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Wednesday, 29 September 1999
Page: 10912

Ms MACKLIN —My question is to the Minister for Health and Aged Care. Can the minister advise the outcome of his inquiries into what form of notes was made at his late evening meeting with the Royal Australasian College of Radiologists on 6 May 1998? Has the minister been able to confirm how many of the 31 suspect MRI contracts were taken out by members of the executive and negotiating task force of the Royal Australian College of Radiologists?

Dr WOOLDRIDGE (Health and Aged Care) —I did ask the department again yesterday after question time, and they informed me that no minutes or notes were taken, which is the reason why I have tabled two statutory declarations.

Opposition members interjecting

Dr WOOLDRIDGE —The meeting was an informal meeting, largely to say thanks to the College of Radiologists. I know that the shadow minister is interjecting that this is unbelievable, but that shows that she does not understand the way health works nor the way that government works. It is not routine or normal to take minutes of every meeting. It does not happen and it did not happen in this case. But you have two statutory declarations there from two staff members who were at the meeting.

The second thing she raised was whether I have confirmed how many machines were ordered by members of the executive. No, I have not, because I have not sought to interfere in any way with the investigation of the Health Insurance Commission. It is possible that there were machines ordered by members of the executive of the College of Radiologists. I would think that, had they done so, it would be highly improper. But it is possible that they did it. They were part of a negotiation which was specifically authorised by ERC.