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This debate has gone on today. It is not a fait accompli that it is going to happen. It is all down the track. This is something that is real, that has been set in place. There are some people out there facing a real situation that they are scared of. There are people out there who cannot look after themselves. They are looked after by the nurses out there and they are faced with the prospect of not knowing where they are going to live. I hope that the Chief Minister and this present Government will rectify that situation and ease the real concerns of those people out there.

Mr Speaker, as I said, I am not totally convinced that the sale of Jindalee is the best option; but, as I said, I am not prepared to say point-blank, “No, it is not”. I am prepared to stand back and listen, and to look at the options, and then make my decision. I suppose the very public support of COTA, the Council on the Ageing, does sway one in favour of the Government's decision. They would have a greater knowledge of the needs of the ageing than I have.

I support Ms Tucker's comments in relation to non-profit organisations. I would like to think that they were the sole market that we chased. Obviously, I am pleased that the Chief Minister has said that they will be the preferred purchaser. In summing up, Mr Speaker, as I said, I will not vote for this motion. However, my support is not unconditional. The ball is well and truly in the hands of the Government to convince me that the patients, and also the nurses - they have some real concerns - will all be looked after.

MR CONNOLLY (12.32), in reply: Mr Speaker, I do not want to take up members’ time unnecessarily, but I think one point has to be made here. Many years ago when Harry Truman was President of the United States he had something to say about executive responsibility. He had a little sign on his desk which said, “The buck stops here”. That sign should be recast for Mrs Carnell and her Government after this debate today and it should say, “The buck stops there”, because, in all we have heard from the Government, we have not heard an attempt to justify fundamental decisions like abandoning the role of government in nursing home care and fundamental decisions like abandoning the role of government in the provision of general practitioner services on a salary basis in the health centres. All we have had today, from speaker after speaker from the Government, is them pointing the finger and saying, “It is your fault; it is your fault; it is your fault”.

Mrs Carnell, you are the Government. We have heard for six months now this constant attempt to blame everybody else but you. The whole world is responsible for every problem in the ACT, but not Mrs Carnell. Mrs Carnell, you made the decision, irrevocably, to get out of nursing home care as a responsibility of the ACT Government. We were engaged in a major process of reform last year. We were engaged in a process which included looking at the options for an increased role for the non-government sector, specifically in relation to young disabled at Lower Jindalee; but we were continuing a commitment to a role for government in the nursing home sector. That is the fundamental issue here, and that fundamental issue has not been addressed.

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