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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 10 Hansard (6 December) . . Page.. 2709 ..

MR OSBORNE (continuing):

I have given a lot of thought over the last couple of days to which way I will go after I move my motion. I will discuss this later this afternoon in response to Mr Connolly's motion, but I think we need to go beyond playing politics on this issue and accept that some deals have been done. My primary concern all along has been to take care of people who cannot afford to go to a private practitioner. I go to a private practitioner, to whom I have to pay the difference over Medicare. I find it offensive that someone sets an amount of money and doctors feel the need to charge more. It would be a bit like the Remuneration Tribunal setting me a salary of $60,000 but me wanting $70,000. I find it offensive that doctors are quite greedy in relation to this, and I think that is what we have seen with the failure to get anyone to put their hand up to bulk-bill completely at these medical centres. The doctors out there seem to think they will not make enough money.

I have moved this censure motion against Mrs Carnell because, even given the facts I now have in front of me and given that, over time, I may well be realistic and realise that at some stage we are going to have to look at our other options in relation to the health centres, I still feel that she has ignored my motion.

Mr Berry: We have been betrayed.

MR OSBORNE: I certainly feel betrayed, as Mr Berry said. Given her actions in getting rid of the salaried practitioners, I think she has acted contrary to what we voted on in the Assembly. As I have said, it is with great regret that I move this motion against you, Mrs Carnell, and I have told you that. However, I feel that I have been backed into a corner, through no fault of my own. You need to realise that, as we have told you on many occasions over the last couple of weeks, this is a minority government and you need to listen to the will of the Assembly.

Mr Berry: You are going to respond to it, surely.

Mr Connolly: It is traditional for a Chief Minister under censure to respond. There is a parliamentary practice that one does that.

MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Minister for Health and Community Care) (12.13): I am very happy to respond straightaway, if you would like, but I thought maybe somebody opposite would like to speak before me. I can say quite categorically that this Government did exactly what the Assembly asked us to do. Negotiations were continuing with the current CMPs when the motion Mr Osborne put forward was passed in this Assembly. The negotiations were going on very well on the basis of those CMPs bulk-billing. As I said in the debate on Mr Osborne's motion, they were very happy to bulk-bill pensioners, people on health care cards, which now includes a number of low income earners as well, and even people on low incomes. I did make those points in this Assembly during that debate.

The Assembly chose to determine that not only would the CMPs be bulk-billing, but there needed to be 100 per cent bulk-billing, so immediately the basis of those negotiations changed. My direction to those who were negotiating on behalf of the Government was that there had to be 100 per cent bulk-billing. Remember that negotiations were happening with each doctor individually because each doctor had to make their own

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