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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 17 March 2010) . . Page.. 953 ..


(c) direct The Canberra Hospital to plan for staff turnover and aim to ensure a staff person will be replaced before they leave a position;

(d) investigate if any further financial assistance can be provided to those patients who had to travel interstate to receive radiotherapy treatment;

(e) advise when the staff shortages will be resolved and almost all patients suffering from cancer in the ACT will again be able to be treated locally; and

(f) report back to the Assembly by 30 June 2010.”.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (10.50): I thank Mr Hanson for bringing this motion forward today. The approach that we are getting from the Greens, supported by the Labor Party, in seeking to amend this motion reminds me a little bit of majority government. In fact, the last couple of days have been a little bit like majority government. It looks a little bit like a majority government when a motion is brought forward and, instead of perhaps looking to amend part of it, we see a motion from the Greens to completely replace it with their own. We used to experience that between 2004 and 2008. Ordinarily, when a motion was brought forward the government, using its nine numbers, would remove the motion and replace it with a self-congratulatory motion. This does not go quite as far as what we used to see, but it is becoming a familiar pattern—the Greens and the Labor Party ever agreeing on things. It is often about protecting the minister, it seems to me. We heard that a lot in Ms Bresnan’s speech: “Look, don’t criticise the minister. We need to get to the bottom of it.” In the end—

Mrs Dunne: I’m sorry, where does the buck stop?

MR SESELJA: The buck stops with the minister. We have elected representatives, we have members of a government and we have ministers who are there to show leadership and ensure outcomes for the community. In the end, when things go wrong, they are there to take responsibility and are charged with fixing it. Any discussion about failings in our health system which ignores the minister completely misunderstands our system of government. We have ministers for a reason. They are there to represent the community. They are there as the public face of the government. They are there as ultimately those who are charged with getting the outcomes and, indeed, taking responsibility.

That is why, whilst the motion is a very detailed and reasoned motion that goes to some of the serious concerns that have been raised in recent weeks, it also calls for action from the minister. Indeed, it criticises the minister, as it should. It should criticise the minister when she does not show leadership. It should criticise a health minister who has, in a whole range of areas in the management of the health system, shown a lack of leadership.

It seems that, whenever there is a problem, it is the public servants who go out and face the music. It is somehow the public servants’ fault or it is not the minister’s fault in one way or another. Yet we have seen in the health portfolio a minister who is


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