Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 4 Hansard (17 April) . . Page.. 1032..
MRS CARNELL (continuing):
Then we get Mr Berry hopping up in this place and raving on about health services. The realities are, Mr Speaker, that here is a man who came in with four health budgets that all overran. He overran by $12m in 1992. I agree that $14m in 1996 is not much chop either. But I will tell you what - $12m in 1992 ain't much good either. The difference is that we have 350 people - - -
Mr Berry: And you will be asked to prove that, because it is another lie. You are a liar.
MRS CARNELL: I would like that to be withdrawn, Mr Speaker.
Mr Berry: Mr Speaker, it would be helpful if Mrs Carnell would tell the truth; but, if my calling her a liar will not cause her to do that, I will withdraw it.
MRS CARNELL: We have 350 fewer people on our waiting lists. We have not reduced public hospital beds. In fact, there are a few more in place now - not as many as I would like; but, for all of that, more. We have a 7 per cent increase in the number of patients that we see. It seems to me that, if we see more patients, we have shorter waiting lists. We are getting people off the long-term waiting list. Certainly, we have not managed to address the financial problems at this stage, but we are putting positions in place to do so. It is a damned sight better than four out of four - four blow-outs in four years - 200 fewer public hospital beds, waiting lists going from 1,789 to 4,500, and blow-outs as well, Mr Speaker. How on earth Mr Berry can hop up in this place and even ask a question about health, let alone make a statement about it, absolutely escapes me.
MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General) (4.24), in reply: I have a few comments to make. I do not think I will comment on Mr Berry's remarks. I am sure that we all appreciate the intense irony of the only man ever forced to resign as a Minister in this place for misleading the Assembly lecturing anybody else about telling the truth in this place.
With that to one side, I share Mr Wood's concern about having a cultural centre on Civic Square. I certainly want it to be in a central location, to take advantage of the cultural precinct concept. I do not have the magical money tree that Mr Berry used to talk about a couple of years ago, that would create the money. When Mr Wood follows up his very worthwhile suggestion with the means of being able to deliver on that - some have put at $5m the cost entailed in supplying the North Building for the purposes of a cultural centre - then I will be all ears and very attentive to his suggestions.
Mr Speaker, the last thing I wanted to raise was the matter of a quite different building - in fact, on the other side of the square from North Building - this building. I was disturbed, as I am sure many other members of this place were, by the damage which was done by picketers outside this place during the recent industrial action.