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Tuesday, 6 November 1973
Page: 1524

Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON - I direct a question to the Minister representing the Treasurer. It relates to the current inquiry by the medical fees tribunal which is to recommend to the Government on the question of specialist fees and which is dealing with anaesthetists at present. Evidence was given by the medical profession which sought a certain percentage increase. The Queen's Counsel representing the Government is resisting the increase: In his argument against the amount sought by the medical profession he cited an investigation which has been made through the Taxation Office of medical fees received by anaesthetists. Having regard to the accepted sanctity of taxation returns, I ask: Is this a normal procedure? I think that at best it needs qualification. The way in which it was presented in the Press read very damagingly. I realise that there may be some qualifications, and I hope that my question brings them out. The other point- I think the Minister representing the Minister for Health would agree- is that a far more effective method of getting to the base root of what the anaesthetists are earning is through claims for medical benefits. I am concerned at the way in which the matter was presented in the Press. It suggested that there was access to the income tax returns of private individuals. I do not think that is what happened.

Senator WILLESEE - In view of Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson's knowledge of these things I appreciate the question. I cannot answer it off the cuff, as he would appreciate, but I will certainly refer it to see what I can find out for him.

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