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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 5 Hansard (14 May) . . Page.. 1171..


MR BERRY: You have the obligation and the responsibility to do something about it. Mrs Carnell said repeatedly during the committee of inquiry, "I chose not to front-end load the budget". In effect, she was admitting that she did not put enough money in the budget. She was admitting that she did not put enough money in the budget to fund the separations in the hospital system.

Mrs Carnell: Are you suggesting that spending 30 per cent more per patient is all right?

MR BERRY: When you know off by heart what separations in the hospital context means you can come in and talk to us here about hospital management. A simple understanding of the hospital system would tell you what separations means. Go away and learn it. Perhaps we will get a chance to ask you a question later on about what separations means.

Mr Speaker, we have a Minister for Health and Treasurer who does not provide sufficient money for the budget settings in Health; that is to say, she decided upon 55,000 patients and at some stage in the proceedings decided on 58,000, knowing full well that there was not enough money in the budget. That is why she was censured in this place, because of her mismanagement of the budget process in Health, and no wonder. What an outrageously secretive process! There was no report to this Assembly that Mrs Carnell had taken the decision that she was going to increase the numbers without funding in the budget. She did say at one stage that it was out of control and she did not know what to do about it. What an admission from a Health Minister and Treasurer - "I do not know what to do about it". It was on the front page of the Canberra Times. Mr Speaker, this report ought to be endorsed by this Assembly. There is certainly no need for this Appropriation Bill. There is absolutely no need for it.

Mrs Carnell: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I would like Mr Berry to withdraw the statement that I kept secret the monthly reports on health blow-outs, because it is simply untrue. This Government presented monthly reports, unlike the previous Government, which kept all their information secret.

MR BERRY: That is hardly a point of order.

MR SPEAKER: Did you withdraw?

MR BERRY: No, I did not, Mr Speaker. There is no imputation.

Mr De Domenico: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I suggest that you ask Mr Berry to withdraw.

MR SPEAKER: Yes. The Chief Minister has drawn attention to what she believes to be an imputation and I am asking you to withdraw it.

MR BERRY: What is your opinion, Mr Speaker? Do you think it is an imputation, Mr Speaker? It is your ruling.

MR SPEAKER: The Chief Minister does, and I am asking you whether you will withdraw it.


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