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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 7 Hansard (22 June) . . Page.. 2130..


MS PORTER (continuing):

medical fact. This practice is utterly deplorable. I am glad that an element of common sense prevailed and that, as Mr Corbell just said, the proposal was instead sent to an expert committee.

As I said, a lot has happened since this topic was last debated in this place. I am very pleased to say that the federal government has provisionally backed down on the changes to funding of IVF and ART procedures. Instead they have deferred this investigation of funding to an expert committee. Obviously some saner heads prevailed and hopefully those same people will insist on a backdown on a number of the federal government's regressive proposals while Mr Howard implements his plans to take us back to the 50s—or is it the Dark Ages? I sincerely hope that this expert committee, and I note the word "expert", thoroughly investigates the social and emotional as well as the medical consequences of their subject matter and that a sensible conclusion will be reached based on their expert opinion.

Medicare, upon its inception, had a noble purpose—to provide equitable and efficient access to medical services. Unfortunately the scaling back of its activities through politically motivated moves like the deceptive scrapping of the Medicare safety net has meant that the system has lost much of its impetus. I sincerely hope that the findings of this expert committee indicate that we need a more compassionate approach to health care from our federal government, an approach which I concede must be based on objective merit in both a financial and clinical sense, but one which nonetheless is driven by community need, not political motivation.

I am sure Mr Smyth will join me in this ideal by voting for this motion. I commend the federal shadow minister for health, Ms Julia Gillard, as well as the AMA for the pressure they put on the federal government. As with an increasing proportion of government legislation, the federal Liberal Party was left in the cold without any allies. Thank goodness that this time they came to their senses and listened to the mounting opposition. We can only hope they take the same approach to the ever-increasing pile of unfair legislation emanating from the federal parliament.

I note that Mr Smyth used his response to this motion to make a political point on the medical funding model, which within the ACT health system would provide an efficient and effective way to allocate resources. Mr Smyth, you must understand that this model is based on clinical streaming and is client focused, not political streaming, which is politically focused. I am pleased that Mr Smyth has consistently stated his support for the principles advocated in the motion. I look forward to this motion being passed with his support. I therefore commend the motion to the Assembly.

Motion agreed to.

Funding for the non-government sector

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (11.07): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) recognises the invaluable contribution to public policy development by the non-government sector in the ACT;


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