Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 13 Hansard (13 December) . . Page.. 4076..
Mr Corbell (continuing):
motion on the notice paper that deals with the performance of our public hospital system, including rates of bypass of the Canberra Hospital and elective surgery waiting lists. The motion asks us to "take urgent action to improve the performance of the ACT's public hospitals"and notes that, according to Mr Smyth, "the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that the ACT rated very poorly across a range of health indicators". Mr Speaker, Mr Smyth's question seems to pre-empt debate on this unfinished matter. I seek your ruling on the matter.
MR SPEAKER: The chair has to have regard to the timing—when such a matter might come before the house. That is not on the program; it may not ever come before the house. It is not really an anticipation of debate, because it is not listed.
Mr Corbell: It is on the notice paper.
MR SPEAKER: It is not pending.
Mr Corbell: Mr Speaker, with all due respect, you do not know whether or not this motion will be brought on again by Mr Smyth—or when it will be brought on. Surely the rule of anticipating debate is relevant regardless of the timing of debate on the motion. The fact is that the motion is on the notice paper, it is listed for resumption of debate at a future time, and it deals with the performance of the public hospital system. Mr Smyth's question goes directly to the heart of the performance of our public hospital system. Mr Speaker, I simply seek your clarification as to whether Mr Smyth's question pre-empts debate in the same way that a number of other questions today have been ruled to be also pre-empting debate.
MR SPEAKER: Let me first of all refer you to standing order 275, which draws a connection with proceedings in the House of Representatives. Then let me point out to you that the Speaker really has to pay attention to the probability of a matter being brought before the house within a reasonable time. In my view, merely appearing on the notice paper does not indicate that a matter is going to be brought forward at any particular time. As it is not on for debate today, and as we are going into the Christmas break, it is hardly likely that this matter will come on within a reasonable time.
Mr Corbell: Thank you for your clarification of that.
MS GALLAGHER: In relation to the question about the performance of Calvary Public Hospital, it is true that Calvary is making fantastic progress around areas that have been of concern in the past—around emergency department timeliness and access block, particularly. Its performance in elective surgery is always strong, and it continues to be strong. We have been seeing very large improvements based on the work of the access improvement program in all of those areas, particularly with access block. The access block being experienced at Calvary, according to the latest figures that I have seen, is down to 22 per cent, which is a significant improvement on where it has been in recent times. Calvary is doing an exceptional job in terms of aiming to meet performance targets. We are very appreciative of the effort that all of the staff and management at Calvary Public Hospital are putting into achieving those targets.