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Wednesday, 14 September 1983
Page: 850

Mr CONNOLLY(2.21 a.m.) —This clause gives exclusive rights for medical insurance to be the preserve of the Commonwealth. As a result, we will see the transfer from the private to the public sector of at least another $1.5 billion. We will see a further increase in the power of the Department of Health over medical activities of the various professional bodies in Australia as well as over the people. This legislation effectively removes the freedom of choice which Australian people have traditionally believed they had with regard to their health. What is worse, the estimates of the cost in bringing in the Medicare arrangements are obviously incorrect. For example, they obscure the real costs of health care. The one per cent levy will raise only $1 billion per annum.

Dr Blewett —Mr Deputy Chairman, I raise a point of order. I was prepared to have a degree of tolerance, but the honourable member's statements bear no relationship whatsoever to the clause.

Mr CONNOLLY —It does, because it is relevant to the responsibilty of the Commission.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Millar) —I will hear the honourable member a little further. I ask him to be relevant.

Mr CONNOLLY —Thank you, Mr Deputy Chairman. The levy which has been applied falls far short of the fact that Federal and State expenditure is some $8 billion per year on health. Therefore, the Australian people have been given an unrealistic factor on which to make their decision. I say simply that the whole thing is a total subterfuge. Above all, it represents the classic example of double standards because of the significant loss of employment which will be caused as a result of the introduction of this legislation.