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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 2 Hansard (25 February) . . Page.. 754..


MR SPEAKER: Mr Hargreaves, a supplementary question?

MR HARGREAVES: Chief Minister, what leadership role can the government play in boosting donation rates in the ACT community?

MR STANHOPE: I think there is a role for elected representatives, and, I must say, the very pleasing aspect of the awards this morning and, indeed, the Terry Connolly walk yesterday, was the very visible attendance by leaders, most notably yesterday, of course, with the Prime Minister of Australia. Today, too, I have to say that it was very pleasing to see the numbers of members of this place that attended, including the Leader of the Opposition. That really is a reflection of the role which elected representatives can play in drawing attention to this most important issue, an issue which we, as a nation, have struggled to grasp or to grapple with as we have struggled with that issue of facing our own mortality and the prospect of each of us actually meeting with a life-ending incident or disease or illness and the subsequent difficult issue that is yet to be fully addressed by the Australian community—that is, the decision making which we leave to our relatives if we have not made it explicit through a discussion or conversation with our loved ones that it is our strong desire that our organs be offered for donation.

It remains one of the major issues yet to be confronted in organ donation that there are significant numbers of Canberrans and Australians who have registered for organ donation but where the opportunity is lost when relatives equivocate, are not sure, do not quite know what to do, are too confronted or upset at the point of our deaths in the very short, narrow window of time or opportunity that exists to make the decision to donate our organs. The opportunity passes, and a wish or a desire to have organs donated is not fulfilled. We all need to do more as leaders of this community to address that particular issue.

Health system—Canberra Hospital

MR COE: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, you have advised the Assembly of the 10-year war in the health system that has damaged the Canberra Hospital and that you had known about the war since 2005. Minister, given the previous reviews, including the review by the Health Complaints Commissioner that you mentioned yesterday, why did the war not end after these reviews?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Mr Coe for the same question, asked in the same way as all his colleagues.

Mrs Dunne: It is not the same question. You had better start listening.

MS GALLAGHER: I think in music they would call it a variation on a theme perhaps. It is almost identical, for the purposes of the debate.

In relation to the issue Mr Coe alludes to, I believe the only people that can answer that question are the doctors themselves. The tensions that I talked about are about interpersonal relationships that exist across the obstetrics community and have for some time. The doctors themselves are the only people that can answer that question.


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