Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 17 August 2010) . . Page.. 3352 ..
ACT’s maternity services at the Canberra Hospital exceed national benchmarks. So there is no suggestion that patient safety has been compromised, contrary to the claims of those opposite.
This minister has acted in a way that recognised issues, responded to concerns, required investigation and has acted on the results. Those are not the actions of a minister who should be forced to resign today. But that is the absurd and ludicrous suggestion we have from those opposite, and the grounds for this no-confidence motion are completely baseless.
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (11.37): This debate today has been brought on because we have proven beyond doubt that Katy Gallagher is an incompetent minister and, because she is an incompetent minister, she no longer deserves the confidence of this house. What we have seen today is the usual and expected spectacle of the Greens finding some way to come on side with their colleagues on the left and the interesting footwork from the government trying to change the rationale for the sale of Calvary hospital.
What we have heard for two years—it is almost two years to the day since Katy Gallagher instituted her secret plan to purchase Calvary hospital—is “We have to do it, because we can’t invest in the capital.” But what we heard today from the Chief Minister and Mr Corbell was a change of rationale. “The only way we can have a seamless approach to the provision of public hospital services in the ACT is if we own it, if we own all the public hospitals in the ACT.” This is a matter of pure ideology.
I am very pleased that Mr Corbell stood and spoke in this debate today, because it reminds everybody of his attempts when he was a minister back in 2003 to take over Calvary hospital. Luckily, he was unsuccessful and, luckily, it seems that this minister will be unsuccessful in this regard as well.
But we have to remember that our colleagues on the far left over here have been falling over themselves in an ideological approach to make sure above all else—it does not matter about the quality of the service—that the ownership of public hospitals must be in public hands. That has been their approach. It is an ideological one. It is consistent, and that is why partly today they cannot support this vote of no confidence in this clearly incompetent minister.
The minister has said we need to go down this path because this is the only way. In the sight of experts saying there are other ways, she persisted. We had Mr Corbell here today actually making the argument that they have underfunded the hospital. He made the argument that Calvary is not taking enough maternity cases and they are trying to shift them over to the other public hospital. The reason for that is the reason that was given to me by the former medical director when, on one of the occasions I visited Calvary years ago, he said: “We cannot provide more services than we are budgeted to do. I have to answer to a board and I cannot exceed my budget.”
If Calvary is not carrying its weight, as Mr Corbell would say, in relation to obstetric services, it is because, as has been contended in this place and in the community, this