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Monday, 27 September 1999
Page: 8940

Senator CHRIS EVANS (5:29 PM) —I must say it makes a nice change to be patronised by Senator Herron instead of Senator Newman. I actually have a series of fairly serious public policy concerns with the proposition. I think a lot of the claims made by the minister either are not supportable or certainly do not conform with the letters that Senator Lees has given me.

The starting point would be to ask the minister—and the Democrats, I suppose—what revenue received by state public hospitals from private health insurance and veterans sources tells us about the demand for public hospitals. It seems to me that they are used in this agreement as being the same thing. Our concern is that public hospitals should be funded according to their usage. I am just not sure why you have chosen, as the measure that determines whether this measure has impacted on the use of public hospitals, this question of revenue from private health insurance and veterans sources. I suppose the first question to ask is whether that is what we should take as being the measure of usage of public hospitals and demand for public hospital services in this country. I am a bit confused.