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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 11 Hansard (23 October) . . Page.. 4083 ..


MS FITZHARRIS: I thank the opposition leader for his question. I believe, based on my recollection, that it is incorrect. What I did say was that the terms of reference would be published later that week and that I was about to appoint an independent panel and the terms of reference would serve as a guide. The members of the independent panel themselves have reiterated their approach to this matter in their call for submissions, which opened last Monday.

I utterly reject the premise of Mr Coe's question. Indeed, I indicated at the time that they asked me a range of questions, which I said would be answered when I released the terms of reference and when the independent panel was established. That is my recollection. If I reread Hansard and it is different, I will correct the record, but it is simply not the case that I failed to answer a question, and it simply is the case that an independent review has been established; an independent panel has been appointed; they have called for submissions; and in their statement, on calling for submissions, and on their website, they make it clear that confidentiality and privacy are of the utmost importance—as have I, Madam Speaker.

MR COE: Minister, how can anyone trust that the process will be fair and open when you have avoided answering questions or publishing information about the openness and fairness of the processes involved?

MS FITZHARRIS: Again I would invite the Leader of the Opposition to visit the website and read the public statement made by an independent panel. What in fact Mr Coe is saying is that he has no faith in the independent panel made up of highly regarded health professionals nationally: Mick Reid, former head of health in New South Wales and Queensland; Professor David Watters, a former president of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons; and Fiona Brew, a nursing leader from Victoria. What in fact the opposition is saying is that they have no faith in an independent panel, and I find that outrageous.

I have stated repeatedly, on the record, how important it is for this review to be conducted with confidentiality and privacy if that is the wish of those people participating—as has the independent panel. Unless he has not done his homework, I would invite him to do that and to have a look at the public statement made by the independent panel and to read all the information that they have online, which is widely available to the public.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, how will it be possible for members of the public and staff of the hospital to be assured that they will be protected, given your incapacity in previous question times to answer questions and the fact that, having read all the stuff on the webpage that you have suggested, there is no outline under what statutes members will be protected?

MS FITZHARRIS: I refer members to my previous answer and I remain incredibly disappointed with the opposition, who endlessly seek to attack anything in Health, absolutely anything. All those ACT public health staff that are working very hard now have multiple pathways before them. As I outlined extensively this morning, there is an independent panel. If the opposition is saying that they do not trust that panel, then I invite them to do so. If they do not trust an independent—


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