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MEDICAL INDEMNITY AGREEMENT (FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE—BINDING COMMONWEALTH OBLIGATIONS) BILL 2002

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—And on the amendment moved thereto by Mr S. F. Smith, viz.—That all words after "That" be omitted with a view to substituting the following words: "while supporting the provisions of the Bill, the House:

(1) condemns the Government for not adequately recognising the medical indemnity insurance problem and not acting quickly enough to address its adverse effects, including higher medical costs and reduced availability of services for Australians and their families;

(2) recognises the ongoing problems in the general insurance, reinsurance and medical indemnity insurance industries and that confidence in those industries has been rocked by the collapse of HIH and the provisional liquidation of UMP/AMIL; and

(3) calls on the Government to:

 (a) assume a leadership role in the co-ordination of reforms necessary to State and Territory laws with the aim of uniformity in tort law reforms;

(b) consider putting in place a national scheme to ensure the long term care and rehabilitation needs of catastrophically injured Australians;

(c) ask the ACCC to ensure that whatever changes occur in medical indemnity insurance, no unfair or unreasonable oncosts flow to patients for the cost of their health care;

(d) play a more active role in bringing together medical defence organisations and representing them in negotiations with reinsurers;

(e) support APRA with appropriate resources to fulfil a greater regulatory role in medical indemnity insurance;

(f) require mandatory reporting of negligence claims and national data collection on health care negligence cases to help assess where major problem areas and issues lie;

(g) promote the enactment of national "open disclosure" legislation, including provision that an apology made as part of an open disclosure process is inadmissible in an action for medical negligence; and

(h) ensure that medical services provided by private hospitals, midwives, family planning clinics and aboriginal medical services are not disrupted due to a lack of appropriate and affordable insurance"—

Debate resumed.

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

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

AYES, 71

Mr AbbottMrs DraperMr JullMr Ruddock
Mr K. J. AndrewsMr DuttonMrs D. M. KellyMr Schultz
Mr AnthonyMrs ElsonJackie KellyMr Secker
Fran BaileyMr EntschDr KempMr Slipper
Mr BairdMr FarmerMr P. E. KingMr A. D. H. Smith
Mr BaldwinMr Forrest*Mrs LeyMr Somlyay
Mr BarresiMrs GallusMr LloydDr Southcott
Mr BillsonMs GambaroMr McArthur*Dr Stone
Mrs B. K. BishopMrs GashMr McGauranMr C. P. Thompson
Ms J. I. BishopMr GeorgiouMrs MoylanMr Ticehurst
Mr BroughMr HaaseMr NairnMr Tollner
Mr CadmanMr HardgraveDr NelsonMr Truss
Mr CameronMr HartsuykerMr NevilleMr Tuckey
Mr CausleyMr HawkerMs PanopoulosMrs D. S. Vale
Mr CharlesMr HockeyMr PearceMr Wakelin
Mr CioboMrs HullMr ProsserDr Washer
Mr CobbMr HuntMr PyneMr Williams
Mr DownerMr JohnsonMr Randall

NOES, 61

Mr AdamsMr M. J. FergusonMs LivermoreMr Rudd
Mr AlbaneseMr FitzgibbonMr McClellandMr Sawford
Mr AndrenMs GeorgeMs J. S. McFarlaneMr Sercombe
Mr BeazleyMr GibbonsMs MacklinMr Sidebottom
Mr BevisMs GillardMr McLeayMr S. F. Smith
Ms BurkeMs GriersonMr McMullanMr Snowdon
Mr ByrneMr GriffinMr MelhamMr Swan
Ms CorcoranMs HallMr MossfieldMr Tanner
Mr CoxMr HattonMr MurphyMr K. J. Thomson
Mrs CrosioMrs IrwinMr B. P. O'ConnorMs Vamvakinou
Mr Danby*Ms JacksonMr G. M. O'ConnorMr Wilkie
Mr EdwardsMr JenkinsMs PlibersekMr Windsor
Ms EllisMr KerrMr PriceMr Zahra
Mr EmersonMs C. F. KingMr Quick*
Mr EvansMr LathamMr Ripoll
Mr L. D. T. FergusonDr LawrenceMs Roxon

* 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.

Message from the Governor-General

Message No. 69, 27 June 2002, from His Excellency the Governor-General was announced recommending an appropriation for the purposes of the Bill.

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.