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Thursday, 14 May 1987
Page: 3163

Mr HODGES(10.11) —I want to add my considerable weight to the arguments just put by the honourable member for Barker (Mr Porter). The Nursing Homes and Hostels Legislation Amendment Bill is a very complex piece of legislation containing 45 clauses. Members of the Opposition have sought assurances on a number of those clauses from the Minister for Community Services, and the Minister has not responded to a number of queries raised. I am aware that the honourable member for Dobell (Mr Lee) did respond to some of them, but I think that is most unsatisfactory. I do not mean any disrespect to the honourable member for Dobell, but what we need is the organ grinder, not the monkey. I asked the Minister whether he would provide detailed answers to some of the inquiries that have been made during this debate, but he refuses to do so. It means either that he cannot answer the questions or he will not answer them. I think that is most unsatisfactory.

This is a multi-billion dollar business, and the Government outlays are considerable. There are some 70,000 to 80,000 people in nursing homes around Australia, and it is an outrage that the Minister refused to make reference to those clauses of the Bill in his summing up on the second reading debate. After all, the formula-that is, the standard aggregated module, or SAM, as he calls it-requires payment to all nursing homes throughout Australia on a standard basis. I wonder what is going to happen to those people affected and I seek the Minister's response in regard to those nursing homes in remote areas.

Mr Hurford —If you would sit down and give me an opportunity, I would do so. While you are talking, I cannot. Because of the time pressure I have not been able to get up. I have a Whip here who moved that the question be put.

Mr HODGES —I do not care what the Whip is doing; the fact is that these are very important questions that ought to be answered for all nursing home residents and proprietors around Australia, and I ask the Minister to do the right thing by his portfolio and by the people of this nation and answer these queries.