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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 August 2010) . . Page.. 3963 ..

view about whether or not the government should own and operate a public hospital. His philosophical point of view was that essentially people other than government are better at doing it.

The Liberal Party keeps standing up here and saying, “All of these people saw this coming. All of them realised you didn’t have to buy it.” It is not true. None of them did. They all had different views about the proposal but not any of them have dealt substantively with the accounting issue. The government will support the amendment moved by Amanda Bresnan. I flag that we have an amendment to paragraph (2) and I can talk to that later.

But at the heart of this issue is this: what sort of health system do we want for the future of this city? Do we want a system where 30 per cent of it is controlled by a third party who has responsibilities to a board, a board that is not a Canberra board, or do we have a situation where we want to create the hospital system for the future that is interlinked with our community health facilities, that has got first-rate infrastructure, that has seamless delivery of services and role delineation across both hospitals, reached in consensus with the health professionals that work there? When the Liberals come into this place and say, “Nobody agrees with you,” that is simply incorrect.

I have had more support from the community to actually resolve the Calvary issue than ever before. People want a way forward and this government wants a way forward. But these issues are complex. They are hard. There is disagreement between the parties.

I note that the Liberal Party obviously do not support Little Company of Mary’s very strongly held views that the accounting advice is wrong. Little Company of Mary’s view is that we should still be paying for the hospital and it might come as a surprise that they are very keen to sell it to us. So the Liberal Party, sitting there, having a go at the government, obviously agree with the government in one sense. And it is good to have that support for me to go back into negotiations with the Little Company of Mary and say that the Assembly is unified that we should not pay for this hospital. That is where these negotiations are going to start from.

MR HANSON (Molonglo) (8.27): Speaking to Ms Bresnan’s amendment, the opposition will not be supporting it. What it clearly indicates is the Greens’ continuing dislike or ideological objection to private health. The first line is:

that the needs of public health patients should come before that of private health corporations …

I think that is an entirely needless comment to be putting in the amendment. All it does is really stake out an ideological position. It is an ideological position that we have seen of late in the Greens’ election manifesto that would see the private health rebate rescinded at a cost to ACT residents of $37 million. By losing the health rebate, the tax rebate in the ACT, many Canberrans would no longer be able to afford private health cover and it would put additional strain on our public system. I think it is very important that we acknowledge the very important role of the private health system in the ACT and that we do not start or continue an ideological attack on our private health system, as I fear the Greens intend to do.

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