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Wednesday, 16 August 1972
Page: 57

Senator MULVIHILL - My question is directed to the Minister for Health. In view of the formula devised by his predecessor and the New South Wales Minister for Health pegging contribution fund reserves, is the Minister completely satisfied that the Hospitals Contribution Fund of Australia in Sydney is entitled to spend $4m on a new business headquarters in that city? If the answer is in the affirmative, does he believe that the Fund operates democratically when the subscribers' views were never obtained on the expenditure involved in this costly edifice?


I will be asking the indulgence of the Senate after question time - I have conferred with the Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of the Democratic Labor Party - to allow me to make a ministerial statement out of the order shown on the business paper, which will advert to some aspects of the health insurance funds. In relation to the particular point that the honourable senator raised dealing with the authority of the funds, the funds do have a certain authority. However, there is also an inbuilt situation under which the Government has some control of the funds and, as I indicated to Senator Douglas McClelland, probably during the last session in answer to a question, it was decided that in respect of hospital funds the tables should be such as to make some effort to reduce fund reserves. I am happy to say, without pre-empting my ministerial statement, that 1 will be adverting to that aspect in my statement.

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