Contributed from Victoria
The Department of Human Services has backed down from a threat to sue a public health campaigner for allegedly misleading use of the Medicare logo.
The Australian government solicitor has written to Mark Rogers on behalf of the department saying it has no intention of suing but asking him to add a disclaimer stating that his savemedicare.org website is not affiliated with Medicare.
On 16 November the department demanded Rogers remove the Medicare logo and “deceptively similar branding” and cancel the domain name of the website.
The logo appears as part of a banner containing the name of the health service in messages such as “more Medicare not less”, “keep Medicare universal” and “keep Medicare public”.
A campaign by GetUp, resulted in 37,000 signatures in support of Mark Rogers.
Layers for DHS said there was a “strong public interest” in avoiding confusion between the campaign website and Medicare and maintained that the use of the Medicare logo “could create confusion or uncertainty in the minds of at least some members of the community”.
A letter sent to Rogers says “We apologise if the more formal, legal nature of our original letter caused you unnecessary concern”.