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Howard Wooldridge rift widens



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THE HON MICHAEL LEE MR MEMBER FOR DOBELL SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH

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HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE RIFT WIDENS

In question time today the Health Minister, Dr Wooldridge told the house that it would have been 'patently stupid' for him to have informed the Prime Minister of the health fund increases which he yesterday admitted he knew about during the week of the Budget.

As a result of his negligence, the Prime Minister misled the public on the 28th, 29th and 30th of August.

Rather than dismissing it as 'patently absurd' I am sure that the Prime Minister would have appreciated being informed by his Minister.

In the ultimate sign of the Prime Minister's lack of confidence in his Minister, Mr Howard refused to respond during question time to a question as to what Dr Wooldridge and his office had told him.

It is clear from the Prime Minister's actions that he has completely lost confidence in his Minister. He will second guess Dr Wooldridge's decisions on private health insurance premiums and no longer trusts his advice sufficiently to answer questions in the House on health.

Every day Dr Wooldridge claims that Labor's questions about the erosion of the health insurance tax rebate are a 'beat up'. He is by implication criticising the Prime Minister's intervention.

If health insurance is "absolutely on track" as the Minister claimed yesterday, why did the Prime Minister revoke the Department's delegation and ensure that he and the Treasurer would have to personally approve future fund increases?

10 September 1996

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