Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 05 Hansard (Tuesday, 8 May 2018) . . Page.. 1538 ..
should we believe this minister when she misleads the Assembly? That is enough to sack a minister in the first place. She has consistently misled the Assembly and she has not come in to this place and corrected it. That is a sackable offence in any parliament. In addition to that, we have had ministerial statement after ministerial statement of this minister coming in to this place and saying, “Things are bad in Health and I’m committed to making them better.” We have listened to her for 18 months.
As Ms Lawder has rightly said, the previous year she was the assistant minister. She was the minister for health in waiting because Simon Corbell was not going to continue in the parliament. And we all knew that. But she keeps saying, “I did not know anything about this while I was an assistant minister.” Either she was doing a very bad job or she has misled the Assembly.
Minister Fitzharris does nothing more than parrot what bureaucrats say to her. Does she listen to the clinical staff and the patients? No. Her response to the stories that came out about the maternity services at the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children is to say, “I am assured that that is not what is happening.” Late last year I raised these very same issues when midwives and others were saying on social media, “Ladies, do not go into labour today, cross your legs, because every available space in the women and children’s hospital is being used.” I asked questions about that. The minister came in and, in writing, responded to me saying that that did not happen. I cannot believe it. I cannot believe—
Mr Rattenbury: Believe the patients.
MRS DUNNE: I cannot believe the minister when the patients, the people who have contact in there, are saying, “Do not come in today—cross your legs—because the place is so overcrowded.” I do not blame Minister Fitzharris for the fact that the women’s and children’s hospital is overcrowded. I blame Minister Gallagher, who, when they built the women’s and children’s hospital, built it to replace the facilities that they had at the time.
Many years have passed. During the election campaign, when my colleague Mr Hanson spoke so eloquently about the need for new infrastructure, this minister and her predecessor said, “No, no, no—there is nothing to see. We do not have to improve the infrastructure. No, no, no—we do not have to improve the infrastructure.” They said it over and over again. Only when it became electorally unpalatable for them to continue to say it did they say, “Oh yeah, maybe Jeremy Hanson’s right, but we do not have to do it quite as quickly as he said.”
Mr Hanson has been proved absolutely correct about the failure of and the need for infrastructure. A number of times in the past few days I have been asked what I would do differently. The answer is that the Canberra Liberals would have started the building project that we needed a few years ago. It would already be underway. We would have a clear end point. We would be able to say when these facilities would be available.