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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 7 Hansard (29 June) . . Page.. 2678..


MRS DUNNE (continuing):

Many surgeons resist or refuse requests to downgrade the category even when it is obvious that the condition has been inappropriately categorised

"Many surgeons resist or refuse requests to downgrade the category."The issue here—and it is quite clear from what has been written on Canberra Hospital letterhead—is that it is the policy to ask surgeons to downgrade the category of the patient. It is there in black and white; it is the policy. It is the policy that the hospital wants to codify because it is the practice that already exists at the hospital. Yet the minister said in answer to Mr Hanson's questions, "It would not be in accordance with the policy."So the minister is either a fool or a knave. Either she does not know what the policy is or she misled the Assembly about it. If she wants to continue to mislead the Assembly about it then this Assembly should censure her. If she is just foolish and does not know what the policy is, she should stand up now, admit that she got it wrong and apologise to the Assembly. They are the forms of the house. If you get it wrong, you come in and you admit that you got it wrong. That is what members on this side do. But it is a thing that is absolutely and utterly alien to the members of the Labor Party.

The members of the Labor Party cannot and will not admit when they get it wrong. This minister has got it wrong. The evidence provided by the minister herself and the evidence that has come to light and reported in the Canberra Times overnight demonstrate that this minister was wrong when she said it was not part of the policy. And the only thing that this Assembly can do is censure her for her refusal to withdraw that statement.

It is incumbent upon all of us, it is incumbent upon the Greens, to look at the clear facts—not to be distracted about the discussions about whether or not the policy is appropriate. What a censure motion is about is the appropriate behaviour of a member. And this member has told the Assembly something which is demonstrably wrong, demonstrably untrue, and what the rest of the Assembly must do is make a judgement on the appropriateness of that.

If the Greens do not censure this minister, the Greens will be saying that it is all right for members to mislead this Assembly; that it does not matter how patently obvious it is; that while ever the Labor Party have got the third-party insurance of the Greens they can get away with misleading the Assembly, with not fessing up to the truth and therefore not being open and accountable to the people of the ACT.

The issue is perfectly clear: Katy Gallagher said it was not policy, and there is document after document to demonstrate that it is policy. The issue is not whether it is a good policy or a bad policy; she said it was a policy that did not exist. The issue for the Canberra Liberals is clear. Ms Gallagher misled the Assembly. Ms Gallagher told an untruth, wittingly or unwittingly. But, if it was unwitting, she has not corrected the record. And the issue for the Greens is equally simple: has Ms Gallagher told the Assembly an untruth? Was it witting or unwitting? Has she corrected the record? The answer to the first question is yes, she has told the Assembly an untruth. The answer to the second question is no, she has not corrected the record; she has not apologised to the Assembly. And the clear consequence is that this member must be censured.


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