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Tuesday, 10 September 1996
Page: 3831


Ms MACKLIN —My question is addressed to the Minister for Family Services. Given that the budget decision on nursing home entry is expected to raise $130 million per year from frail, sick, elderly Australians, how much on average does the government estimate—


Government members —Oh!


Mr ACTING SPEAKER —Order! Members on my right!


Ms MACKLIN —Shall I start again?


Mr ACTING SPEAKER —I do not think you need to.


Ms MACKLIN —How much on average does the government estimate each new resident will be required to pay?


Mrs MOYLAN —It really is very interesting that the shadow minister not only today but as she has been going around the country since the budget was announced keeps playing on this sick and frail aspect because it was the Labor government when it was in office that recognised that many older Australians as they become frail enter nursing homes and that those homes are to produce a homelike environment.

We have recognised that a significant number—about 50 per cent—of residents entering nursing homes are there for a stay of less than six months. In recognition of that, we have excluded them from paying an entry contribution fee. We will not allow proprietors of nursing homes to charge an entry contribution fee for people entering into a nursing home for a stay of less than six months.


Ms Macklin —What will they have to pay?


Mrs MOYLAN —They will not pay if they are there for a stay of less than six months. The entry contribution fee policy is not a compulsory policy. It is not under the hostel system.


Ms Macklin —You are going to raise $130 million.


Mrs MOYLAN —The shadow minister knows very well, as a consultant to the government, that this policy worked extremely effectively in the hostel sector. She is quite right in that it does have the capacity to raise $130 million a year. That is based on figures that are well known in the hostel sector today.


Mr Brereton —What are they?


Mrs MOYLAN —We have based our figures on the hostel sector and what that has managed to raise in entry contribution fees.


Mr Price —They are not the same.


Mrs MOYLAN —They are not such different systems. We have seen the systems become more close. The profile of residents in hostels and nursing homes is very close today. There is very little difference between the two.


Mr Price —But they are very different.


Mr Crean —They are not the same.


Mr ACTING SPEAKER —Order! The honourable minister will resume her seat. The honourable member for Hotham has been constantly interjecting, despite repeated requests from the chair to desist. I have refrained from naming him. However, I consider that his conduct is disorderly. In accordance with standing order 304A, I order the honourable member to withdraw from the House for one hour.

The honourable member for Hotham thereupon withdrew from the chamber.


Mr Price —Mr Acting Speaker, I raise a point of order. It is a deliberate untruth to say that there is no difference between hostels and nursing homes. It is a deliberate untruth.


Mr ACTING SPEAKER —There is no point of order.


Mrs MOYLAN —As I said, the system is well known. It was introduced by the Labor Party. They know very well what the situation is.


Mr Beazley —Mr Acting Speaker, I raise a point of order which goes to relevance. A very specific question has been asked in this place that goes to a statistic upon which those budget numbers were based.


Mr Reith —Mr Acting Speaker, I raise a point of order.


Mr Beazley —It is not a secret figure. It is capable of—


Mr Reith —Mr Acting Speaker—


Opposition members —Sit down! He has not finished!


Mr Beazley —It is a figure capable of being answered in this House and it is within the minister's jurisdiction.


Mr ACTING SPEAKER —There is no point of order.


Mrs MOYLAN —As I said, there are only certain circumstances under which the entry contribution fee can be charged. It is based on the hostel model, which they introduced.


Mr ACTING SPEAKER —I call the honourable member for Bowman.


Mr Beazley —Mr Acting Speaker, I raise a point of order.


Ms Macklin —Mr Speaker!


Mr ACTING SPEAKER —The honourable member for Bowman will resume her seat. I call the Leader of the Opposition on a point of order.


Mr Beazley —The point of order goes to a bit of fairness and decency in this place. The honourable member for Jagajaga stood and moved to this box and you were looking at her as she moved to the box to ask a supplementary question.


Opposition members —And you saw it.


Mr Beazley —Out of the corner of your eye, you then turned around and saw the honourable member for Bowman. The honourable member for Jagajaga was on her feet before that and you were looking at her. She should have had the call for a supplementary, under any decent courtesy.

Opposition members interjecting


Mr ACTING SPEAKER —Order!


Mr O'Keefe —You went on about decent standards in the parliament. What about this?


Mr ACTING SPEAKER —Order! The chair recognised the honourable member for Bowman. This is set out in the standing orders. She is the one I saw first. The honourable member for Bowman has the call.