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Thursday, 15 June 1989
Page: 4162


Senator SHEIL(8.28) —The Minister in that statement has just admitted that he will distribute more than the $20m. The $20m will be invested and will earn money. The Minister has now said that all of that money will be paid out to the medical insurance companies as they get into a mess. On top of that, it is a one-off payment which he seems to think is some kind of act of grace following the drastic reductions in the Government's contribution to the reinsurance pool. At the present time it is only giving $1m, and after this $20m plus one-off payment the Government will cut out its contribution altogether and will leave the medical insurance companies, the new and closed ones, to fly with whatever feathers they have.

I am saying that $20m is obviously just an estimate of how much trouble the companies will get into. If the companies do not get into so much trouble, I take it that the Insurance Council, which will invest the money, will not dish out the whole $20m to the reinsurance pool. That is on the one hand. On the other hand, if the insurance companies are in more trouble will the Government help them out of that hole?