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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 8 Hansard (5 August) . . Page.. 3507..


MR SMYTH (continuing):

last seven months? Why have we got rising numbers on waiting lists, an increased number of hospital bypasses and the use of ambulances as wards?

MR WOOD: Why has it deteriorated so badly?

Mr Hargreaves: Who was the minister then?

MR WOOD: It was the Liberal government. The Canberra Times of 5 April 2001 stated:

Patients are being hooked up to monitors in storage rooms ... as Canberra Hospital is pushed to breaking point.

Why has it deteriorated? Hey, it ain't worse than that, Mr Smyth. In fact, it has got better since then, Mr Smyth.

Mr Hargreaves: A Liberal government again.

MR WOOD: I think it was a Liberal government then, wasn't it? On Wednesday, 18 July 2001, the Canberra Times stated:

Nursing shortages at the Canberra Hospital have forced the closure of 17 beds and the restricted use of a further eight.

Elective surgery was cancelled. I have a folder that thick, Mr Smyth, of the record of your government. Things have got better since this government came into power. No question about that!

Bushfires

MR PRATT: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, yesterday you advised the Assembly that you were in the north of Canberra on 17 January 2003. Where, precisely, were you in the north of Canberra on the evening of Friday 17 January 2003? What exactly were you doing on that evening to prepare for the oncoming bushfires?

MR STANHOPE: I have answered the question previously, Mr Speaker.

Mr Smyth: I rise on a point of order, Mr Speaker. That question has not been asked previously. This question is quite specific, in response to an answer given by the Chief Minister yesterday. You should ask him to answer the question.

MR SPEAKER: You have asked him the question and the Chief Minister has responded. It is his prerogative to do so.

Mr Smyth: It is an entirely new question. We have not previously asked the question, "Where were you in the north of Canberra?"The Chief Minister has not answered that question.

MR SPEAKER: I cannot dictate how ministers answer questions; I can merely ensure that the standing orders are complied with. If the minister decides to discontinue his


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