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Tuesday, 23 May 1972
Page: 1888

Senator JESSOP (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Has the notice of the Minister for Health been drawn to the latest statement made by the Leader of the Opposition in another place in which he states that the Australian Labor Party health scheme would be administered by a single health fund and that under the ALP plan people would be charged a levy of 1.3 per cent of taxable income? Did the Minister also notice that the ALP undertakes to provide families whose taxable income is less than $1,700 with free health cover? Will the Minister also respond to the reference made by Mr Whitlam to the effect that some 10 per cent of people are not in a voluntary health fund?

Senator Sir KENNETHANDERSONYes, I have noticed the statement which appeared in this morning's Press attributed to the Leader of the Opposition in another place. I respond to the question by pointing out that whilst the Leader of the Opposition in another place seems to make great play of his proposal that families with a taxable income of less than $1,700 a year would receive free health care, he conveniently overlooks the fact that this Government provides free health care to people whose income is less than $2,417, not $1,700.

Senator Murphy - I rise to a point of order. The Leader of the Government is not entitled to conduct a debate on health policy in reply to a question about what was read in a newspaper by a Government supporter. There are ample opportunities under the proceedings of the Senate to do that. It is not a proper use of question time that a Government supporter should ask the Minister whether he has seen a statement in a newspaper and that the Minister should answer that Mr Whitlam says so and so and the Government's policy is so and so. I submit that this is misuse of the time set aside for questions without notice.

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