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Tuesday, 15 December 1992
Page: 5045

Senator TATE (Minister for Justice) (8.03 p.m.) —The Government will not be accepting this amendment. We believe that it restricts the definition of a public hospital service to mean a service for which funds are being provided for the provision of that service in that hospital for public patients. This is a more restrictive definition than the Government intention that a public hospital service should cover a hospital service provided in a recognised hospital or other hospital service funded by the Commonwealth or a State for the provision of hospital services to public patients.

  The purpose of the Government definition is to define the hospital services that will be the subject of the agreement between the Commonwealth and a State; to define the hospital services to which the Medicare principles and commitments will apply; and to define the hospital services to which the conditions established by proposed section 26 (3) to (6) will apply. As stated clearly in section 26, the Medicare principles and commitments, and the conditions established to give effect to those principles and commitments, are intended to apply to all eligible persons in respect of the provision by the State of public hospital services. I could elaborate on this, but I believe that I have sufficiently indicated why the Government cannot accept this amendment.