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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 June 2010) . . Page.. 2360 ..

Some patients do have their clinical position go from category 1 to category 2. More often than not, it would go from category 2 to category 1, but it does not. The only person who can determine that category is the doctor. Instead of going on a witch-hunt and trying to say, “Let’s read between the lines about what the hospital said or did not say to the doctors,” we should be applauding the hospital for being in such contact with the surgeon in the first place.

We need to be particularly careful about going on witch-hunts around this. If members are at all concerned about this, briefings can usually be arranged. If you have a good look at those processes that the minister has now tabled, you will see for yourselves that this is standard operating procedure in all hospitals. These characters across the road here have just made a massive mountain out of absolutely nothing. We in this chamber must be careful not to fall for this three-card trick.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Minister for Transport, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Land and Property Services, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs and Minister for the Arts and Heritage) (9.24): I will be brief. I think the point has been laboured well and truly. The Minister for Health has made it quite clear that, whilst, of course, we believe the motion to be entirely confected, we have no concern and nothing to fear from an inquiry by the Auditor-General into this issue, because we know what will be revealed, and we look forward to your apologies when the report is tabled.

I do want to go to Mr Seselja’s motion. I will not dwell on or actually repeat what has been said in relation to the motion at large and the amendments, except to repeat that the Liberal Party and, by association, the Greens, in supporting the Liberal Party in relation to this witch-hunt, completely misunderstand the process in relation to allocation of patients and the clear meaning and intent of the letter that has caused such furious, confected and contrived concern tonight. It is a simple and clear expression of consequence for doctors or clinicians of decisions that they may take. If they take this decision, then this is the consequence; if they take that decision, this is the consequence. But at every point in that letter it is made abundantly clear that the decision maker is the clinician and all the letter does is point out the consequences of the various decisions which the clinician may take. That is all it does. It is as clear as the nose on your face.

In relation to Mr Seselja’s amendment, it is simply unacceptable for this place to be moving motions of this sort in relation to briefs or papers that are not in the chamber today, that were referred to in passing by a minister in acknowledging that yes, she had been briefed. It is simply unacceptable by any standard in any parliament in Australia for a parliament to demand that of a minister, without the brief in front of him or her, without the capacity to inform members, who are contemplating supporting an amendment or a motion such as this, of the content of the brief. Does it contain private issues? Does it refer to patients? What is the Assembly asking in relation to a document that might be highly private or personal in relation to a patient within a medical system?

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