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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 10 Hansard (6 December) . . Page.. 2744..


MR OSBORNE (continuing):

What I am proposing, I suppose, is that we stick with my original motion, which was:

That this Assembly rejects the Government's announced decision to remove salaried practitioner services from community health centres unless the health centres are managed as 100 per cent bulk-billing practices for general practitioner services.

However, as I have said, I have since been briefed on the problems. I have become aware, as our censure motion debate showed today, that the salaried doctors have gone, so there is no real chance that we can bring them back.

Mr Connolly: At a cost of $445,000-plus.

MR OSBORNE: At a cost of $445,000-plus.

Mr Humphries: A bargain.

Mr Connolly: "A bargain", says Mr Humphries.

MR SPEAKER: Interjections are out of order, and they are more out of order if you are out of your seat.

MR OSBORNE: Mr Speaker, I am in a situation where I have to make a decision in the best interests of the people I was primarily concerned about, and that is the people mentioned by Mrs Carnell in her amendments. Mr Speaker, I still believe in my motion. However, I am a realist. I can read the facts and I am aware of the history of the salaried doctors. I am aware of the trouble that Mr Connolly had in attracting them to the ACT, and plenty of reasons are given for that. They do not like working with governments. I cannot disagree with them on that one. However, I have to say, Mr Speaker, that I would like to think that Mrs Carnell would attempt over the next couple of months to advertise, perhaps interstate.

Mr Kaine: But you censured her this morning for this. Are you going to give her two months to fix it now?

MR OSBORNE: Go back to sleep, Trevor. I am prepared to - - -

Mr Hird: Do not let them rattle you, Paul.

MR OSBORNE: Who wrote that for you, Harold? I am prepared to stick with what I believe in because it is a matter of principle. However, as I said, I am aware of the problems that Mrs Carnell has. The last thing I want to do is see that there are no doctors in the health centres. At the end of the day, in the next couple of months, if she comes back to us after having advertised across Australia and perhaps offered free rent, I would have to say that the only sensible thing to do, I would think, would be to give her the scope to allow private doctors in there who will adhere to her amendments, who will take care of the people that we are primarily concerned with, but at the end of the day they will charge.


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