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Friday, 3 December 1976

Mr Jull (BOWMAN, QUEENSLAND) asked the Minister, representing the Minister for Social Security, upon notice:

(1)   What are the rights of a member of the House of Representatives to inquire, on behalf of constituents, into specific cases in the Department of Social Security.

(2)   In particular, (a) can a member inspect departmental files on behalf of a constituent, (b) is a member obliged to deal only with a departmental head, (c) can a member require specific explanations or clarifications from departmental officers on cases in respect of which a member is making representations and (d) in cases of extreme hardship, requiring immediate determination can a member request immediate examination of a specific case.

Mr Hunt - The Minister for Social Security has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1)   The Director-General advises me that when the Department of Social Security receives an inquiry from a member of Parliament for information about a constituent the Department accepts that the member has the authority of the person to whom the information relates to obtain it.

(2)   (a) Clients of the Department have the right to receive a copy of any document provided to the Department or any statement made before an officer of the Department. A member of Parliament acting on behalf of a constituent would have the same right.

(b)   No.

(c)   Yes.

(d)   Yes and the Department would make every effort to respond.

Medical Claims Paid by Commonwealth (Question No. 1571)

Dr Klugman (PROSPECT, NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:

(   1 ) How many medical claims were paid by the Commonwealth and /or Medibank, including Pensioner Medical Service claims, for the half years ended (a) 30 June 1974, (b) 3 1 December 1974, (c) 30 June 1975, (d) 31 December 1975 and (e) 30 June 1976.

(2)   What was the number of claims for each State and Territory in the categories of services used in his answer to my question No. 8 1 6.

Mr Hunt - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(   1 ) The following table shows the total number of medical services for Australia for which Commonwealth benefits, Pensioner Medical Service benefits, or Medibank benefits were paid in the half years ended (a) 30 June 1974, (b) 3 1 December 1974, (c) 30 June 1975, (d) 31 December 1975, and (e) 30 June 1976. From 1 July 1975 the figures include optometrical consultations for which benefits were paid.


(2)   Details of the numbers of various types of services, as opposed to the benefit values of such services which were included in the answer to Question No. 816, will take some time to extract, because of pressure on computer resources. They will be provided as soon as they are available.

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