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Wednesday, 2 February 1994
Page: 250


Senator RICHARDSON (Minister for Health) (6.54 p.m.) —Senator Lees has placed me in a difficult position because by moving these amendments she is seen as the consumers' advocate and I am seen by opposing them as being anti-consumer. That does place the government, and I think the opposition when Senator Herron responds, in a difficult position. I do not wish to appear to be, nor am I, anti-

consumer, but I do not understand how there can be a difference between the committee and the tribunal. They are considering the same matter. They are considering items that are, of their nature, technical—in some cases highly technical—and I think they will be much better debated by those who understand those technicalities.

  This goes back to what I said before. Even when dealing with the definition of overservicing it is not a matter of what a consumer believes to be overservicing. I find it hard to define it without the profession because it is the profession telling us what is appropriate, in the first place, and, by definition, if we are being told that, we are being told what is inappropriate. I find it hard to understand how we can go to consumers in this situation. It is the same argument as applied with the committees, so I still have to oppose it. It places us in a difficult position, and I wish that was not occurring.