Page 714 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 28 March 2023

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political invective was Mr Rattenbury, who, after two minutes of speaking, instead of defending Ms Davidson, uttered some invective about the previous federal Liberal government and former Senator Seselja.

Instead of defending the minister on the substantive issues at play, he decided to go on a political rant, as did the Chief Minister. Instead of litigating, arguing and defending, he ignored the inquiry that he had instigated into her office. He ignored the problems that were being confronted in Dhulwa, pretty much glossed over the leak of private data and did not even refer to Justice Health or what I have said is happening in respect of veterans. The argument from that side has been weak; it has actually been to turn on the political smear.

The question before us is the one that Mr Cocks articulated so well. At the end of the day, this is a complex area of government. No-one is pretending that it is not. It is an important and complex area of government. We in the opposition have to ask: does this minister have our confidence, going forward? Can she fix these problems?

There are really substantive problems in Dhulwa, and now there is the relationship regarding the union and leaked data. There are significant problems now with the veterans’ affairs portfolio and the distrust between veterans and the minister. There is the dysfunction in her office. Can any of us—certainly, the opposition cannot—put our hand on our heart and say that the minister is the best qualified and most capable person to address these complex issues? We have been in this chamber, we have listened to the debates, and we have heard her respond inadequately to the detailed questions that have been presented to her. I do not see how anybody, in good faith, could say that she will be able to fix these enormously challenging and difficult problems.

As I said at the outset, it is apparent to us, and it is apparent to others, that the reason that Ms Davidson is in this portfolio is not because she is the best person to be able to address and fix these very challenging issues; it is because of the deal stitched up by Mr Barr and Mr Rattenbury to secure government. Have they done this deal, stitched up their ministry and put people in portfolios based on what is in the best interests of the ACT, or have they done it in terms of what is in the best interest of their power-sharing agreement? I made that assertion in my speech and I have heard nothing from those opposite that would assure me that that is not the case.

We will, obviously, lose this debate today, but we will not give up on fighting for the patients in the mental health system and more broadly across our health system. We will not give up on holding this minister and others, but particularly this minister, to account. Although, for whatever reason—I guess it is the politics of it—you will run interference in defence of her today, I ask that you consider whether making a move in the future—whether by way of a reshuffle or a quiet change—would be in the best interests of the community and in your best interests. I know that there are people who can take over. I know that there are people ready and raring to go who would, I think, be in a better position to do so—ministers that would perhaps have the confidence of veterans, the confidence of patients, the confidence of the union and our confidence.

Question put:

That the motion be agreed to.

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