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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 3 Hansard (11 March) . . Page.. 1070..


MS GALLAGHER: I am going to have to give largely the same response that the Chief Minister gave yesterday. I cannot answer that. I think there is a series of events there that indicate it could have been the trigger that set this process off. I guess for me a lot of questions need to be asked about all of those events leading up to the briefing that was provided to me on the 11th. Since being briefed, my office in particular has gone back and sought documents from the department. As we all know, it has gone back a number of years, where there have been promises given and promises not kept.

I have asked myself the question: what led to my being given the briefing on the 11th? When we look back we find that there was a period of activity in the days leading up to the 11th that, it appears, prompted the department to put in place meetings with people, documents, guidelines, as you say, director's instructions and, in the final instance, a briefing to me.

I have some questions: if the department knew about this on the 8th, why wasn't I told about it; why wasn't I told on the 10th when they met with the Community Advocate; why wasn't I even given the courtesy of a call prior to my tabling the government's response, saying, "Hey, we are about to send you a fax. This relates to the tabling of your response and you might want to hold off on it"? I have some questions on all of these things that did not happen.

I think these are the things that the commission is looking at in relation to how ministers were given information. I tend to agree with you, Mr Cornwell: there does seem to have been a trigger. There was that on 8 December but there was a series of potential triggers that occurred before the 8th that should have set the process off and did not.

MR CORNWELL: Mr Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. You may have covered this, Minister, in your response, but was anyone in your office or your department advised of this question by anyone in Mr Stanhope's office or department, given that the brief of 11 December refers to it?

MS GALLAGHER: Certainly no-one in my office was told about the question, to my understanding. I am not sure who told the department but the department was obviously aware of the question because they included it in the brief. To my understanding certainly there was no communication with my office specifically but obviously it did go through to the department.

Public hospitals-funding and administrative arrangements

MRS CROSS: My question is to the Minister for Health, Mr Corbell. Minister, it was reported in yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald:

The Prime Minister is seeking advice on a Commonwealth takeover of public hospitals in what would be one of the biggest shifts in responsibilities between Canberra and the states since Federation.

In the light of the ongoing problems being experienced within state and territory hospital systems, do you think there might be some merit in such an approach given the funding divisions that exist between federal, state and territory governments in the health area?


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