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Thursday, 14 May 1970

Mr FOSTER (Sturt) - 1 desire initially to stale my shock at the fact that this Government has seen fit to deal with a measure such as this in the manner that it has. The Leader of the House sees fit to rise and restrict the time allowed for the debate. The Minister for Health (Dr Forbes) may laugh. Perhaps he should pay more regard to the psychiatric benefits that may (low from this Bill. I say quite clearly that members opposite allowed the Australian Medical Association a darned sight more time to consider this Bill than they have allowed us. I say to honourable members opposite, particularly to the one who has been interjecting-

The CHAIRMAN (Mr Lucock - Order! This subject matter has been mentioned on more than one occasion during the Committee stage. Strictly speaking it is not relevant to the clause under discussion. 1 ask the honourable member for Sturt to speak to the amendment moved by the honourable member for Capricornia.

Mr FOSTER - I thought I might get away from that briefly merely as a preamble to my discussion of what you, Mr Chairman, insist is the only subject before the Chair. But surely you would agree that honourable members ought to have some right to refer to what has happened in this chamber as a result of the absolute restrictions that have been imposed on us and which limit us to the narrow field covered by the amendment. What docs the amendment, to which you have seen fit to draw my attention, propose? I ask honourable members opposite who are interjecting to see whether they can answer in their own minds what is contained in the amendment. The amendment merely calls for some recognition of those who are engaged in an important area of medicine and health which this Bill overlooks and ignores. It is a pity that the Bill is not as representative of the health needs of the nation as it is of the boards of directors who are concerned with investment and what can flow to them from the Bill. Can anybody suggest that the Bill is representative of the health needs of the community? Certainly not! What, then, is wrong with the proposal contained in this amendment?

This debate has proceeded for some considerable time but most honourable members are not conversant with the way in which the Bill may affect people, because the Government has not spelt it out in simple terms. I can see flowing from this legislation all sorts of problems. However, I anticipate being dragged back to the amendment so T had better make some reference to it. It is a pretty shabby state of affairs when a man has to keep looking at a very small section of the Bill which is worthy of utter and utmost condemnation.

I>r Forbes - These are the rules of this Hou&e.

Mr FOSTER - The Minister for Health interjects and refers to the matter of rules. He breaks one by interjecting. If I may digress, the same as he has been allowed to do, let me say that the rules have been manipulated and, indeed - I do not like saying it - almost prostituted by members of the Government in relation to the whole of this measure. The Bill is not representative of even the type of thing that the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) put before the people of Australia prior to 25th October, and that was bad enough. The amendment, of course, proposes the appointment of 6 pharmaceutical chemists nominated by the Federal Pharmaceutical Services Guild of Australia as members of the Pharmaceutical Services Federal Committee of Inquiry. This is a very simple proposition. Members opposite say that every cocky, wheat grower or anybody who scrapes the earth shall be represented on all sorts of committees and bodies but in respect of the health of the nation, particularly as it applies to medicine, they say that doctors shall not be so represented. This is quite stupid to my way of thinking. However, if the power behind the throne of government has been so severe and has caused honourable members opposite so much worry over the last few months, the last few weeks and the last few hours until finally it put them in a spirit bottle yesterday or earlier this week by requiring amendments, that is all right, lt is no more than we can expect. At the same time the Bill is completely unrepresentative of the health needs of the community generally. The Liberal Party sees fit to refer to this as a national health scheme. How hypocritical! It is not a health scheme and it is not likely to be while honourable members opposite look at it as they have done right up to now.

Mr Reynolds - There is another amendment to consider.

Mr Buchanan - He has another 4 minutes to speak.

Mr FOSTER - And I will use them if I want to. Honourable members opposite are worrying about 4 minutes. They gave the AMA hours yet they give us only minutes. How hypocritical they are! This Bill ought to be tackled on the basis that it is to serve the interests of the people and not the AMA. Honourable members opposite know that as well as I do but the\ have not the courage to break away from their Party and say what is in their minds. I have heard them muttering in the corridors from time to time. Most of them have not the courage to stand in this chamber and represent the people as perhaps they would like to represent them.

Mr Buchanan - Mr Chairman, I rise on a point of order.

Mr FOSTER - You need not sustain the point of order because I have concluded my contribution.

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