhat cynically points out that Victoria got 2.5 times more money, including funding for the con­tentious suburban rail loop project in Melbourne, just a month before the state electiion.


Torrential rain will “wreak havoc” across Australia’s east coast this week, according to forecasters at Weatherzone. It’ll hit the Northern Territory and South Australia first as the low-pressure system moves east, with the worst of it to pummel Queensland, NSW, Victoria and Tasmania for several days from Tuesday into Friday, the Daily Mail reports. Meteorologists at Weatherzone called it “what seems to be a never-ending conveyor belt” of bad weather, with up to 150mm of rain in Victoria and Tasmania possible, and at least 40mm forecast across other states. October rainfall records have been set in parts of inland NSW, The New Daily adds, including at Broken Hill in the state’s far west. Sydney also recorded its wettest year on record after only 10 months.

About 120 schools in Victoria are closed today, and the town of Echuca was evacuated last night as flood waters continue to rise, ABC reports. A former quarantine facility in Mickleham is being used as a 250-bed shelter, while 6000 properties were without power on Sunday, Guardian Australia continues. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese toured flooded areas in Bendigo and Rochester with Premier Daniel Andrews yesterday, describing the scenes as “devastating”, as CNN reports. Albanese said 100 ADF personnel were going in to help, and confirmed the disaster recovery allowance would be available for people in 23 local government areas. It’s a 13-week income replacement scheme, while the one-off disaster recovery payment of $1000 for an adult and $400 for a child has also been made available to people in the Campaspe, Greater Shepparton, Maribyrnong, Mitchell and Strathbogie areas. More than 9000 people have applied for emergency support payments so far.


Forget what you were told as a kid — sometimes talking to strangers can be very rewarding. Casual connections “are as vital to our well-being, growth and day-to-day existence as family and close friends”, according to Melinda Blau and Karen L Fingerman who wrote Consequential Strangers: The Power of People Who Don’t Seem to Matter … But Really Do, as The New York Times writes. The powerful chitchat can be had with nearly anyone: the person who cuts your hair, the person you always see at the gym, or the barista who makes your coffee. It was perhaps in the spirit of this casual connection that comedian Rebecca Shaw sought to find her new local cafe in Sydney after moving house, as she writes for Guardian Australia. After a bit of local research, Rebecca and her girlfriend happily settled on one. It was close to home, the coffee was great, and the baristas were chirpy. The pair told the staff their names for their takeaway coffee orders, and everything was going swimmingly.

After a few visits (and a few confusing moments), Rebecca realised something: every staff member in the cafe was calling her Rachel — when they cheerfully greeted her as she walked in, when they held out her coffee order, beaming at her. Rebecca was faced with a choice — create an embarrassing moment for everyone, or just go with it. And how often could one’s name really come up, Rebecca reasoned? Turns out: a lot. When a friend brought her and her girlfriend takeaway coffees, she asked him to use the moniker. When she’d meet — or run into — anyone at the cafe, she’d politely ask them to call her Rachel. “I began to have a few small regrets,” Rebecca writes. It came to a head recently when a staff member warmly delivered her a mug of coffee… with “Rach” written on it in latte art. Rebecca says the lesson is clear — in trying to avoid a moment of embarrassment, she’s practically in an episode of Curb your Enthusiasm now. But still, she refuses to correct the record. Unless the “absolute angels” at the cafe cotton on, “inside those four cafe walls – I’m Rachel”, she declares.

Hoping your coffee is lovely and hot this morning.


So why, during a war that apparently is getting worse, with bombs now falling in the capital of Ukraine, is anyone picking up the phone to ring the bloke who played a bloke who doesn’t actually exist?

Paul Murray

The Sky News host made the comments after Mark Hamill, best known for portraying Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, was made the ambassador for Ukraine’s army of drones. Wait until someone tells Murray about the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s illustrious acting career where he quite literally portrayed Ukraine’s president in a hit TV show.

Not-so-swinging ‘60s: how the miniskirt destroyed Australian manufacturing

The miniskirt is a mandatory part of any ‘those were the days’ 1960s montage. Somewhere between footage of the Beatles disembarking at JFK Airport and splayed tendrils of white and orange curling through palm trees you’ll get a shot of a pixie-cut model with a hemline way above her knees.

“The miniskirt has become a symbol of the ‘youthquake’ — greater permissiveness in the public square, the liberation of the female body from enforced modesty and passivity, and an explosion of youth-driven counterculture that would define the coming decades.”


Uganda orders 21-day lockdown in bid to contain spread of ebola (Al Jazeera)

Gunmen kill 11 at Russian army base in new blow to Moscow’s Ukraine campaign (Reuters)

[New Zealand] inflation is about to start coming down, economists finally agree (Stuff)

Uber Eats to process cannabis deliveries in Toronto through new Leafly partnership (CBC)

Xi Jinping opens Chinese Communist Party congress with warning for Taiwan (The Guardian)

Massive protest in Paris against inflation and climate crisis (Al Jazeera)

Sweden Democrats suspend official for insulting comments about Anne Frank (The Guardian)


‘Would you like lunch? Can I clean out the chook house?’: what flood survivors actually need after disaster strikesMel Taylor, Barbara Ryan (The Conversation) : “Having disorganised thoughts is a normal response to stress and trauma. We spoke to many flood survivors who felt as if their brains were “scrambled” during and after the disaster. Many said it had led to poor decision-making that left them facing a more complex and protracted recovery. For example, some who chose to delay evacuation faced trauma that could have been avoided, such as the loss of pets. Others regretted decisions made during the clean up.

“Some people had the added stress of having to decide if they must permanently leave their homes — because, for example, it is built on a floodplain or is too damaged to repair. This additional emotional strain was also experienced by survivors of Victoria’s Black Saturday bushfires. Cleaning up after the floods has been fraught. Many people didn’t take photos of their damaged houses before they were stripped out — and are now struggling to prove to their insurance company how badly their house was affected. Wonderful people helped with the flood clean-up — but in some cases, it meant everything happened too fast. Precious damaged items that might have been cleaned or repaired — such as photos or a grandfather’s timber chair — were instead chucked out.”

PM needs to address sexism in paid parental leave schemeRoshena Campbell (The Age): “If he’s serious about that, then he needs to do more than just extend the length of paid parental leave. He needs to remove the sexism that gives millionaires access to paid parental leave while middle-class families miss out. To get parental leave pay, the government applies an income test. But the test applies only to the income of the newborn’s mother. If she earned more than $156,647 in the last financial year, she and her partner get nothing. It doesn’t matter how much her husband or partner earns. They could be literally taking home millions, but as long as the mother’s income is less than $156,647, the family can get the government’s money.

“In his speech on Saturday, the prime minister said he wanted a “modern policy, for modern families” which will “support dads who want to take time off work to be more involved in those early months”. Amen to that, but if he’s serious about it, he needs to do something about a scheme that gives families with female breadwinners and stay-at-home dads nothing. To be fair, mothers can currently transfer parental leave payments to their husbands or partners if they are the primary carer. But again — only if her income is less than $156,647 a year. We all know (or are) a woman who goes out to work to pay the mortgage while her husband works on his many unproduced screenplays and collects rejection slips from The Monthly.”


The Latest Headlines


Kulin Nation Country (also known as Melbourne)

  • Leave extra time in your commute this morning — Extinction Rebellion Victoria will be disrupting traffic across the Melbourne CBD to bring attention to climate change.

  • The Stateless Children Australia Network’s Fadi Chalouhy, who was born stateless, will give a talk about his struggles and triumphs in Lebanon and in Australia. You can also catch this one online.

Eora Nation Country (also known as Sydney)

  • Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury Andrew Leigh will give a talk entitled “A Zippier Economy: Lessons from the 1992 Hilmer Competition Reforms” at the University of Sydney.

  • Radio announcer Myf Warhurst will launch her new book, Time of My Life, at The Vanguard.

Yuggera Country (also known as Brisbane)

  • Authors Jeni Haynes and George Blair-West will launch their new book, The Girl in the Green Dress, at Avid Reader bookshop. You can also catch this one online.

Medicare rorts by doctors across the country cost $8 billion a year Source link Medicare rorts by doctors across the country cost $8 billion a year

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