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Wednesday, 13 November 1974
Page: 2309

Senator BAUME - My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Health. Does the October 1974 edition of the magazine 'The Radical' include an article written by the Minister for Health which contains a very considerable mis-statement of fact? Does the magazine published for the Australian Labor Party of New South Wales state in an article by Dr Everingham on page 8 that financial assistance to the extent of $1,1 36m is to be provided this financial year to the family medicine program of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners? Is the stated amount a gross exaggeration and is the correct appropriation closer to $lm than $1,1 36m? Will the Government seek to correct this mis-statement of facts by the Minister and will the Minister be more factual and less generous in future statements on public expenditure proposed by the Government?

Senator WHEELDON - I am glad Senator Baume has asked this question. Although there has been some dispute about the matter on this side of the chamber, there has been general agreement that over recent weeks there has been a certain improvement in Senator Baume 's approach. Many of us feel that this probably comes from his very assiduous reading of 'The Radical', the official organ of the New South Wales Branch of the Australian Labor Party. In fact, as it happens, one of the things which the editor of the paper does is to insert a deliberate clerical error of this type in each issue to detect the keenness of the readers in discovering it. On this occasion, of the many thousands of readers of this fine journal, the first person so far to have detected this error is Senator Baume. Doubtless most readers, knowing of the Government's generous attitude towards social welfare in general and the close and confidential relationship between the Australian Labor Party and the medical profession, would expect that this sort of amount might reasonably have been given to the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. As it happened it was not. The figure was as Senator Baume said. If he presents himself to the Sydney Trades Hall during the next week, in view of his keenness in discovering this error he will be made a suitable presentation.

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