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Thursday, 30 June 1949


Mr GULLETT - I submit there is a parallel to be shown. A doctor who does not comply with this law is liable to a penalty of £50.

Mr Spender - Individually.

Mr GULLETT - Yes. I should like to know whether that penalty will be enforced. I invite the Minister to answer that question, but I dare say-

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order ! I remind the honorable member that all interjections are disorderly.

Mr GULLETT - I dare say that the Minister will reply to this effect, " Of course the Government will enforce the penalty ". In that event, why does not the Government enforce penalties against other sections of the community who break the law? Of course, there is one significant difference between the coalminers and the doctors. After all, the doctors are a law-abiding section of the community, and they have a high regard for the welfare of the people. They are the section who, whatever this idiotic Government may do, will continue to perform their duties to the best of their ability, and the Government knows it perfectly well. But the doctors are not numerous, and, therefore, the Government is very bold in threatening them with this legislation. The Government says, " Come into line at once, or we will bang down on you, not as an association of medical practitioners, but as individuals, to the tune of £50 every time you break the law ". The coal-miners are more numerous than the doctors, and the miners' federation is a more powerful organization that the British Medical Association is. The miners' federation is completely without scruple, and is prepared to do anything to this community in order to get its way. The Government treats the miners with the utmost respect, and a couple of days ago we witnessed the contemptible spectacle of the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) declaring that history showed that public opinion seldom supported prosecutions against those who broke the industrial law. If that he the position, why is not the same principle applied to the doctors, who, it is claimed, are also breaking the law? These penal clauses are against the best interests of this country, and, furthermore, they are only designed to enforce a piece of government legislation which, in itself, is wrong, evil and stupid, and1 for which there is not the slightest demand in the country at the present time. This bill has been introduced because the Government cannot expand, in a broad sense, its national health scheme, and, therefore, it desires to develop the least and' most insignificant aspect of it. I oppose the bill.

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