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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 September 2006) . . Page.. 2963 ..

Mr Stanhope: I ask that further questions be placed on the notice paper.

Supplementary answer to question without notice

Health—public system

MS GALLAGHER: Yesterday in question time Mr Smyth asked me a question about specialists performing EEG tests in the hospital. I can confirm that the technician is away for two weeks and there are very few skilled people in Australia available to perform these tests. Bookings are arranged around the leave of the technician. An EEG is not normally an urgent test. It is not usual for EEGs to be used for emergency clinical diagnosis, but if an EEG is required, no technician is available and it is urgent, the patient would need to be referred interstate. My advice from ACT Health is that we have been very lucky in successfully attracting and recruiting a trainee to undertake training in order to have two available to perform these tests at the hospital in the future.

Personal explanation

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra): Mr Speaker, I seek to make a personal explanation under standing order 46.

MR SPEAKER: Do you claim to have been misrepresented?

MRS DUNNE: Yes. In question time today the Chief Minister said that the government was not represented at the launch of the riesling challenge yesterday because the opposition had refused to provide a pair for the minister. That is not the case. There has been ongoing negotiation between the government and the opposition about matters relating to committees, and the opposition advised the government, advised the government whip and advised the government whip’s staff on a number of occasions that it would provide pairs—two pairs were asked for this week—and that they were approved contingent upon the outcome of a caucus meeting.

That position was flagged to the government before we rose after the last sittings and to my understanding there were at least three caucus meetings when this matter was supposed to be discussed. I gather it was finally discussed on Tuesday morning. On a number of occasions during that period I was asked by Ms MacDonald and her staff about approving these pairs. I said that they were contingently approved, Mr Barr’s pair and another pair.

On Tuesday morning Ms MacDonald rang me to say that Mr Barr was ill and asked whether he could have a pair for the day because he was ill, with which I complied, as I always do, as we did with Mr Corbell, who was ill, and with Ms Gallagher, who had to attend a doctors appointment today. That is our practice. When Ms MacDonald raised this issue with me on Tuesday morning I immediately said to her, “In that case, if Mr Barr is not able to attend the riesling challenge, who will be attending in his place?” He could not attend the riesling challenge because he was ill in bed.

Knowing what the requests for pairs were, I actually asked Ms MacDonald who would be attending the riesling challenge in his stead because we had contingently approved this pair. We have never changed our mind. That has been our position all along.

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