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Thursday, 17 December 1992
Page: 5349


Senator TATE —Some time ago Senator Knowles asked me a question about Med-Network Systems Pty Ltd. I have provided the honourable senator with a copy of the answer and I seek leave to incorporate it in Hansard.

  Leave granted.

  The answer read as follows—

Senator Knowles asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services, without notice, on 16 December 1992:

I wonder whether I will ever get an answer to that question. I wonder who formed the company, why it was formed and who the directors were. The answer that the Minister provided to me in writing said that MedNetwork is no longer owned by any of the original shareholders. That was not my question. I want to know who the original shareholders were, who the shareholders are today and whether Mr Lawrie Willett from the HIC happens to be one of them. Was this tendered for? If so, on what basis? How did the whole thing arise?

SENATOR TATE—The Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

MedNetwork Systems Pty Limited was formed by IBM (Australia) Limited, the Health Insurance Commission and the Australian Medical Publishing Company Limited. (The Australian Medical Publishing Company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Australian Medical Association.) Each of these three organisations were shareholders in MedNetwork Systems Pty Limited.

The company was formed because the shareholders considered that it presented a commercial opportunity for the sale of computer equipment and software to members of the medical profession. The software included a communication module which would allow doctors who wished to transmit their direct bill claims data to HIC via a "store and retrieve" mailbox system. This system ensured that data transmitted by a doctor to HIC could not be accessed by any unauthorised person.

The original directors were:

Messrs G. Nash and D. Docherty (nominated by IBM)

Messrs C.R. Wilcox and W.J. Locke (nominated by HIC)

Dr B. Shepherd (nominated by the Australian Medical Publishing Company).

Mr L.J. Willett, general manager of the Health Insurance Commission, was a director of MedNetwork Systems, nominated by the Health Insurance Commission, from 4 January 1991 to replace Mr Wilcox who had retired as general manager. Mr Willett is not and has never been a shareholder in MedNetwork Systems Pty Limited or Cloud 10 Computerware Limited which subsequently acquired ownership of the company.