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Thursday, 12 October 1972
Page: 1502

Senator JESSOP (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I direct a question to the Minister for Health. In answering the question put to him by the Leader of the Opposition the Minister stated that gastroenteritis was a major cause of infant mortality among Aborigines. Can the Minister say whether this disease is more prevalent in the warmer areas of Australia in which the majority of Aborigines live? Can he say whether the incidence of infant mortality among Europeans also is higher in such areas compared with other places in Australia which experience a more temperate climate?


During the time that I have administered the Health portfolio I have always been very careful about expressing medical opinions. I am Minister for Health in the administrative sense and 1 am very aware of the impropriety of giving judgments without reference to my medical advisers. All I can say to the honourable senator is that I will get a precise answer and will put it down. I have always had an understanding of the situation as was mentioned by the honourable senator but I must not be taken as saying that in categorical terms because it would be improper to do so. I certainly will gat a proper answer from my medical advisers on the suggestion put by the honourable senator.

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