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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 13 Hansard (11 November) . . Page.. 4848..


MR HANSON (Molonglo) (3.31): In speaking on the amendment, first I would like to clarify some errors in fact and in judgement in the speeches of both Ms Gallagher and Ms Bresnan.

Firstly, they suggest that there is a lack of concern because I am highlighting what I and others consider to be a breakdown in the procedures and management of the Canberra Hospital and to be miscommunication. Because I am highlighting errors in one case does not mean that I have a lack of concern. If Ms Gallagher would like me to clarify it, I am very happy to do so, on the record.

Of course I have great concern for any individual who may be infected with tuberculosis and for everybody who has been affected in this case. In my opening speech, I went through in some detail how serious this disease is and I highlighted those concerns. But we have-

Ms Gallagher: You would like to acknowledge that.

MR HANSON: Ms Gallagher, if you continue to try to poke your finger at me, to try and suggest that I do not have any concern-this is typical Stanhope policy: when you are under attack for errors, mistakes, that may have been made, attack the opposition personally and make slurs. To suggest that, just because I have highlighted some procedural problems that have gone wrong, somehow I am lacking concern-it is just typical Stanhope politics.

On the other issue of the exposure, there was a little bit of banter going on between Ms Burch and Ms Bresnan about "you could get this at the movies or you could get it on an aeroplane". I would like to clarify the point. Exposed contact in confined spaces is a particular concern, and if you go to the Canberra Hospital TB unit, they talk long term of a period of about six hours. That is the period of concern.

I do not expect that many parents take their newborn infants who are 24 hours old, who are in some cases premature, to the movies or on flights. It makes a mockery of some of the comments that have been made about this being essentially no different from something you could get in a shopping centre-or in the workplace, as Mr Stanhope said-or in a bus shelter. It is very important that we address those facts.

In relation to Ms Gallagher's amendment, essentially it is the same motion but with a couple of omissions. I will therefore turn to the omissions. One thing that is proposed to be removed is:

... that protocols and policies regarding partners staying overnight in shared postnatal wards in ACT public hospitals is unclear ...

We know that it is unclear. Ms Bresnan thinks that the confusion has occurred because of the media. I contend that it is a breakdown in communication between the government and the department. But, regardless of that, the Greens-Ms Bresnan, in her own speech-admitted that it was unclear and that there was confusion. To then take out of the motion the fact that we note that it is unclear is ridiculous. We need to acknowledge that it is.


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