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Wednesday, 13 May 1970


Mr Les Johnson (HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - One of the reasons 1 have risen here is to give some of my colleagues a breathing space. They have been taken by surprise by this decision that they are unable to canvas the proposed amendments in a way that is traditional in Committee. In the short time available to me I would like to ask the Minister for Health (Dr Forbes) whether he could explain to the Committee the reason why he has departed from his own proposals in the Bill so far as the composition of this Committee is concerned.


Dr Forbes - Do you mean to mention this now?


Mr Les Johnson (HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not think the Minister has given any explanation as to why-


Dr Forbes - Were you not listening? That was the whole substance of what I said.


Mr Les Johnson (HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not think the Minister has given any explanation as to why he has jettisoned his previous prejudices and commitments. I think it is important, in view of the fact that the Opposition has not had the opportunity to outline clearly the amendments they propose to put and discuss, for the Minister to say what he has rejected, if in fact he has rejected, the proposal that the State Ministers for Health participate in these committees. I take it the Minister's silence means acquiescence and that the State Ministers are not to be included in these committees. I hold the view that for the Commonwealth to act in isolation in this matter is the very height of folly. The States could easily go off on a tangent in the classification of people in the medical profession with respect to specialities and general practice. This could cause all kinds of problems in the State legislatures.

I think the Minister would bc aware that the Opposition proposed to develop this point and in the confusion that has followed the guillotining and the manner of handling this legislature it has not been amplified in the way that might have been expected. I had not intended to speak on this point but 1 was impressed by the idea that State Ministers should be included. It is apparent to me that the whole thing is a complete shemozzle. It is very difficult for this Parliament to deal with this legislation when it is being amended by the Minister himself at this late hour. When honourable members have gone to work formulating amendments, for the Minister to come into the debate in this way makes a complete shemozzle of any approach to major legislation. We are entitled to some sort of comment on the amendments we have proposed, especially the one that deals with the involvement of State Ministers. I believe it is worthy of some explanation by the Minister for Health.







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