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Tuesday, 27 November 1973
Page: 3881

Mr SPEAKER -Order! Does the honourable member claim to have been misrespresented?

Mr CHIPP - Yes, I claim to have been misrepresented by the very excitable Minister for Social Security (Mr Hayden). He stated this morning that I had exaggerated certain figures. I have been informed that his advisers have informed private hospital managements in metropolitan Melbourne that an additional 900 beds would be required on the implementation of Labor's health scheme. I have challenged the Minister, in this House and in an article in the 'Sunday Times', to deny that. In response to those 2 challenges, the Minister received a guided question this morning - I put it no higher than that - from the honourable member for Scullin (Dr Jenkins) asking whether these allegations were true.

Mr Martin - I take a point of order. Up to date the honourable member for Hotham has in no way stated in what manner he has been misrepresented. I suggest that the alleged misrepresentation should be the sole context of his statement.

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honourable member for Hotham will make his personal explanation.

Mr CHIPP - In case the honourable member for Banks did not hear, the Minister said this morning I had exaggerated figures. On that basis I claim to have been misrepresented. The facts are that I have been informed that his advisers have stated to private hospital managements in Melbourne the matters I have alleged. In response to the honourable member for Scullin the Minister said: 'I do not know where he got the figure from. Nine hundred seems a round figure; it is better than one thousand. In any event, he is exaggerating.' I immediately asked the Minister: 'Will he confirm or deny that this figure was given to private hospitals by his advisers?' He then went into an explanation - which I do not understand - about bed days. But then when I interjected and asked What figure did your advisers give?' he said: I don't know'. How can a Minister claim that I have exaggerated figures when he has not even bothered to check with his own advisers as to whether they had said that or not?

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