More than $77 billion worth of dental care will be covered by Medicare if the Greens hold the balance of power after the next election, leader Adam Bandt says.
The plan will enable Australians to receive Medicare-funded dental care and orthodontic treatment as well as oral surgeries, periodontics and prosthodontics.
Bandt will use a speech to the National Press Club on Wednesday to spruik the party’s policy and unveil its cost.
“Last time the Greens were in the balance of power we got dental into Medicare for kids, and now we’ll finish the job by getting dental into Medicare for everyone,” the former industrial lawyer said.
“In balance of power, the Greens will tackle the cost of living by getting dental and mental health into Medicare, fixing the housing affordability crisis and wiping student debt.”
The plan, which will cost $77.6 billion over the decade – or around $8 billion a year – will be funded by taxes on billionaires and large corporations.
It builds on the $5.8 billion pledge the Greens brought to the 2019 election which would have provided Medicare-funded dental care to all young people, aged pensioners, full benefit recipients and concession card holders.
The party is proposing a six per cent tax on the wealth of Australia’s more than 130 billionaires and a corporate “super profits tax”, which will force businesses to hand over profits after they make $100 million.
“The Greens will make Clive Palmer pay more tax so you can fix your teeth,” Bandt said.
At the last election, the Greens scored 10.4 per cent of the national primary vote, retaining Bandt’s lower house seat of Melbourne.
They also won Senate seats in NSW, Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia and WA.
The latest Morgan poll has the Greens on 12.5 per cent of the primary vote.
Bandt believes the upcoming federal election will end in a hung parliament, handing his party the balance of power to push through its proposed dental care plan.
Speaking on ABC radio this morning, Bandt said a majority was not likely in either the House of Representatives or the Senate, paving the way for his minority party to step in.
“The Greens are on track to be the biggest third party in the Senate ever, and in the lower house,” he said.
“No one party is going to have a majority in both houses of parliament after the next election, and the Greens are going to be the most powerful third party.”
Bandt is confident about the party’s prospects at the May 21 poll, claiming the Greens could pick up three new Senate seats, including one in Queensland.
The Greens are currently polling at 14 per cent of the vote in the Sunshine State, but Bandt said there was potential to win a Senate seat off One Nation.
While there has been a focus on teal coloured independents challenging high-ranking Liberals, Bandt said the Greens would still be the largest group of alternative MPs in parliament.
However, the rise of independent candidates was a positive sign.
“We welcome more voices in the democratic competition, including from these independents, and anything that increases the focus on the terrible climate policies of the government and the opposition,” he said.