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Thursday, 17 December 1992
Page: 5315

Senator MACDONALD (12.43 p.m.) —On the other matter that the Minister raised, I understood the employees' representative at the committee hearing was not terribly interested in that particular matter. It really is a matter between the employers, who have to pay the premiums, and the Government. As far as the employees are concerned, their only concern is whether they are in fact covered should a catastrophe occur.

  By accepting the first amendment, I think the Government concedes, as we all do, that the employers are well able to cover the excess and it is really just a question of the Government insuring that it is not unreasonably high or unreasonably low and consulting with the employers who have to pay it so that they come to some agreement. As far as the employees are concerned, their principal concern is that they do get paid, and I think the Government and the employers would insure that with the raising or lowering of the amounts. As I say, whilst I do not think it was specifically put to Mr Byrne, he was there, he was participating very intelligently in the committee hearing and I do not think he was particularly concerned about the matter. In practice, no doubt the Government would give them a call.

The CHAIRMAN —Order! It being 12.45 p.m., I shall report progress.

  Progress reported.