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Wednesday, 24 November 1965


Mr TURNBULL - This has increased to 70 years now. That is very good. The honorable member said that because of this increase in life expectancy we do not need so many doctors.


Mr Beazley - I did not say that. I said exactly the opposite. I said that the more you prolong life the more you have need of doctors.


Mr TURNBULL - All right. The more you prolong life the more you have need of doctors. Our life expectancy has been increased because we have had good research services and because we have virtually wiped out such diseases as diphtheria and tuberculosis, which used to kill thousands. This Government's activities in the field of medical research and in enabling young men to qualify as doctors have contributed towards our increased life expectancy. I agree with the honorable member in this respect.

On a few occasions I have pointed out in the House that it is sometimes difficult for people in country areas to obtain the services of a doctor. The increased amount of money being made available for teaching hospitals is greatly appreciated as it will enable more doctors to be trained. At present a young doctor may set up practice in- a country area, but he does not get many opportunities to further his studies there. As a consequence he moves to a city. Having become more expert in his profession, he does not return to the country. We are trying hard to bring more doctors to Australia from overseas, but everybody will be more satisfied if we can train our own doctors in this country. We have a better chance of doing this now that the Government is providing more money for this purpose. In his second reading speech the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) explained the Bill. The four Opposition speakers who have taken part in the debate did no more than explain the provisions of the Bill again. The Opposition has been moved to take part in this debate only because it considers that the recommendation of the Committee on Teaching Costs of Medical Hospitals regarding dentists should have been implemented at the same time as other recommendations. The Opposition has not been able to find fault with the Bill itself. I listened carefully to Opposition speakers. All they said was that the Bill should give effect to other recommendations of the Committee.


Mr Pollard - That is fair enough.


Mr TURNBULL - Of course it is. This is a progressive Government. It does not intend to implement all of the recommendations at this stage. Have the other recommendations been rejected? Probably they have only been postponed. The honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryant), who is smiling, said that the Government should adopt a progressive -and scientific method of dealing with these matters. I would like him to give me an example of the progressive and scientific method which the Government should have adopted. His was a statement without weight. Regarding recurrent costs, I think the honorable member for Wills said that they should have been provided for retrospectively, but the honorable member for Hughes (Mr. L. R. Johnson was delighted that they were provided for in the Bill. So it would seem that members of the Opposition cannot agree among themselves. No wonder they got far afield on many subjects.

I know that the honorable member for Fremantle never appreciates anything I say. Sometimes I disagree with Government proposals, but I think that my primary duty is to keep the Socialists out of government. So in supporting a minor Government proposal rather than an Opposition proposal with which I might agree, I am accepting the lesser of two evils. The" honorable member for Fremantle finds fault with my actions. But when his party was in government he did the same thing on many occasions. On dozens of occasions I have heard him say the same things as I have said.


Mr Beazley - I did not find fault with the honorable member.


Mr TURNBULL - Well, you appeared to.







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