Page 296 - Week 01 - Thursday, 14 February 1991

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Royal Canberra Hospital - Public Relations Campaign

MR CONNOLLY: Mr Speaker, my question is directed to Mr Humphries as Minister for Health. I ask Mr Humphries: What will be the cost to the Canberra taxpayer of your proposed public relations campaign at the Canberra Show and shopping centres, which is designed to con the people of Canberra into believing that your decision to close Royal Canberra Hospital was justified?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, the question is hypothetical, because I do not plan any campaign to con anybody. What the Government does plan, however, is to provide information at the Royal Canberra Show in precisely the same fashion that I think governments have, for a long time, provided information on features of the health system in the ACT on which people might have questions. That sounds pretty reasonable to me. It sounds entirely reasonable that people should have access to information, particularly as so much misinformation comes from those sitting opposite - not so much Mr Connolly, but others on his front bench.

I do not wish to denigrate Mr Connolly; but, when it comes to disinformation, his colleague in front of him leaves him for dead. The fact of life is that in the course - - -

Mr Berry: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr Kaine: Are you eating your lunch while you are talking, Mr Berry?

Mr Berry: One has to keep the sugar levels up to catch up with some of the disastrous things that you people - - -

MR SPEAKER: Please get to the point of order.

Mr Berry: I think that accusing me of disinformation is unparliamentary and ought to be withdrawn.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I can substantiate this claim if Wayne gives me a couple of hours. I have plenty of material to substantiate it.

MR SPEAKER: I think you should move that as a substantive motion. Would you just withdraw that? It was a passing comment and I do not think it does anything for the debate.

MR HUMPHRIES: All right, Mr Speaker, I withdraw that statement; but I stand by the statement that the Opposition, particularly Mr Berry, is guilty of misinformation on a grand scale, frequently and without stint - - -

Mr Connolly: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: Can we direct the Minister to answer the question: How much will it cost?

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