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Thursday, 27 October 1949

Mr WHITE (Balaclava) .- I regret that the right honorable member for Cowper (Sir Earle Page) was not allowed to speak without undue restriction on the motion for the second reading of this bill. He is the only medical practitioner present in the chamber. The honorable member for Denison (Dr. Gaha), a Labour representative, is not present. In any case, he is retiring from politics. I quote the following passage from A National Health Service, the hand-book issued by the British Medical Association : -

The Act. bereft of legal verbiage, simply lays down that provisions shall be made for a scheme for the payment of doctors by the Government and that the control of the scheme shall be vested in the Commonwealth DirectorGeneral of Health. It further enacts that all other matters in regard to a National Health Service shall be given effect to by regulations. It is specifically stated that by regulation the Director-General of Health may "take over" all medical, dental, nursing and hospital services, laboratories, health centres and clinics.

The British Medical Association has offered a practical scheme that would be much better than the one proposed by the Government. Among other things, the British Medical Association recommends that there should be more homes for the aged and infirm.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - That has nothing to do with the clause.

Mr WHITE - I suggest that it has. The British Medical Association advocates for those in the middle income group a system of voluntary pre-payment for medical services.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.There is nothing about that in the clause.

Mr WHITE - Of course, there is not. The Government will gain nothing by its stratagems which are designed to rob the Parliament of its character as a deliberative assembly. By trying to force its schemes on to the public-

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Order! The honorable member will resume his seat.

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