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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 June 2010) . . Page.. 2342 ..

MS GALLAGHER: But that is the line that you are running: (1), that hospital executives, or surgical booking areas, are saying to doctors—

Mr Hanson: I asked you questions about what is going on. Answer them.

MS GALLAGHER: “You‘ve got to downgrade your patients,” and that these shy, wallflower doctors are going: “Oh, okay, no worries. No worries. I will downgrade them.”

Mr Seselja: Is that the only way they can get a date?

Mr Hanson: Is that the only way they can get a date for surgery?

MR SPEAKER: Thank you!

MS GALLAGHER: That is absolutely unbelievable. It is absolutely unbelievable. It is not the way the hospital works. These are professionals. They are visiting medical officers, they are staff specialists and their patients are number one. There is absolutely no way any surgeon I have met would ever engage in behaviour that downgraded their patients for the hospital’s convenience—absolutely not. I have never met a surgeon who would do it. I doubt whether you have met a surgeon who would do it. And for the staff in the surgical bookings area, you insult them—you insult them at Calvary and you insult them at Canberra Hospital—when so much effort has gone into making sure that there are rigorous processes about managing waiting lists and making sure that we improve access to elective surgery for those on the waiting lists.

So my suggestion to the Assembly is that we get a report from the Surgical Services Task Force, that they respond to the allegations that have been put, that we also have an independent review of the audit and that I provide that information to the Assembly. But I get the sense that the Assembly just simply is not interested.

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella) (8.29): I wish to speak very briefly. I was listening to the debate upstairs, and I have to say that a couple of elements have crept in which give me some concern. The first one is the substantive content of the motion which is being debated. I do not mind if there is a bit of emotional high and all that sort of stuff, but there have been a couple of comments delivered across the chamber, Mr Speaker, and, had I been here, I would have risen to my feet and sought your intervention. One is that Mr Hanson in fact accused the minister of lying. He actually said the word “lying”. Ms Hunter gave me a list of unparliamentary comments this evening, and it is sitting up there large as life. I would ask Mr Hanson to withdraw that comment, please, in the most positive of spirits.

Secondly, Mr Hanson also accused the minister of misleading the Assembly on more than one occasion and would know that the accusation of a minister, or a member, misleading the Assembly is probably the most serious accusation that a member can level, so that should be accompanied by a substantive motion on that issue, whether it be a motion of grave concern, a motion of censure, a motion of no confidence—call it what you will.

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