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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 November 2007) . . Page.. 3617 ..


taking up issues on behalf of our constituents if they were happy and satisfied with the standard of health care. It is incumbent on this Assembly to find the solution. This is where we have a point of difference. We are not just standing up here criticising the way in which the system has been run. We are actually putting up a sensible solution. We have a bill here that provides a solution. It deserves better attention than the minister is giving it.

I will guarantee you that it is only going to be a matter of time before Mr Stanhope comes in here one day and announces that he will do this. I think he is frustrated that he has not been able to get anybody to do the job properly. It will be another one of these ideas where he will stand up here and be immensely critical of the opposition and then, when the dust has settled and the paint is dry in six months, he will say, “I have got this idea. We are going to put a hospital board in place. It is getting too hard for the cabinet and for the minister. I think it is a great idea; I have dreamt this up myself.” I commend this bill to the Assembly. It is the first serious step towards reform of ACT public hospitals. It is what the people of Canberra want to hear from us.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Minister for the Environment, Water and Climate Change, Minister for the Arts) (12.24): I am very pleased to have the opportunity to talk today about health and our record of achievement in relation to health and to compare our record of achievement with that of the Liberal Party in government in relation to its management of hospitals, indeed, its management of a public hospital system under the oversight of a board.

In that context, I refer in the first instance to the unacknowledged aspect of the range of statistics which Mr Mulcahy quoted in relation to waiting times, in the knowledge that they follow the closure of 114 hospital beds by Gary Humphries, Bill Stefaniak, Kate Carnell and Michael Moore in government. It is an irrefutable fact that successive administrations of the Liberal Party in government—

Members interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Order! Chief Minister, please resume your seat. Conversations across the chamber are not helpful while the Chief Minister is speaking.

MR STANHOPE: It is an irrefutable fact that over six years the Liberal Party in government closed 114 public hospital beds. It is an irrefutable fact that since coming to government in 2001 we have replaced all of those closed beds and added to them. We continue to add to the number of public hospital beds. We will not do what the Liberal Party in government did. We will not do what Kate Carnell, Gary Humphries, Bill Stefaniak, Brendan Smyth and Michael Moore did. We will not close public hospital beds and leave it to another government to clean up the mess, to provide the funding, to get sustainable budgets in place and to allow the system to operate to meet the needs of the people of the ACT.

The fundamental incontrovertible fact is that the Liberal Party closed 114 public hospital beds during their tenure in government. The other significant outstanding


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