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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 14 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 5962..


In my speech at the beginning of the year I also said that I looked forward to working with members of the government and the opposition on these issues and I repeat that invitation. With the tabling of this exposure draft I hope that members of the Assembly will look at the issues and become engaged and that we can pass a bill in the first half of next year that will have the approval of all parties.

Canberra Hospital—obstetrics unit

Debate resumed.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (3:16): I welcome reluctantly and I suppose with a little disappointment the fact that we have to revisit this issue today, but I congratulate Mr Hanson for his persistence and fortitude on behalf of those members of staff at the Canberra Hospital obstetrics unit who have been the victims of varying degrees of bullying. It is worth noting that Mr Hanson has been the standard bearer for a fair go for these people. It is unfortunate that we are having to debate this issue again today, because we have ended up in what is essentially a Stanhope government cover-up of the issue, which is being aided and abetted by the Greens as manifested by Ms Bresnan's amendment to Mr Hanson's motion, which we will not be supporting.

We need to put this in context. We in the ACT, by the minister's own admission, have had a war in obstetrics for more than 10 years. It has been spoken of as creating a toxic culture at TCH in the women's and children's health area. People have spoken of being victimised and ruined by this toxic culture. It is interesting that, reflecting on some of the things that we touched on this morning in the debate about the Bimberi Youth Justice Centre, the same words of toxic culture could have been used in that debate as well and possibly will be used later in the day in that debate.

It is really puzzling—I listened to the minister try to defend the indefensible on radio earlier this week when she spoke about how the Public Interest Disclosure Act works and how her hands were tied. She was pretty much defending the indefensible. Her performance was very poor indeed, and the slap that she received from the listening community by way of call-ins and text messages show just how unconvincing and how poor her performance was.

It raises the question: what has the minister got to hide when it comes to the toxic culture that has been created by, in her own words, a 10-year war in obstetrics? Is there something the minister is trying to hide? Are there some relationships that the minister thinks are too close for comfort? If the minister is not trying to hide something, she is actually helping, aiding and abetting—as are the Greens by moving this amendment today—in victimising every manager at the Canberra Hospital. Everyone is being tarred with the same brush.

Because the government cannot or will not put out there what the recommendations are and what the measures that need to be taken are, we cannot clear the air. The community and this Assembly should be able to monitor what is happening, and, if it is working, we should congratulate people for achieving results. But because none of this is open, everyone is under a cloud. That is unfair to the vast majority of people


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