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Hansard . . Page.. 627 ..

Mr Berry: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Would you be prepared to direct that Mrs Carnell remain relevant?

MR SPEAKER: I have not yet found her to be irrelevant, Mr Berry. As Mrs Carnell pointed out, the question of health budgets is very relevant to the number of people who can be employed within the health system. I would have thought that that was obvious, even to you.

Mr Connolly: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. I would remind you of the duty of the Speaker to reflect the entire will of the house. That was a very political comment. I would ask you to reflect, as you have often quoted to us, on the duties and role of Speaker in the green book. Political asides in rejecting Opposition points of order are really quite inappropriate for your role.

MR SPEAKER: I did not reject it. I explained that I did not see that the answer was not relevant, Mr Connolly. Mr Berry has been a Minister and he knows full well the way that questions can be answered. As for the question of relevancy, I am happy to reflect upon what I have said. I will have a look at the Hansard and let you know if there is anything to reflect upon. In the meantime, we have Mrs Carnell answering the question, and relevantly, of course.

MRS CARNELL: Absolutely. We have brought in a health consultancy to work with ACT Health to attempt - I believe successfully - to do something about the very definite problems that we have been left with. If Mr Connolly had bothered to come to the briefing about the consultancy he would know exactly how it worked. There is no doubt about that. We have a consultancy coming in to look at Health right across the board; to look at how we can best provide services to the people of the ACT, how we can best address the problems of waiting lists, how we can do something about the unbudgeted expenditure that the previous Government entered into. Quite seriously, we will not back away from targeted voluntary redundancies. Interestingly, nor did the previous Government. They used those every single year, and we will, too; but we will make sure that they are targeted, that they are voluntary, and that they are in the appropriate places to ensure that we do something about waiting lists, we do something about having fewer public hospital beds than anywhere else in Australia, and we do something about the overrun or the unbudgeted expenditure you have left us with.

MR CONNOLLY: By way of a supplementary question: The Chief Minister's only relevant answer referred to targeted redundancies. Again, to refer to the original question, what is your target? How many workers will lose their jobs?

MRS CARNELL: If we went into a consultancy worth a lot of money - as you have said, $330,000 for the first nine weeks - knowing what was going - - -

Mr Connolly: For the first nine weeks?

MRS CARNELL: That is exactly it. If you had come to the - - -

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