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Monday, 16 June 2008
Page: 4831

Mr TUCKEY (1:58 PM) —Mr Speaker, it is very kind of you to come in to hear me make a two-minute speech! Just in opening remarks about this dental bill funding, let me say it is an issue of philosophy over practicality. The issue of how the Australian government might in some way relieve people with severe dental problems who lack the financial resources to meet the costs involved today has challenged a number of governments. More recently, the Keating government implemented a program whereby, typical of the philosophy of the Labor Party, they would send, I think, $100 million a year over four years to the state governments to help them out. The member for North Sydney in his address this morning reminded us that it does not matter how much money you send to these public institutions. They actually only have 10 per cent of the dental workforce and you can double their pay but not their output. This, of course, is a critical issue when one looks at funding state governments to expand the service they already have. But further to this and, consequently, after a lot of deliberation the Howard government thought, ‘Surprise, surprise, the appropriate mechanism—

The SPEAKER —Order! It being 2 pm, the debate is interrupted in accordance with standing order 97. The debate may be resumed at a later hour and the member for O’Connor will have leave to continue speaking when the debate is resumed.