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Tuesday, 13 June 1989
Page: 3829


Debate resumed from 8 March and 26 May, on motions by Senator Robert Ray:

That these Bills be now read a second time.

Motion (by Senator Boswell) proposed:

That the proposed amendments to Sections 3, 3a, 4, 5, 6, 12 and 36a of the Nursing Homes Assistance Act 1974, contained in clauses 55 to 61 of the Community Services and Health Legislation Amendment Bill 1989, be referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs for inquiry and report by the first sitting day in October 1989, with particular reference to the following matters:

(a) effects of the change from the existing system;

(b) the present established services and the effectiveness of the delivery of those services for the benefit of clients;

(c) the effectiveness of the proposed new guidelines under the Act;

(d) whether the delivery of services under the Act will be more beneficial to clients;

(e) the cost of change from existing services to the new services;

(f) the need for choice by individuals as to the type of accommodation that is best for their particular purposes;

(g) whether there is a limitation of choice under the new guidelines as opposed to the existing guidelines;

(h) the consequences of the relative degree for incapacity for intellectually disabled people, including the desirability of housing these people in existing-type accommodation, as opposed to the new type proposed;

(i) difference in capital cost and current funding between the existing and proposed systems;

(k) the optimal degree of care that may be maintained under the new proposals, suitable to the degree of incapacity;

(l) the benefits or the disadvantages to clients in exposing them to a change of lifestyle if the new guidelines were to be introduced;

(m) necessity for the contract in the changeover; and

(n) a comparative assessment of the advantages and disadvantages of the existing and proposed guidelines.

Motion (by Senator Puplick) proposed:

(1) That a select committee, to be known as the Senate Select Committee on Health Legislation and Health Insurance, be appointed to inquire into and report upon:

(a) the meaning of clause 10 of the Community Services and Health Legislation Amendment Bill 1989, (hereinafter referred to as ``the Bill'');

(b) the implications of clause 10 of the Bill for the medical profession in general, general practitioners in particular, and various categories of patients;

(c) whether the Senate should approve of clause 10 of the Bill, or whether the clause should be amended, and if so, in what respects it should be amended; and

(d) the effectiveness of the current health insurance industry structure, and in particular-

(i) the ability of Hospital Medicare to meet its two main objectives, namely, accessibility and equity, and the type of restructuring which may be necessary to assist in this regard,

(ii) the role of the private sector in providing hospital care and whether the current health insurance industry structure supports that role,

(iii) the relevance of community rating in a system which has Hospital Medicare as an alternative to health insurance,

(iv) whether the Federal Government has a role in supporting a health insurance industry based on community rating and now it can provide such support,

(v) what kinds and levels of benefits should be provided by health insurance organisations and the extent to which benefits should cover hospital costs,

(vi) the level of contribution rates required to be set by funds having regard to their own administrative costs, benefits payable and the willingness of people to contribute to private insurance funds,

(vii) the rules governing benefit payments and portability of fund membership,

(viii) the expenses incurred by funds in administration and management, including the payment of benefits and the level of reserves needed to ensure the funds' ability to meet their liabilities to contributors,

(ix) the investment policies, overall management, administration and financial operations of funds in relation to their reserves and other contribution moneys,

(x) the extent of effective contributor representation in the administration and policy making of the funds,

(xi) current recruiting activities employed by the funds and the extent and form of competition between them that is desirable, and

(xii) whether the interests of contributors would be better served if there were a greater or lesser number of registered organisations.

(2) That the Committee consist of six members, to be nominated as follows:

(a) three to be nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate;

(b) two to be nominated by the leader of the Opposition in the Senate; and

(c) one to be nominated by the Leader of the Australian Democrats.

(3) That the Committee may proceed to the dispatch of business notwithstanding that all members have not been duly nominated and appointed and notwithstanding any vacancy.

(4) that the Chairman of the Committee be a Government Senator appointed by and from the members of the Committee.

(5) That the Chairman of the committee may, from time to time, appoint another member of the Committee, who is a non-Government Senator, to be the Deputy-Chairman of the Committee, and that the member so appointed act as Chairman of the Committee at any time when there is no Chairman or the Chairman is not present at a meeting of the Committee.

(6) That, in the event of the votes on any question before the Committee being equally divided, the Chairman, or the Deputy-Chairman when acting as Chairman, have a casting vote.

(7) That the quorum of the Committee be three members.

(8) That the Committee and any sub-committee have power to send for and examine persons, papers and records, to move from place to place, to sit in public or in private, notwithstanding any prorogation of the Parliament or dissolution of the House of Representatives, and that the Committee have leave to report from time to time its proceedings and the evidence taken and such interim recommendations as it may deem fit.

(9) That the Committee have power to appoint sub-committees consisting of three or more of its members, and to refer to any such sub-committee any of the matters which the Committee is empowered to consider, and that the quorum of a sub-committee be a majority of the Senators appointed to the sub-committee.

(10) That the Committee be provided with all necessary staff, facilities and resources and be empowered to appoint persons with specialist knowledge for the purposes of the Committee with the approval of the President.

(11) That the Committee be empowered to print from day to day such papers and evidence as may be ordered by it, and a daily Hansard be published of such proceedings as take place in public.

(12) That the Committee report to the Senate on or before the first sitting day in September 1989.

(13) That, if the Senate be not sitting when the Committee has completed its report, the Committee may provide the report to the President, or, if the President is unable to act, to the Deputy-President, and, in that event:

(a) the report shall be deemed to have been presented to the Senate;

(b) the publication of the report is authorised by this Resolution;

(c) the President or the Deputy-President, as the case may be, may give directions for the printing and circulation of the report; and

(d) the President or the Deputy-President, as the case may be, shall lay the report upon the Table at the next sitting of the Senate.

(14) That the foregoing provisions of this resolution, so far as they are inconsistent with the Standing Orders, have effect notwithstanding anything contained in the Standing Orders.