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Thursday, 29 October 1970

Dr KLUGMAN (Prospect) - I should like to mention only 2 quick points. During the remarks of the last speaker, the honourable member for Barton (Mr Reynolds) it was obvious that the Minister for Education and Science (Mr N. H. Bowen) was stung by the attacks on the preference which is given to students from private schools in receiving scholarships and subsidies for university education. These are given to students-

Mr Birrell - From privileged homes.

Dr KLUGMAN - To children coming from privileged homes, as the honourable member for Port Adelaide points out. It may be of interest to honourable members to know that last year, when 1 was in medical practice in the Parramatta district, I received an invitation to an afternoon tea reception at Kings School. The function was organised by the Parramatta Federal Electorate Council of the Liberal Party, ft was, 1 understand, a fund-raising function at which, for $5 to help the Minister for Education and Science, T was permitted to go to the school and meet the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) and Mrs Gorton and have afternoon tea with them. It was interesting that this private school, a nonpolitical school, should be used for the purposes of raising money for the Liberal Party. It is not surprising that the Government replies in kind to such schools. When we applied to the same school to use its services for a political function, since the school was apparently available for such purposes, we received an unsatisfactory reply. The school did not seem to be keen to hold a function for the Australian Labor Party to raise funds for its candidate.

I said that I wanted to raise 2 points. The first concerns the question of salaries. There has been a significant increase in the salaries of university lecturers and professors, and I am not criticising this, but when we talk about difficulties in education, problems in education and the crisis in education, it is interesting to note that in 1952 the salary of a subject master in the New South Wales Department of Education was approximately equal to that of a university lecturer whereas in 1970 the salary of the subject master is approximately only two-thirds of that of a university lecturer. In 1952 the salary of a headmaster in a secondary school in New South Wales was approximately 90 per cent of that of a university professor, but now it has dropped to 61 per cent of the salary of a professor. It is quite obvious that there is a tendency for teachers in secondary schools, and more so, no doubt, for teachers in primary schools, to be treated as second rate teachers in respect of salaries and conditions.

My second point concerns a reference in the Minister's second reading speech to the fact that the Bill includes funds lo certain university officers in medical schools. This raises again the question of the payment of honorary medical officers. Those honourable members who know the setup in medical schools attached to universities are probably aware that the teaching at these medical schools, inasmuch as it is clinical teaching, is carried out by the honorary medical officers of the hospitals attached to the universities. Until fairly recently it was accepted that only an honorarium was to be paid to those medical officers. Now the position has changed. A recent statement by the President of the Royal College of Physicians in Victoria shows that there are now only 27 per cent of physicians in completely private practice in that State. I am nol objecting to this. T think it is a trend which is inevitable and in the interests of the patients, but it is certainly a trend which must be considered by the Government in conjunction with the Minister for Health (Dr Forbes). The whole question arises of bow to reimburse the clinical teachers of the medical students. The surgeons are probably able to look after themselves reasonably well because of the general bias in fees under the National Health Scheme towards surgeons; there is a return of most of the expenditure of the patients. As far as teaching physicians are concerned a relatively large amount of time is spent on teaching and they are unable to earn enough money in the time that is available for seeing patients. Therefore, the question of payments must be considered.

I am pleased to see that the Government has decided to subsidise the universities to pay sessional fees to those medical teachers.

I hope the State Governments, when they decide on a change in the method of honorary medical officers in hospitals other than teaching hospitals, will also adopt that system of sessional fees rather than the proposition put up by the Australian Medical Association in New South Wales for payment on the basis of fees for services which would give huge incomes to those medical officers in these hospitals who probably least deserve the extra income.

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