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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 05 Hansard (Tuesday, 8 May 2018) . . Page.. 1540 ..


Minister Rattenbury came into this place in 2008 with one ambition—a publicly stated ambition—to become a minister. He will not pass that up for anything. He is putting at risk the people of the ACT, through their health system, because he refuses to pass up the opportunity of being a minister. They do not want to risk being relegated to the crossbench and sitting by themselves, thinking about the things that Greens find important, such as bees. Once again the Greens will put their personal ambitions above the needs of the people of Canberra, to the frustration of the people of Canberra.

The Minister for Health and Wellbeing will survive this motion today—not that she deserves to—because of the alliances in this place. As I said before, we had really spirited defences from the Chief Minister. If I were under pressure and my leader spoke in such spirited defence of me, I would be having a quiet word with him about where his priorities lay. Minister Fitzharris needs to feel very uncomfortable if that is as good as her leader can do when she is under such pressure.

Before I conclude I make it perfectly clear, as I think I have and as clearly as Mr Coe and Ms Lawder have: this is not a criticism of the hospital. This is not a criticism of the health services provided by doctors, nurses, allied health people, wardsmen, administrators and the like who run the hospital; this is a criticism of the minister. It is about the minister. I will not allow her to deflect this and say, “This is the Canberra Liberals criticising the nurses.” It is not. We support nurses, we support doctors and we support allied health staff, who are trying to do their best in a system that is mired in bad data, failing standards and maladministration. It is a hospital literally falling apart at the seams—physically falling apart at the seams—that has been presided over by this government for 17 years.

There is no-one to blame about the state of the health system in the ACT. There is no-one to blame when people tell the Canberra Times that they feared for the safety and the survival of their children during the birthing process in a First World country, in the national capital of a First World country, in a teaching hospital in a First World country. There is no-one to blame but the minister responsible.

The minister is responsible. Today she will survive not on merit—not because she is doing a good job; not because she can deliver a 20-plus-minute ministerial statement on how terrible things are, saying “Gee, I’m going to get on and make it better”, which she has been doing for 18 months—but because the Greens in this place care more about their own position than they do about the people of the ACT.

Minister Fitzharris should resign. Minister Fitzharris does not deserve the confidence of this Assembly. Minister Fitzharris, as the minister for health, has failed the people of the ACT. She has failed them comprehensively and serially over 18 months as the lead minister and previously as an assistant minister. She has failed and she will not get any better.

This will not be the end of it. We will not suddenly open the Canberra Times tomorrow or in a month’s time and see great headlines saying how fantastic our health service is. This will not be the turning point. This will not be the occasion when Meegan Fitzharris decides to become a better health minister because of this. This is


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