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Monday, 1 June 1998
Page: 4304

Mr LEO McLEAY (4:56 PM) —The motion on private health insurance put forward by the member for Stirling (Mr Eoin Cameron) is a matter that is important for this House to get on to. It is a matter that has been stood over from a previous discussion on private members business. A number of members at that time were taking account of it. It is a matter that today people from both sides wanted to talk some more upon. I did not originally intend taking part in this debate, but the person who was supposed to take part in the debate has not turned up. The motion states:

That this House:

(1) acknowledges that Australia's health system is reliant on a successful private health insurance industry complementing the public health system;

(2) notes with concern the neglect of the former Labor Government to stem the exodus from private health insurance between 1984 and 1996;

(3) calls on the Australian Labor Party to agree to supporting incentives for private health insurance as part of its policy platform at its annual conference in 1998;

(4) expresses its support for the incentives provided by the Federal Government for people to maintain private health insurance and for those who do not have it, to take it out;

It then mentions a number of other reasons why this government member thinks that somehow or other the previous Labor government was lacking. What the government member has missed is that under this government's stewardship private health insurance has gone down absolutely dramatically. For a government member to put forward such a proposition shows that these people do not even take any interest in what happens, let alone do what they are supposed to be doing. This motion is an absolute farce.

The member for Stirling and the member for Lindsay (Miss Jackie Kelly) have been in here supporting this proposal. Rather than attacking a former Labor government, they should be asking the Prime Minister (Mr Howard) and the Minister for Health and Family Services (Dr Wooldridge) why their proposals have failed. If the government member who was supposed to be speaking now had been in here, she would have been talking up their point of view, but she obviously does not believe in what the member for Stirling or the member for Lindsay have to say. I will resume my place. I am sure my colleague the member for Barton (Mr McClelland) will have a few things to say about this as well.