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Wednesday, 13 June 1984
Page: 2911

Senator TEAGUE —Is the Minister representing the Minister for Health aware that the Federal Minister for Health, Dr Blewett, held a news conference in Sydney yesterday and bought into the dispute between doctors in that State and the Wran Government? Did Dr Blewett intervene because of the Commonwealth's interest in the public hospital system in the States or was he motivated by a desire to back up Mr Wran's big stick approach to the surgeons who refuse to accept the restrictions unilaterally imposed on them? Does Dr Blewett's involvement mean that the Commonwealth Government endorses the conditions of the public hospital service proposed for doctors in New South Wales?

Senator RYAN —Quite clearly, the Federal Government has an interest in the health care that is being offered to all Australians in all States and Territories of Australia. So it does not seem to me to be inappropriate that Dr Blewett has involved himself to some extent in a dispute which may lead to a deterioration in health services available to some Australians, in particular Australians who choose to use public hospital services in New South Wales. However, I do not have available at this stage of Question Time a specific explanation of the nature of Dr Blewett's involvement or what progress is being made as a result of Dr Blewett's involvement. But I will endeavour to get that information for Senator Teague before the end of Question Time.