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Tuesday, 4 March 1997
Page: 1211


Senator NEAL(5.02 p.m.) —I hate to labour this point but I still feel that the parliamentary secretary seems to have missed the point. The proposition contained in the amendment is that the level of income a person must have to receive this incentive should be maintained, not that there should be a variation in the amount of the incentive. I can well understand the parliamentary secretary's proposition if what we are proposing was indexation of the actual amount of the incentive. If you assume that the amount of money that was being paid to the recipient went up each year, from that you could draw an assumption that there is a presumption that premiums of private health insurance were also going to be going up.

I must say that on that question I am not completely convinced in any case because I think experience does tell us that private health insurance has been going up quite markedly for some period of time. What I put to you is that there is no connection whatsoever between the level of income that a person is allowed to have and still receive the incentive and some presumption about the increasing cost of private health insurance.