Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 13 February 2008) . . Page.. 221 ..
can tell you that, as at 4.30 pm today, this is news to everyone involved. No one has contacted James to confirm the appointment, so-called, booked by the minister.
The minister disagrees, but this does go to the heart of our public hospital system. The ability of those without private insurance to access VMOs who are contracted to ACT Health is about access to the public system. James is extremely sick and in anyone’s views has been denied basic human rights. He is Indigenous, a stolen generation Indigenous Australian and an ACT taxpayer who today, of all days, deserves much better.
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) (6.26): I was not going to detain the Assembly any further, but in the light of that completely and absolutely outrageous performance by the most deficient shadow spokesperson for health that this place has ever had to endure, I have no option but to respond.
Today Mrs Burke asked the Minister for Health a question in the context of an outrageous press release which Mrs Burke put out attacking the minister and me for a major failing in the public health system which, on investigation, was revealed to be an entirely private matter between a patient visiting a GP and being referred by a GP to a specialist.
Mrs Burke: Not at all. You have not got your facts right. I have just given you the facts. When are you going to learn?
MR STANHOPE: Mrs Burke says, “When are you going to learn?” When is Mrs Burke going to learn the basic aspects and operations of health within the ACT and within Australia? A person who attends a GP attends as a private patient in a private capacity, certainly as a member of our community and certainly deserving the highest quality care, concern, respect and attention. For Mrs Burke to launch an attack on this government and to mislead the media and the Canberra community that this was a failing of the government or a failing of the public health system when it was entirely and solely a matter between a private medical practitioner and a patient is appalling.
For Mrs Burke not to understand the simple message and response provided today by the Minister for Health and in an appalling way to seek to dramatise the particular case is absolutely unacceptable behaviour by a completely deficient and unacceptable shadow health minister. Mrs Burke launched an attack on me personally, on the Minister for Health personally and on the public health system in the ACT erroneously and with a total lack of understanding that this was a matter between a Canberra citizen and his GP and a specialist that that GP referred his patient to.
This is about the operation of private health within the community. The relationship between a GP and a patient is not a matter that involves the ACT government. To attack me, to attack the minister, to attack the Department of Health and to attack and denigrate public health for a matter that has been conducted in a private way between