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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (20 August) . . Page.. 2438..


MR STANHOPE: You just mentioned the "say". To some extent, it was by way of explanation of what that amount of money might produce when injected into the hospital. I think we all recall the extent to which you derided the payment of the money. One of the really interesting aspects of the attitude which the Liberal Party has taken to this issue and has taken in relation to this significant injection of additional funds into the Canberra Hospital is that you are now criticising it. You are now saying that it was not required, that it was not relevant, yet here we have in the four-pronged approach Mr Smyth promising another $14 million, without saying exactly where it would be coming from, other than from revenue forgone.

It is really interesting that Mr Smyth stands up here now and criticises the injection of $8.7 million into the Canberra Hospital, criticises an increase in the Canberra Hospital's budget of 12 per cent, when his four-pronged approach to reducing waiting lists is to provide another $14 million to the Canberra Hospital. What a nonsense. You have been hoist with your own petard there. You have no option but to say, "What would I do? I would scrabble around and try to find some money. I am not prepared to say what I would cut in order to provide more money for elective surgery. I am not prepared to say that I would cut disability services. I am not prepared to say that I would go back to the Liberal Party's failed policies on disability services. I am not saying that I would go back and reproduce the circumstances that led to the Gallop inquiry into disability services, with the damning findings that it came down with in relation to our stewardship. I would not go back to a situation which would mean that I would have to identify myself as the person who underfunded mental health by 171/2 per cent against the second lowest jurisdiction in Australia. I would not do that."

Mr Humphries: What will you do?

MR STANHOPE: I would not stand up and say, "When I was in government and Gary Humphries was minister for health, I was prepared to support elective surgery, but I underfunded mental health by 17.5 per cent less than the second lowest jurisdiction in Australia. That is what I cared about people with mental issues. I guaranteed when I was in government that they got 17.5 per cent less funding per head of population than the jurisdiction second worst off in Australia. I would not stand up and admit that that was what I did. I would not stand up and admit that when I was in government I funded disability services less than any other jurisdiction in Australia, to the point where I had to spend $1.7 million on a commission of inquiry to explain how it was that I fumbled and stumbled for seven long years in government, to the point where I was rightly booted out of government because of my incompetence and lack of caring. I would not do that."

Mr Smyth: Mr Speaker, I take a point of order. The question was quite clear. The commitment was made for extra services that involved seeing an additional 3,800 patients. Only 300 were seen. What will happen with the other 3,500?

MR STANHOPE: That was the situation after seven years of just disgraceful government. Just think what we might have been able to do with our elective surgery waiting lists if we had not wasted that $80 million out there at the football stadium-$80 million of waste, incompetence, neglect and broken laws. You had to break the law. Maybe that would be the fifth prong to the approach. It has just come to me, it has just dawned on me, that when they got into strife with the funding of Bruce Stadium-


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