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Thursday, 12 November 1959

Mr DUTHIE (Wilmot) .- I wish to raise a matter which is important and which was brought to my notice during the course of the debate. This is a good chance to mention it. It concerns the 5s. charge and the people in the Common- wealth who are largely dependent on drugs to be kept alive.

Dr DONALD CAMERON (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) - I have just spoken on that matter in reply to the honorable member for Eden-Monaro.

Mr DUTHIE - I am thinking of epileptics and diabetics. Many of these people are living on drugs of various kinds. I am wondering whether the Government could give special consideration, perhaps before this bill goes to another place, to these people who are living on drugs and paying for them week after week in great quantities, just to keep alive. Perhaps they could even have exemption from the provisions of the bill if a doctor's certificate is presented to a chemist. These are chronic cases, in a sense. Perhaps the Government could help them to meet the great cost imposed upon them by granting them an exemption from the 5s. charge. The unemployed have a good case, too. They could probably be exempted also on production of a certificate that they are out of work and in receipt of unemployment benefit.

I want to thank the Minister for Health (Dr. Donald Cameron) for the way in which he has attended to his duty in this debate. He has given a great example to some other Ministers. I take this opportunity of bringing these two points to the Minister's notice and I hope that they will be considered before the bill goes to another place.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a third time.

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