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Thursday, 5 December 1974
Page: 3168

Senator BESSELL (TASMANIA) - My question relates to an answer given by the Minister for Repatriation and Compensation on Tuesday to a question by Senator Grimes which was asked, I imaginerather unsuccessfully- to try to embarass Tasmanian senators. Senator Grimes had asked whether Government supporters did not know that the intention of a policy proposal was to station an aircraft permanently in Tasmania for the Royal Flying Doctor Service and also to be available for some social and health welfare work, with particular reference to pensioners who are at the moment discriminated against.

Senator Wheeldon - I am sorry, I did not quite hear the question.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Order! The Minister has requested that you read the question again, Senator Bessell.

Senator BESSELL - It is about the Royal Flying Doctor Service. The policy point was that the

Royal Flying Doctor Service aircraft be stationed permanently in Tasmania and be available as well for some normal social and health welfare work, with particular reference to King Island and Flinders Island pensioners who at- the moment appear to be discriminated against by both the socialist governments- State and Federal. I ask: If the Minister does not know this will he acquaint himself with this policy point and also give it the special consideration that such a worthy and humane cause would demand?

Senator WHEELDON - I will give consideration to a number of matters that the honourable senator has raised. I am delighted but, I must confess, somewhat surprised to learn that there is a socialist government in Tasmania. I accept Senator Bessell 's assurance that that is the case. I was not fully acquainted, I have to confess, with the policy. I do not know whose policy point this was. I take it that it is Senator Bessell 's policy. It is someone's policy, anyway. In itself, it does not sound a bad sort of a policy. As I remember the question, it was stated that Mr Snedden had said that a Royal Flying Doctor Service would be installed by a Liberal Government to serve King and Flinders Islands. There already has been a Royal Flying Doctor Service serving those Islands for approximately 15 years. Senator Bessell tells me now that somebody has a policy- someone I take it who deplores the rampant socialism in Tasmania- that the Royal Flying Doctor Service will provide an aircraft to be engaged in social purposes. This could have mixed value, I suppose. I thank the honourable senator for his suggestion and I will pass it on to the responsible Minister for investigation.

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