Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 10 Hansard (5 December) . . Page.. 2626 ..

MR CONNOLLY (continuing):

What has happened? The salaried doctors, Mr Speaker, have gone. They have been sacked. The redundancy packages have been put in place. Who can forget the story circulating in this place when the motion was moved on the committee that we have just debated? There were threats of resignation if the Government did not get its way on public service reform. In the petulance that we are starting to see, I understand that this is what is being put about today: "Oh, it is outrageous that Labor is passing a motion saying reinstate the doctors unless we get 100 per cent bulk-billing. We cannot reinstate them because we have paid out the redundancy packages. It would cost us a fortune to try to reinstate doctors". Mr Speaker, the mere fact of paying out those redundancy packages, following the motion of 24 August, when it was clear that the will of the majority of members in this place was that Mrs Carnell not proceed to sack the doctors unless she could put in place arrangements for 100 per cent bulk-billing, is arrogance and contempt for the will of this place of a nature rarely before seen in the history of minority government.

Mr Speaker, we can say that with some authority because members on this side of the chamber have been in minority government. Some of us were a minority of five in an Assembly of 17 and formed a government for the last six months of 1991 through to the 1992 election. We understand that, when we form a government which does not command, of its own numbers, a majority of this house, which has been the case since self-government, we simply must accept the will of the majority of members of this place. That will was clearly expressed in Mr Osborne's motion in August. The Government, with supreme arrogance and contempt, has just bored ahead and has paid out the doctors' redundancy packages.

Mrs Carnell: And we are advertising for new ones.

MR CONNOLLY: It has put an ad up, but it has written to the clients of the doctors, saying, "As of 1 January your doctors have gone and there is nothing in place to replace them. Here is a list of doctors in your suburbs". That is the letter that has gone out to clients. There is some sort of vague wish that perhaps the Government can fix it up, but the Government sacked and got rid of the doctors before it had in place arrangements that would guarantee access to bulk-billing services in the health centres. That, Mr Speaker, is extraordinary arrogance from this Government. As I have often said, "The buck stops here" should be the slogan on Mrs Carnell's desk. Mrs Carnell, in typical fashion, says that the fault for all of this is Paul Osborne's. "It is Paul Osborne's fault", says Mrs Carnell's press release, and a Canberra Times editorial, and I suspect that Mrs Carnell's media manipulators had more than a little bit to do with feeding that line. She says it is Paul Osborne's fault that all the doctors have been sacked from the health centres and that people are getting letters from the Government saying there are no doctors. Well, Mr Speaker, the transparency of that is just phenomenal.

Mrs Carnell promises not to close health centres. She rants and raves for 12 months about the lack of salaried practitioners in the health centres. In stealth, she sets in place arrangements to sack the doctors and only has the whistle blown on her by the Labor Party. She promises all sorts of things to members of this place, particularly in little meetings, saying, "Look, it will be all right. Do not support the Labor Party's motion calling on us to replace the salaried doctors, because it will be all right.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .