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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 2 Hansard (28 February) . . Page.. 392 ..


Debate resumed from 13 December 1995.

MR MOORE (12.05): Mr Speaker, in many ways I think that this debate now becomes somewhat redundant, considering the information provided by Mrs Carnell in response to a question put by Mr Osborne the other day. As a result of that, I am prepared to support the amendments put by Mrs Carnell to the motion and then support the motion.

MR BERRY (12.05): Mr Speaker, I seek leave to speak to this matter. It has been a while since we have discussed this.

MR SPEAKER: You have spoken twice.

MR BERRY: I know that.

MR SPEAKER: You will need leave.

Leave granted.

MR BERRY: I am not surprised at Mr Moore's position. His position has been clear from the outset. He has never been behind this motion from the word go. In fact, at every turn he has assisted to get the Government out of trouble on the issue. The Government has thumbed its nose at Mr Osborne in particular in relation to the bulk-billing practitioners within our health system and gone off and deliberately got rid of them. It offered incentives. It ensured that redundancy payments were made to them. It paid a sweetener to them. It offered them access to patient records to ensure that they could set up outside the system. That is all true, Mrs Carnell. You made sure that they were attracted out of the place. You imposed unreasonable rents on them to ensure that they would not continue within the system.

The shallow claim that the motion passed in the Assembly caused you to do it was a load of rubbish. The clear intention of this Assembly was to keep bulk-billing practitioners in our health centres. We know that the AMA did not. Of course, you would be dancing to their tune, as always, to ensure that the salaried medical officers are rubbed out. That would damage bulk-billing across the Territory. Mrs Carnell will use the honeyed words, "Bulk-billing is available (to health care card holders and pensioners but not to anybody else)". That is the Liberals' philosophy. They are opposed to bulk-billing. They therefore support the growing cost of the delivery of medicine across this country. They support it going into the hands of a few. That is why they oppose bulk-billing. They oppose the expansion of bulk-billing because the AMA opposes it. Admit that.

The Liberals have thumbed their noses at Mr Osborne in particular. He had undertakings from them, and they ignored them. They surreptitiously worked around Mr Osborne and tried to make him look like a goose. Mr Osborne made the mistake of trusting them. When people first meet you, give you a big smile, shake your hand and do whatever else is necessary, you take people at face value, but you do not get caught too many times after that. That has happened with you, Mrs Carnell. You have led Mr Osborne up the garden path. You will not fool us, because we know exactly what you are about.

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