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Monday, 20 June 1994
Page: 1698


Senator PATTERSON —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Human Services and Health. I refer to the report of the government's caucus-ACTU working group, which states:

If there is a further decline in private insurance participation rates, which is shown to result in additional demand on the public sector, it is best accommodated with additional resources from the Commonwealth.

As the minister has ruled out raising the Medicare levy, what other taxes will be introduced or increased to fund the health care costs of the half a million people a year transferring from the private to the public system?


Senator CROWLEY —First of all, Senator Patterson's question jumps the gun. The minister, Dr Lawrence, has received that report. I am advised that it will be formally considered by government today, 20 June. Therefore, I am not in a position, and neither is Dr Lawrence, to comment on the detail of the report at this time, except to say that I will not—and, I am advised, neither will Minister Lawrence—encourage any of the speculation which has been running riot for the last few days. When that report has been dealt with by cabinet, I will certainly have more to say.