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Wednesday, 14 September 1983
Page: 843

Dr THEOPHANOUS(1.23 a.m.) —We cannot allow the outrageous comments of the honourable member for Denison (Mr Hodgman) to go unchallenged. He appears to perceive socialisation under every bed. The situation seems to be that the honourable member has used the word 'socialisation' in discussion of virtually every measure that has come before the House of Representatives in the last two weeks. His whole conception of what constitutes socialisation is so incorrect as to be laughable.

Mr Robert Brown —It is paranoia.

Dr THEOPHANOUS —As the honourable member for Hunter says, it is paranoia on the part of the honourable member for Denison.

Opposition members interjecting-

Dr THEOPHANOUS —The Minister for Health (Dr Blewett) says that the honourable member cannot claim for Portnoy's complaint.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Rocher) —Order! The honourable member for Burke does not need any help.

Dr THEOPHANOUS —It is a little difficult to be serious when one is replying to the honourable member for Denison. The fact of the matter is that this is not a measure for the socialisation of medicine. If the honourable member knew anything about the systems which have socialised medicine and has compared what is happening here with what has happened in systems where medicine has been socialised even he, with his thick mind, would be able to perceive the difference.

The fact of the matter is that this legislation is designed to overcome the extraordinary problems and the complexities brought about by the multiplicity of mad systems created by the five different schemes of medical insurance of the conservatives. What we are doing in this legislation is putting some kind of rationale into the system. Some principle of efficiency and rationale has to be put into place. The conservatives seem to think that the principle of rationality or efficiency should not ever apply to anything. We will not be deflected from the task of establishing a national insurance system, because national systems are in the national interest. Honourable members opposite have never heard of the national interest. They think that anything that will maximise profit for a few small groups in the community is a sufficient reason to argue for it. They simply are not interested in looking at the national interest in relation to this matter.

Let me make it quite clear that we will proceed with this legislation. We believe its context is extremely fair. It takes into account the considerations of the medical profession. Under this legislation people have freedom to choose doctors, and doctors have freedom to charge whatever fees they want. All of these freedoms are part of this system. For the honourable member for Denison to claim that this is socialised medicine is simply absolute nonsense and total rubbish, and ought to be rejected.