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Friday, 20 March 1987
Page: 1085

Senator REID —My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Territories. Given the current impasse between the Australian Capital Territory Health Authority and Canberra doctors, for how long can the Canberra public hospital system cope under the present situation, and what arrangements have been made to ensure that people who have placed their faith in the Government's Medicare system will be able to receive necessary medical treatment in Canberra hospitals while the disagreement continues?

Senator GIETZELT —Having regard to the very sensitive nature of the discussions that are going on between the affected parties, I think it would be bad tactics by any Minister to make any comments which may be construed as creating a climate that would not resolve the difficult situation that exists. Individual Ministers and members may have a point of view. They are entitled to express that point of view; I have no quarrel with that. I represent the Minister who is actually charged with the responsibility of conducting negotiations and I do not intend to enter into the public arena in that respect, although my views would probably be well known.