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Wednesday, 22 March 1972
Page: 780

Senator CAVANAGH - I ask the Minister for Health whether the Government, as told to the Senate on 5th May last year, by a process of discussion and persuasion saved medical patients additional costs. Was there a saving in medical fees, these being reduced from S35m a year to $10m a year because of an agreement to last 2 years which was finally reached between the Australian Medical Association and the Government? Will the Government be represented before the inquiry on medical fees, which is not a judicial tribunal which prohibits discussion, and will the Government use discussion and persuasion to prevent increases in fees, thus reducing the amount saved by medical patients last year because of the action of the previous Minister for Health?


I can make, this contribution: The first meeting of what Senator Cavanagh has chosen to call an inquiry was conducted in Sydney last Friday. As I understand the position, the Commonwealth sought leave to appear. That answers the first part of the honourable senator's question. As to the rest of the question, I could not presume to say in advance what points of view will be put to the inquiry before they are put before the judge.

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