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Monday, 2 April 1984
Page: 1063

Senator PETER BAUME(8.52) —Now that the Committee has decided not to accept the amendments moved by the Opposition I would like to make it clear that the Opposition will be supporting the Bill because the provisions which are in it are, as we have said throughout, an advance on what was there. The amendment we moved last year is one which we support. We said it was not sufficient but it was an improvement. It seems to me that the most interesting part of this Bill, however, is not the provision for disallowance, which I say we are supporting, but the other provision which gives the Government a capacity now to avoid the confrontation with the medical profession simply by not requiring contracts to be signed. If that is the case it may be that the Government, if it makes the appropriate declaration in most of the States, may avoid the need for signing contracts, and this may avoid an imminent lock-out. As for the Territories, I understand that these new provisions will make it unnecessary for contracts to be signed in the Australian Capital Territory. I think this change in circumstance is something we would draw to the attention of medical practitioners. The Opposition will now certainly support the provisions for disallowance in the Bill.