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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 March 2010) . . Page.. 1365 ..


It is pretty much the case that the Stanhope Labor government have form on this. The Stanhope Labor government have considered Calvary and the ownership of Calvary by the Little Company of Mary a thorn in their side. And they have form on this: we saw the hostile approach that the previous minister, Mr Corbell, had to Calvary—to the extent, as Mr Smyth will recall, that there were times during budget estimates when it was impossible for members of the Legislative Assembly to put questions about the operation of Calvary hospital directly to the CEO of Calvary hospital. Mr Corbell on one occasion refused to allow him to come up to the table when a question was asked that was directly related to him. The next year he was uninvited to estimates; he was not allowed to even come into the room, for fear that he might be asked a question and give an answer. That goes to show the extent to which Calvary has been a thorn in the side for this government.

We need to keep the motivation in mind. The Chief Minster and the Deputy Chief Minister and Treasurer talk about this as being really only about the accounting treatment. That does not wash with me. Over the years, I have seen their attitude to Calvary hospital. People of the ACT need to know that Katy Gallagher, Simon Corbell and, to a possibly lesser extent, Jon Stanhope have been hostile to Calvary ever since they occupied the government benches.

With that in mind, it is interesting to see the Treasurer’s interaction today, especially in relation to the letter that apparently the Chief Minister wrote to the archbishop. I asked a question about where the government was with negotiations on this, because it was public knowledge that meetings had been held. There is public interest in this, and it is reasonable that the Canberra Liberals should ask these questions. It was interesting to hear the snide comments that the Treasurer made then, and she repeated them here today. Just in case people did not get it, the clear implication was “I do not know why I need to table that letter, because you have already got it, I bet”. The implication was that a confidential meeting, where a letter was passed confidentially between the Chief Minister and the archbishop—that someone who had received that letter would bring it to the opposition and break the trust that the Deputy Chief Minister says exists between the government and the people negotiating on behalf of the Catholic Church and the Little Company of Mary.

I put it on the record for all to hear that I do not have that letter. I know of that letter’s existence because the Deputy Chief Minister spoke about it the other day. And I have a fairly good idea that no-one—none of my colleagues—have that letter or have seen that letter. If anyone had given it to us without the approval of the Chief Minister, it would have been a breach of their trust. The accusation that the Deputy Chief Minister made last Wednesday and again today is that the people who were in receipt of that letter would have breached her trust, would have breached the agreement that they had come to. It shows that she thinks that they act in bad faith. I am putting on the record that, as far as I know, they have not.

She needs to think about what she said there. If she really wants to negotiate with these people and have a really good outcome for the health outcomes of the people of the ACT, she needs to treat the people she is negotiating with better. It is not the cut and thrust we have in here, when she can come in here and verbally beat people


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