Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 13 Hansard (12 November) . . Page.. 4955..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
The meeting was cordial; it was polite; it was, as one would expect, respectful; it was not threatening. It was a meeting at which the Minister for Health and I set out the ACT government's thinking and rationale behind the decision which the ACT government has taken in negotiations or consultation with the Little Company of Mary in relation to the possible sale and purchase of Calvary hospital and Clare Holland House. But to suggest that there were any threats is simply false, absolutely and unutterably false.
Ms Gallagher has, in a letter to the Australian, sought to correct the record. Ms Gallagher has also written to Archbishop Coleridge and asked Archbishop Coleridge for what purported to be minutes and, indeed, offered to meet with Archbishop Coleridge to discuss the allegations contained in Ms Shanahan's article and to refute them. I understand that that meeting will occur next week.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Seselja, a supplementary question?
MR SESELJA: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, why are there no minutes of this meeting, and is it usual practice for the government to not have minutes of a meeting to discuss such an important issue?
MR STANHOPE: Yes, it is usual practice not to have a note taker or a tape recorder or to have minutes of all meetings. I would think, indeed, that it would be the exception for minutes to be kept, although, having regard to this rather unfortunate incident, this apparent breakdown in communication and this difference in recollection, Ms Gallagher has advised me that, with great regret, there will be a note taker and minutes of next week's meeting with Archbishop Coleridge.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, a supplementary?
MR HANSON: Chief Minister, did you or the minister for health raise the possibility of the government establishing its own public hospital in competition with Calvary if the sale did not proceed?
MR STANHOPE: At the meeting-a meeting which was sought by Archbishop Coleridge and which the minister for health and I were more than happy to participate in to further and better explain; and I understand that a number of further meetings have been held with representatives of the archbishop, the church, Calvary hospital, the Little Company of Mary and Clare Holland House subsequently to continue to consult with and to provide information, to explain and to seek to explain and articulate the ACT government's position or preference in relation to ownership arrangements for the ACT's second public hospital-there was a broad-ranging discussion on the sorts of considerations, the range of considerations, that the ACT government has taken into account in coming to a conclusion that it is in the best interests of public health delivery in the ACT for the ACT government to own and to manage our two public hospitals.
In the context of that, there was a discussion-as I say, a broad-ranging discussion-about the efficiencies to be achieved through a seamless single system of administration and governance. Of course, we are all aware of the need for efficiencies in health as a result of incrementally increasing costs.