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Abbott gets cool response at science awards

Prime minister Tony Abbott has asked the nation’s top scientists to lobby Labor and Greens MPs to support a medical research programme to be funded by introducing charges to Australia’s free health care system.

Abbott used the Prime Minister’s Science Awards dinner in Canberra to urge those attending to support his proposed $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund, announced in the May budget.

The initiative will be funded by charging patients a $7 fee to visit doctors and medical specialists. But Labor, the Greens and the Palmer United Party have all said they will block the co-payment in the Senate. Palmer has told reporters the proposal is “dead” and there will be “zero compromise” on the issue by his party.

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