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Thursday, 22 November 1973
Page: 3686

Mr HAYDEN - Yes. You can have it incorporated in Hansard, if you like.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! Is the honourable gentleman seeking leave to have the letter incorporated in Hansard?

Mr CHIPP - No, I just wish to table it.

Government supporters - Oh!

Mr CHIPP - Well, I will ask for leave to have it incorporated in Hansard if honourable members opposite give me leave to incorporate in Hansard the speech which makes everything that the Minister states in the letter a dishonest statement, as I am about to say.

Mr Hayden - 1 have no objection to its being incorporated in Hansard.

Mr CHIPP - I pause for honourable members opposite to contemplate that prospect.

Mr Hayden - There are 1 0 pages.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! There will be no private arguments across the table. The honourable gentleman seeks leave to have the letter tabled. Is leave granted?

Mr Daly - Aye.

Mr SPEAKER - Leave is granted.

Mr CHIPP - I have the speech to which the minister referred in his letter and I will be asking leave in a moment to have it tabled with the Minister's letter. At no stage in that speech did I criticise doctors. I criticised some organisations representing doctors and, in particular, I criticised the one organisation which depicted the Minister dressed as a Nazi stormtrooper. At no stage have I criticised doctors.

However the other 2 misrepresentations are even more serious. The Minister said that I said 'quite firmly without any reservation at all that our scheme is not nationalisation.' I have said that this scheme is basically nationalisation of health insurance funds. The Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) has stated that the first act of nationalisation the Australian Labor Party would commit when it came to office would be to nationalise health insurance funds. I have gone on to say that the Labor Party's health scheme will also lead to nationalisation of doctors. What I have said is that the scheme at present is not nationalisation of doctors but that it will lead to it. But the last misrepresentation is the most serious of all.

Mr Reynolds - Did you say 'could' lead to nationalisation not 'would'?

Mr CHIPP - Yes, I did. The last misrepresentation is the worst of all. I refuse to believe from my experience as a Minister that the Minister's Department wrote this letter. It was written by the Minister.

Mr Uren - Mr Speaker, I rise to order. I question again whether during personal explanations, former Ministers on the Opposition side, who are under certain privilege, can make a comment. The words that the honourable member was then saying were comment, and frankly, after every question time Opposition spokesmen are making speeches in personal explanations. I believe it is against Standing Orders and it is not a fair go.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The Minister will resume his seat. A point of order has been taken. I do not think any member of the House has ever made a personal explanation without getting beyond a personal explanation, irrespective of what side he has come from. That has been the position since I have been a member of this House. I have been trying to follow as closely as I could what the honourable member for Hotham has been saying. He has made about 3 points where he alleges that he has been misrepresented, but as yet I do not think he has been out of order in putting his case. I call the honourable member for Hotham.

Mr CHIPP - Thank you, Mr Speaker. I conclude with the third misrepresentation where the Minister says: 'I should hope that Mr Chipp's outspoken support of our scheme ends the foolish misrepresentation', etc. I would defy the Minister either in this Parliament or outside it, on any media, to point to one sentence in my speech where I have given any kind of support to the Labor health scheme. In fact, in a speech which ran for 45 minutes, I spent 40 minutes saying that the scheme was a disaster. The Minister's letter disappoints me in him as a man, and I would ask him not to do it in the future.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member is now debating-

Mr CHIPP - I seek the leave of the House to table the speech to which the honourable member was referring as well as the letter.

Mr SPEAKER -Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.

Mr HAYDEN(Oxley - Minister for Social Security) - I wish to make a personal explanation.

Mr SPEAKER -Does the Minister claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr HAYDEN - Yes.

Mr Staley - Did you sign the letter?

Mr HAYDEN - I not only signed the letter but I was responsible for the creative prose that went into it. It was based on the honourable member's speech to the Australian Dental Association in Melbourne. I quote from that speech:

There have been many cliches spoken, in the hope that people are idiots, and based on the false premise that just because someone drops a cliche, everyone is going to believe it and therefore hate the Government, hate the Labor Party, and despise the health scheme. This line of reasoning is stupid. Cliches such as 'Nationalisation of doctors, of medicine, lowering of standards of medical care' and so on, without trying to prove such statements, are meaningless.

Now if it means instant nationalisation of doctors - and it doesn't in its present form - let us look at it more closely. Maybe it will lead to nationalisation. Maybe it will lead to lowering of medical care, but in its present 'innocent' form it doesn't mean that. I believe that no longer can one delude the people of this country on the basis that they are halfwits or idiots, because people do think and work things out for themselves.

On page 1 1 of his speech, he made an interesting comment. On that page he said:

There are up to 1 million people in our community who are uncovered for health insurance.

That seems to deflate somewhat the argument he was trying to resurrect the other day. But I like the comment that appears on page 10 of this paper which his office supplied to me. I quote from that page and I should like honourable members to listen to this because it is a gem and it bolsters our case. He said:

I chair a committee of parliamentarians of the Liberal Party now looking at an alternative schemenot an alternative scheme - but at ways in which to make our scheme, which I still say is philosophically sound, work.

He confesses that it does not work, it never has worked, he is trying to make it work and that he is trying to prepare a plan. Finally, I refer to this quote on page 11 of this document:

What are your views on the suggestions of my Party concerning an independent tribunal to determine annually medical fees? We differ from the Government here because we insist on an independent chairman.

I find that objectionable. Mr Justice Ludeke's impartiality is beyond question. He has done an excellent job and I believe to the satisfaction of the medical profession and the Australian community. He formerly represented many groups in the community as a barrister before the courts. He was competent and impartial in presenting a case on behalf of his clients then, just as he is competent, impartial and extremely industrious in handling his responsibilities as a justice of the court now. I believe that a comment such as that, which carries an inference - a very heavy inference - that he is impartial, should be unacceptable to all members of this Parliament and members of the Opposition ought to dissociate themselves from such a scurrilous attack upon a justice.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! Now the honourable gentleman is debating the question.

Mr CHIPP(Hotham)- I claim to have been further misrepresented by the Minister.

Mr SPEAKER -I call the honourable member for Hotham.

Mr CHIPP - He has abused a courtesy I gave him yesterday of giving him notice. In the future I will not do so. He has quoted one sentence out of that speech. May I just quote one more? I said:

In talking about a national health scheme, my basic premise is that the national health scheme as introduced and practised by the Liberal-Country Party government was not only a good scheme, but one of the best in the world.

Having said that, let me add that I concede it had 2 basic defects. I rest my case on that, Mr Speaker.

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