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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 8 Hansard (24 August) . . Page.. 2643..

Mrs Dunne: On the point of order, Mr Speaker: if Mr Mulcahy asked the Treasurer something like "does he think it is fair?"that would be asking for an expression of opinion. The clear statement about whether WPI is fair is a reasonable question to ask the person who has imposed the tax.

Mr Corbell: On the point of order: asking "is it fair?"is clearly asking for an expression of opinion. Conversely, if Mr Mulcahy had asked, "Why has the government decided to introduce WPI?"or "Why is the government insisting on a flat tax base?"or whatever other emphasis is put on it, that would not be asking for an expression of opinion, but asking whether it is fair is clearly asking the Chief Minister to express an opinion.

MR SPEAKER Order! The question asks for an expression of opinion, so I rule it out of order.

Mr Mulcahy: All right, I will recast my supplementary question.

MR SPEAKER: No; I have ruled it out of order.


MR SMYTH: My question is directed to the Minister for Health. In April this year the two ACT public hospitals were on bypass for a total of 17 hours. In May the period on bypass was 36 hours, in June the period on bypass was also 36 hours, and in July the period on bypass was 41 hours. In the Canberra Times of Tuesday, 30 May this year the minister said:

... the emergency department—

at the Canberra Hospital—

is certainly feeling like they're making progress in dealing with things like access block.

Since the minister made that statement the incidence and extent of bypass have deteriorated. The Stanhope government has had three health ministers, five or six health reform plans and numerous health initiatives and still the ACT has escalating problems with bypass. Why are the ACT's public hospitals continuing to experience serious bypass issues?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Mr Smyth for giving me an opportunity to talk about the health portfolio for the first time in three or four sitting weeks. I appreciate the opportunity to do so. It is good to be able to talk about bypass or load-sharing issues. The word "bypass"is probably better understood in this place. That is the process through which hospitals go when their emergency departments are very busy and one category of patients, those who are categorised as less urgent patients, come into a hospital in an ambulance. If they can be seen faster at the other hospital they are diverted to that hospital.

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