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Tuesday, 12 June 1984
Page: 2876


Senator GRIMES (Minister for Social Security)(10.35) —I will read the letter with interest tomorrow. I am always interested when this matter is raised by Senator Townley or other people in this place. I think Senator Townley realises that one of the reasons there is no gap insurance is that there would be no inhibition against doctors charging what they liked under the system. I remind Senator Townley that, when Medibank was introduced, it was the Australian Medical Association and the medical profession which violently opposed the introduction of gap insurance because at that stage they believed it was important to have a gap so that people would know what they were paying. It is what I call the gipsy principle; they believe that good medicine can be practised only when their palms are crossed with silver. However, I will read the details of the letter, refer it to the Minister for Health, Dr Blewett, and share with him the irony of someone defending the medical profession in a situation which only a few years ago it opposed.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Senate adjourned at 10.36 p.m.