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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 November 2007) . . Page.. 3669 ..

contribution, she should observe the procedures, run it through the chair and not direct her personal vitriol at Mrs Burke.

MS MacDONALD: Point taken. I am happy to accept that I should direct all my comments through you, Mr Deputy Speaker. Mrs Burke is alienating the health workforce—

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, Ms MacDonald! Firstly, I do not accept your point of order, Mr Mulcahy. However, Ms MacDonald, I think it should be noted that we are debating the health system. You might just try and stick to the core of the debate.

MS MacDONALD: That is what I am doing, Mr Deputy Speaker. I will direct my comments through you, Mr Deputy Speaker, because you are in the chair. As I was saying, Mrs Burke has alienated the health workforce. She has taken sides, which has been pointed out on several occasions previously. She does it without gathering all the facts. I wonder at times whether she is even capable of understanding what the facts are.

Members interjecting—

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Ms MacDonald, resume your seat. Members on the opposition benches and minister, let us see if we can keep the interjections to the absolute minimum. I do not mind the interjections, but keep the traffic down.

MS MacDONALD: Mr Deputy Speaker, there is one thing that the minister may comment on, and I have to comment on it as well because, quite frankly, it is just a ridiculous statement. Mrs Burke made the comment that the minister was using the Reba Meagher defence and that it was starting to look like the Royal North Shore. While the shadow minister might like to run her portfolio as though it is being run out of the offices of the Daily Telegraph, that is not the responsible way of dealing with things. It is actually a load of rubbish.

Mrs Burke might like to take her cue from the Daily Telegraph, but the fact is that, as I said earlier, we have an excellent health system here. We have a world-class health system here. I know that from speaking to people, as well as from experiencing it myself. I know that the minister as well has gone through the health system on a number of occasions in the last few years. A friend of mine unfortunately has been diagnosed with leukaemia. In one of her emails to me—I did ask her permission to quote her email so it is a pity I did not bring it down with me—she talks about the excellent treatment she has been receiving from Canberra Hospital, the health system and the at-home service that has been visiting her.

Mrs Burke and the opposition unfortunately never talk about the good things that occur within the health system. We have some excellent health services in this town. Given the size of Canberra’s population, we cannot provide every service that you would get in a large city like Sydney. But what we are able to provide, we do well. I think it is irresponsible for those on the opposite side to get up here and continuously slander the ACT’s health system, run it down and run it down so that people in the ACT lose confidence in the health system. It is irresponsible on their part, and I

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