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Thursday, 15 February 2007
Page: 81


Ms ROXON (3:09 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Health and Ageing. Didn’t the minister yesterday tell the House that, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, state government expenditure on dental services decreased from $374 million to $327 million between 2000 and 2004? Didn’t the minister wrongly use the out-of-date projected figures when the most recent Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data in this report shows the real figure is an increase from $374 million to $503 million? Why has the minister again blamed the states and why has he misled the House?


Mrs Bronwyn Bishop —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The member has accused the minister of misleading the House. That is a substantive issue and should be so dealt with.


The SPEAKER —I was listening carefully to the member for Gellibrand. Had she used the expression deliberately, yes, it would certainly have been out of order.


Mr ABBOTT (Minister for Health and Ageing) —I am amazed that the member for Gellibrand is defending the performance of the states on public dental health. The member for Gellibrand has been the first to claim that—


Ms Roxon interjecting


The SPEAKER —Order! The member for Gellibrand has asked her question.


Mr ABBOTT —there are 650,000 people on public dental waiting lists in Australia—


Ms Roxon interjecting


The SPEAKER —Order! The member for Gellibrand is warned!


Mr ABBOTT —and now she wants to defend that performance. She wants to defend the performance of the state governments, which have put 650,000 people on public dental waiting lists.


Mr Kelvin Thomson interjecting


The SPEAKER —Order! The member for Wills is warned!


Mr ABBOTT —The answer I gave was based on the advice I was given. It was the best advice I had at the time.


Ms Roxon —I seek leave to present the document, which can be found in the Parliamentary Library, in case his staff need it.

Leave granted.