During this week’s Budget reply speech, Bill Shorten did not mention the word “dental” once.

Not one mention in over 4000 words.

It is clear Mr Shorten has gone out of his way to distance himself from the mess his Deputy Tanya Plibersek created when she was the Health Minister in charge of Labor and the Green’s child dental sham.

It’s no wonder, given Labor and the Greens ripped $1 billion out of Medicare for dental and instead
means-tested it – the opposite of the ‘universality’ Mr Shorten claims to stand up for:

“Labor will never attack Medicare.” Bill Shorten – 17 December 2015 – Press Conference

Ms Shorten clearly did not want Australians to know that Labor attacked Medicare for dental in Government.

Unfortunately for Mr Shorten, Labor also cut:
• $500 million from Medicare for Pathology tests.
• $664 million from Medicare from GPs.
• $450 million from Medicare Safety Net protections.

Ms Shorten is also undoubtedly wanting to avoid highlighting the repeated slip ups from Ms Plibersek and his current Shadow Health Spokesperson Catherine King, who have both embarrassingly confirmed less than a third of the 3 million children they promised would use Labor’s dental scheme actually did.

“3.4 million Children were able to go to their local dentist…there are still two million kids who have two months to get to the dentist before this scheme ends…”
Deputy Labor Leader Tanya Plibersek – 5 May 2016 – Morning Doors

“Labor’s dental program has provided 1 million Australian children with affordable dental care over the past two years.”
Labor Shadow Health Spokesperson Catherine King – 23 April 2016 – Media Release

Mr Shorten would have also been trying to run a wide berth from Labor’s child dental sham, given the $4 million worth of incorrect claims and rorting currently under investigation.

The Turnbull Government welcomes Mr Shorten heeding the Government’s requests not to reinstate Labor’s child dental sham in his Budget Reply Speech last night, however he must now rule it out for good.

The Turnbull Government is proud to deliver the largest-ever Commonwealth-investment in frontline public dental services to ensure those who need it most do not fall through the cracks.

This is the public dental scheme Labor should have introduced and we encourage them to do so.