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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 17 August 2010) . . Page.. 3328 ..

We have a situation where there are serious cultural failings under this minister’s leadership. And when those serious cultural failings finally see the light of day, she reinforces the view that you cannot complain about problems in the health system. She says on radio that this is just mud-slinging and doctor politics, instead of doing what a diligent minister should have done and listened to these and dealt with these concerns, and dealt with them far earlier. When did you know, minister? You did not know any of this was going on, apparently, until we saw it on the ABC. Apparently, before it was on the ABC, you knew nothing. Is that what you are telling us? Is that your position? If you did know nothing, that shows a lack of leadership and not doing your job. If you did know something and did nothing, that is even worse. Which is it? Did you not bother?

When they came out and raised these concerns, she did not address them properly; she attacked them and reinforced that culture, reinforced the very things that are found in this review, which is that if you complain, you get nowhere. You get blocked. “You’ve got to put it in writing because we don’t want to deal with it.” And the health minister confirmed it. This is not just a problem for people working for her; this is her problem. It is her problem because she did not do anything about it. It is her problem because she reinforced it with her public comments, her shameful public comments, which have now comprehensively been proven to be wrong by this review.

Either of these issues, on their own, would be enough for us not to have confidence in this minister. How could you have confidence in a minister who was prepared to throw away $77 million of taxpayers’ money for no reason, a minister who handled that process so badly? Putting that to one side, how can you have confidence in a minister who ignored these concerns, who ignored the serious systemic concerns in her department? And when someone finally had the courage to speak out, she attacked them and she reinforced that sense that you do not complain, and if you do complain, you will not get a reasonable hearing.

Either of these issues, on its own, and having regard to the way it has been handled by this minister, is enough for this Assembly to express no confidence. The two combined, along with the litany of poor results in our health system under her management, are more than enough for this Assembly to express it. In the end, we have to say that enough is enough. There has been so much. This litany says that this minister should no longer enjoy the confidence of this Assembly.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Health and Minister for Industrial Relations) (10.18): Welcome back to those opposite after your lovely long winter break. It is nice to see you back at work again.

Mr Seselja: How long was your holiday?

Mr Hanson: How many weeks did you take off?

MS GALLAGHER: Well, my holiday was actually a lot shorter than the winter recess when you guys disappeared for the entire time.

MR SPEAKER: Order, members!

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