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The order of the day having been read for the resumption of the debate on the question—That the Bill be now read a second time—

Debate resumed by Mr S. F. Smith who moved, as an amendment—That all words after "That" be omitted with a view to substituting the following words:

"the House, recognising that the provisions of this equitable measure will appropriately exempt some individuals, couples and sole parents from the levy and surcharge in line with movements in the consumer price index, supports the bill but:

(1) notes that the Government's overall approach to Medicare has seen the regrettable position where General Practitioner bulk billing usage has declined to only 74%;

(2) notes that the average extra cost to a patient for a non bulk billing GP visit is now $12;

(3) notes that those who can afford private health insurance have been subject recently to substantial increases in premiums, on average $150 extra per year;

(4) notes that pensioners and concession card holders and those families under financial pressures will suffer further as a result of the Government's latest budget measures, in particular the proposed 30% increase in payments for essential medicines; and

(5) calls on the Government to recognise the Australian community's belief in and support of bulk billing and Medicare and to accept that the Government must match that community commitment in its health policies".

Debate continued.

Question—That the words proposed to be omitted stand part of the question—put.

The House divided (the Deputy Speaker, Mr Barresi, in the Chair)—

AYES, 76

Mr AbbottMr DownerMr JullMr Pyne
Mr AndersonMrs DraperMr KatterMr Randall
Mr K. J. AndrewsMr DuttonMrs D. M. KellyMr Ruddock
Mr AnthonyMrs ElsonDr KempMr Scott
Fran BaileyMr EntschMr P. E. KingMr Secker
Mr BairdMr FarmerMrs LeyMr Slipper
Mr BaldwinMr Forrest*Mr LindsayMr A. D. H. Smith
Mr BartlettMrs GallusMr LloydMr Somlyay
Mr BillsonMs GambaroMr McArthur*Dr Southcott
Mrs B. K. BishopMrs GashMr I. E. MacfarlaneMr C. P. Thompson
Ms J. I. BishopMr GeorgiouMr McGauranMr Ticehurst
Mr BroughMr HaaseMrs MayMr Tollner
Mr CadmanMr HardgraveMrs MoylanMr Truss
Mr CameronMr HartsuykerMr NairnMr Tuckey
Mr CausleyMr HawkerDr NelsonMrs D. S. Vale
Mr CharlesMr HockeyMr NevilleMr Wakelin
Mr CioboMrs HullMs PanopoulosDr Washer
Mr CobbMr HuntMr PearceMr Williams
Mr CostelloMr JohnsonMr ProsserMs Worth

NOES, 58

Mr AdamsMs GeorgeMs LivermoreMr Ripoll
Mr BeazleyMr GibbonsMr McClellandMs Roxon
Mr BevisMs GillardMs J. S. McFarlaneMr Sawford
Mr BreretonMs GriersonMs MacklinMr Sciacca
Mr ByrneMr GriffinMr McLeayMr Sercombe
Ms CorcoranMs HallDr MartinMr Sidebottom
Mr CoxMr HattonMr MelhamMr S. F. Smith
Mrs CrosioMs HoareMr MossfieldMr Swan
Mr Danby*Mrs IrwinMr MurphyMr Tanner
Mr EdwardsMs JacksonMs O'ByrneMr K. J. Thomson
Ms EllisMr JenkinsMr B. P. O'ConnorMs Vamvakinou
Mr EmersonMr KerrMr G. M. O'ConnorMr Wilkie
Mr EvansMs C. F. KingMs PlibersekMr Zahra
Mr L. D. T. FergusonMr LathamMr Price
Mr FitzgibbonDr LawrenceMr Quick*

* Tellers

And so it was resolved in the affirmative.

Question—That the Bill be now read a second time—put and passed—Bill read a second time.

Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.

On the motion of Mr Slipper (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance and Administration), the Bill was read a third time.