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Funds agree to restrict advertising

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The Minister for Health, Senator Wade, announced to-day that the

voluntary health insurance organizations in New South Wales had responded to

his demand that they discontinue extravagant advertising campaigns in an

attempt to win new contributors.

"I believe it is important that every Australian should be fully

aware of the enormous advantages of membership of the hospital and medical

insurance schemes", said Senator Wade.

"It is also an essential part of the scheme that there should be

healthy competition— even keen competition— between the funds. I believe,

however, that this competition should take the form of endeavours to provide

more attractive benefits and services; not the seeking of additional member­

ship merely by the power of large-scale advertising.

"In all essential respects the benefits, offered by the various funds

do not differ materially. Each is required to offer contributors certain

basic benefits as a condition of registration, and the payment of Commonwealth

hospital and medical benefits, which now aggregate more than £ 4 0 million a year.

Every fund registered by the Commonwealth Government offers contributors a

most valuable form of assistance and security. There are, however, many

differences in marginal benefits, and it is through these that the funds

compete. ·

"It is important that every member of the public should be aware of

the benefits available, and the Commonwealth itself does a great deal to

make these known.

"I was disturbed, however, at the development recently, of extrava­

gant, large-scale promotions.

"It is quite true, as several spokesmen for the funds have pointed

out, that the additional advertising which several of them undertook did not

exceed and in fact was not likely to exceed the percentage of management

expenditure which the Commonwealth normally permits. I have freely

acknowledged this fact myself.

"However, ny approach to this question was that the spirit as well

as the letter of the management expenses requirement should be observed. I

felt that there should be no expenditure in any direction that did not directly

promote the efficient working of the voluntary insurance scheme and the

essential interests of the millions of contributors involved.

"I regard it as an important assurance of the basic stability of all

the funds that, without exception, they have accepted ny requirement that they

should limit their advertising to modest proportions, sufficient to keep the

public fully informed of the advantages of voluntary insurance, but not going

beyond that point."

8th November, 19 6 3 . . .