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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 05 Hansard (Tuesday, 8 May 2018) . . Page.. 1539 ..


Minister Fitzharris’s response to the failure of the women’s and children’s hospital is to spend a small amount of money creating net three new beds at Calvary hospital and to encourage people to go to Calvary. As Minister Coe has said, “directing traffic”. We have to remember that the amount of money that is being spent at Calvary will give us net three new beds, despite the fact that the Chief Minister says the population is growing. It grew by 11 per cent between one census and the other. The number of people using our health system from out of the ACT is growing.

These are things that we can anticipate, except this government has failed to do it. This minister is the person responsible at the moment. She has singularly demonstrated today her failure by delivering yet another lengthy ministerial statement that confirms everything that is in this motion and saying that we have lots to do to improve. We certainly do have lots to do to improve. And this minister is not the person to do it.

Let us go back. This minister has misled the Assembly. She told us, on at least four occasions—she told us again today—that elective surgery and emergency department waiting times were on the up. Let me repeat the items I referred to in my previous comments. In February 2018 44 per cent of presentations to the emergency department were seen on time. That compares to 61 per cent at this time last year. In February 2017 102 patients were on the elective surgery list waiting for longer than recommended time frames. This year that has blown out to 278. That is a clear indication that this minister has misled the Assembly.

We turn to the Greens—the people who are here to keep us honest; the people who have said, “We won’t support frivolous wants of confidence. We’ll only approve it when there is proven and demonstrable failings on someone’s part.” We have seen today—if Mr Rattenbury and Ms Le Couteur care to open their ears—enough evidence to sack this minister. She has simply—persistently and continuously, even to this very day in her comments—misled the Assembly about elective surgery waiting times and emergency waiting times. That is enough under a Westminster system. But no. This Greens coalition is not going to break up over this.

The Greens have said that they will not be supporting the motion. We know therefore that it is destined to fail. It shows that the Greens in this place, just as they are nationally, are green in name only. They are no more than a branch of the Labor Party. They kowtow to this Labor Party and they kowtow to Labor Party policies. They vote with the Labor Party as the Labor Party directs. They are no longer a crossbench.

Ms Le Couteur is little more than a government backbencher who enjoys unjustified privileges not afforded to her Labor backbench colleagues. It is clear that this motion will fail. (Extension of time granted.) It is clear that this motion will fail because the Greens are too afraid to show some courage. Mr Rattenbury is obviously conflicted. His comments today were short and lukewarm. Although he has obvious concerns about the minister, he will be supporting the Labor Party today because he wants to maintain his privileged position.


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