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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 10 Hansard (6 December) . . Page.. 2714 ..

MS FOLLETT (continuing):

What we have on the Government benches is a typical economic rationalist point of view. They know the cost of everything and the value of nothing, and the provision of medical services in people's own community is a service which is valued by that community. If the Government does not believe me, they should talk to some of the people who have come to me, particularly in relation to the Narrabundah Health Centre. I have spoken to many people, particularly older women, who are distraught at the fact that their health centre has been snatched away from under them. It started off with their doctor being removed. Their own doctor has gone. In many cases, these are doctors who have been consulted over a long period by these particular constituents. It was bad enough that they had their own doctor removed, but the fact of the matter is that now that whole health centre is in jeopardy. It cannot continue. The evidence I have is the letter that was sent by the health centre to the patients themselves to say that there were no doctors available. What sort of health centre has no doctors? Those constituents of mine, whose opinions I value, even if Mrs Carnell does not, have formed the opinion that they have lost their health centre, and they have lost it because of the action of this Government.

I believe that, once again, the Government has attempted to defy the express will of this Assembly. We have seen it before and we are seeing it again on this matter of the health centres. Mr Osborne is quite right to point that out to them. It is not the first time it has been pointed out and it probably will not be the last time. However, I think it is absolutely imperative that the Government recognise that the Assembly is paramount. If a matter is carried by this Assembly, you must abide by it. If you do not, there is a price to be paid, and the arrogant defiance we have continued to see from this Government will in turn attract that price. There are no ifs and buts about it. I believe that the Government has not tried in any robust fashion to give expression to the Assembly's wishes.

Mrs Carnell's defence of her actions as Health Minister was shallow; it was, I believe, quite fraudulent; and it was based on some notional accounting method that has no application when we are dealing with the welfare of people in our own community. Our communities have had a service they valued snatched away from under their very noses. At the same time, we have heard Mrs Carnell try to pretend that it did not happen: There is still a health centre there; there are no doctors, there is no service, but it is a health centre. That is a nonsense, and it is a fraudulent approach.

We have heard Mrs Carnell try to blame everybody else. We saw the press release blaming Mr Osborne. Mrs Carnell tried to pretend that that did not happen either. She tried to pretend that it was the Assembly's fault, it was the Commonwealth's fault, and now it is the Opposition's fault. The fact of the matter is that it is the Government's fault. By their action in defying the Assembly they have brought this motion upon themselves, and they ought to take very good note of what has occurred here. If they continue in this arrogant fashion, this will be just the first of many such condemnatory motions passed by this Assembly.

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