Page 4004 - Week 14 - Tuesday, 22 October 1991

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Mr Speaker, the failed former Minister for Health has indeed a burden to bear in relation to his management of ambulance services, and that not only is a great shame on himself but also has impacted heavily on the ACT community because there had been a loss of confidence in the Ambulance Service. I am pleased to say that that confidence is now returning and the ACT Ambulance Service is in the early stages of a full recovery from the impact of the Alliance Government.

I will also say, Mr Speaker, that we are closely monitoring the workload of the ACT Ambulance Service to determine whether and when additional ambulances might be required. We have heard Mr Humphries crying out that Labor had made some promise in the past. Clearly, Labor does not make knee-jerk decisions like the former Government; Labor makes decisions which are well researched.

Mr Kaine: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: This Minister is really turning question time into a travesty. I have been listening to this answer now for six minutes, and if that is not a ministerial statement I do not know what is. It was a dorothy dix question that the Minister has taken six minutes to answer, but he has not finished yet. I think it is about time this question time was devoted to the purpose for which it was intended - answering questions, not ministerial statements.

MR BERRY: Indeed, and that is what I am doing. I think Mr Kaine would now admit - - -

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Berry! I was watching the time. I would have pulled the Minister up some time before; but I assumed that, as it is now 3.12 pm, the Chief Minister was about to call it to an end anyway. Mr Berry, please proceed.

MR BERRY: Mr Speaker, I have to say that, now that Mr Kaine has sat there riveted while I answered this question, he is far better informed than he was when I started.

Public Hospital Beds

MR STEFANIAK: My question is to Mr Berry again, as Minister for Health. The Canberra Times of 4 July this year carried a report which quoted him as saying:

The conservatives are desperate to close public hospital beds and force people into the private sector - we want to provide more public hospital beds.

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