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Wednesday, 20 May 1936

Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES (South Australia) . - I suggest that after the words, " medical practitioner " in paragraph r. the word " dentist " should be inserted. Provision has been made for the deduction of amounts paid to qualified medical practitioners, nurses, chemists, and public or private hospitals, but no such deduction is allowable in respect of payments made to dentists. This matter was considered by the Royal Commission on Taxation, which decided not. to include such payments because such a deduction is allowed by only one government. That does not seem to settle the matter, and unless such a deduction can be said to infringe some principle every government will be governed in its course by financial considerations. It is calculated that the deductions provided for in paragraph a will result in Commonwealth revenue being reduced by at least £300,000. It is obvious that no State, unless it is the rich State of New South Wales or the almost equally richState of Victoria, could afford to forgo such a large amount of revenue. This is a matter, not of principle, but of detail, in respect of which one government need not be bound by the decision of another government. It has been said that in many households the cost of dental attention is as great and in some instances greater than the- cost of medical service.

Senator Collings - Medical practitioners frequently send their patients to dentists.

Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES - The health of a person frequently depends upon the condition of his teeth. Years ago visits to dentists were not considered necessary, but if the health is to be preserved such visits are now regarded as essential. Medical practitioners often advise their patients to visit a dentist every six or twelve months. The payments made to dentists are justifiable deductions just as much as are those made to doctor?, nurses and others. In fact, the service rendered by the dentist may be more ' valuable than that given by the others.

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