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 10 HEALTH AND AGEING LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2003

The order of the day having been read for the second reading—Ms Worth (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing) moved—That the Bill be now read a second time.

Paper

Ms Worth presented an explanatory memorandum to the Bill.

Debate ensued.

Ms Gillard moved, as an amendment—That all words after "That" be omitted with a view to substituting the following words: "whilst not declining to give the Bill a second reading, the House condemns the Government for:

(1) planning to cover up bulk billing figures by electorate until after the next election;

(2) causing a bulk billing crisis;

(3) trying to divert attention from its plans to destroy Medicare by introducing so-called `safety net' arrangements which will make 98% of Australians worse off and which will waste $72 million of precious health dollars on administration; and

(4) consistently ignoring the advice of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee thus depriving many sick Australians of affordable access to cost-effective medications while agreeing to a Free Trade Agreement with the USA which:

 (a) has the potential to undermine the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme over time through the establishment of an on going Australia/USA Medicines Working Group;

(b) has ensured US Pharmaceutical companies can challenge the decisions of the expert committees that advise government on PBS listing and price;

(c) may force changes to the current Australian blood plasma fractionation arrangements with consequences for the safety of blood products; and

(d) may result in job losses in Australian firms which manufacture generic medicines as a result of changes to patents and intellectual property protection".

Debate continued.

Debate adjourned (Mr Ruddock—Attorney-General), and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour this day.