Page 4568 - Week 16 - Tuesday, 27 November 1990

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policies is absolutely absurd and ludicrous. I think that the Government has demonstrated its ability to face up to issues which the Labor Government could not face up to when it was in office - and that has nothing to do with whether it is being driven by the bureaucracy, just as it had nothing to do with being driven by the bureaucracy when the Labor Government was in office for a short period of time.

I believe that I have made my position quite clear on a number of issues and in no way does this involve being driven by senior public servants. In fact, I would refer members to my response to Ms Follett's budget speech last year, which I made to the Assembly on 28 September when I was Leader of the Opposition. I outlined very briefly things that I thought that the government of the day should have done to address the hospitals issue. I will read it into the record in case people have forgotten it. I would remind people that when I made this statement I did not have public servants to advise me, so it was not a question of being driven by public servants.

Mr Berry: On a point of order: Is there some relevance?

MR SPEAKER: On the point of order, Mr Berry: I have not heard the point yet, so could we let the Chief Minister proceed.

MR KAINE: The point is that the Leader of the Opposition says that this Government is being driven by the bureaucracy and that it is powerless to make its own decisions, and I would just like to read into the record what I said once before. I said then, in connection with the hospitals situation - and I know Mr Berry will hate this because he does not really understand it - that what was needed was "to get away from nibbling at the periphery and to really attack the heart of the problem", and I was talking specifically about our health system. I said:

... let me pose a radical scenario in health delivery.

It was radical for the then Chief Minister, of course, because it would never have crossed her mind. I said:

... face up to the principal hospital dilemma and retain the Royal Canberra Hospital as a low intensity care, low cost community hospital facility.

I said that we could thereby preserve it for later exercise of "options relating to upgrading it to major hospital status when the population can sustain it or even to a teaching hospital in conjunction with a medical faculty of the ANU". I said:

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