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Wednesday, 14 September 1983
Page: 850


Mr CARLTON(2.19 a.m.) —Clause 71 relates to the same principles as clauses 66 and 67. Clause 71 talks about the setting up of the Health Insurance Commission and provides that the Commission shall perform such functions in relation to health insurance as are prescribed by regulations. These functions would be in addition to the Medicare and Medibank Private functions. The amendment widens the range of additional functions that may be conferred on the Commission to include other matters relating to health. The clause also repeals regulation 3 of the Health Insurance Commission Regulations-the notorious regulation 3-which was promulgated during the recess and on which basis the Minister for Health proceeded to spend his $55m worth of taxpayers' money provided in the Supply Bill in May without proper parliamentary approval as to its use. The regulation was promulgated during the recess and was dealt with in the Senate only last week. This repeals the regulation but at the same time introduces clauses which bring about the same effect. We have exactly the same objections to clause 71 as we have to clauses 66 and 67. These have the same objective of centralising health insurance in the Commission, of giving the Minister very wide powers in this matter and giving the Commission the capacity to carry out a wide range of functions and, indeed, to extend the public sector even further. We are totally opposed to this clause, as we are to clauses 66 and 67.