Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 10 Hansard (6 December) . . Page.. 2719 ..
Ms Follett: Mr Speaker, could I just ask whether that was a reflection by Mr Humphries on a vote of this Assembly.
MR SPEAKER: No, there is no point of order.
Ms Follett: If not, what did he mean?
Mr Humphries: It is a reflection on your lack of credibility, Ms Follett.
MR SPEAKER: There is no point of order.
MR CONNOLLY (12.52): Mr Speaker, we have just seen a very petulant, spitting-the-dummy performance from a Minister trying to defend against this censure motion, but that is perhaps to be expected. I do not rise to reiterate the points that have been made very effectively in this debate, and one of the key points was made both by Mr Osborne and by Ms Tucker. The Assembly directed that you not get rid of the salaried doctors unless you could guarantee bulk-billing. In contempt of the views of 10 of your colleagues, because you have seven votes and this is an Assembly of 17 - - -
Mr De Domenico: Really? Oh!
MR CONNOLLY: You should learn that and you should ponder that. In defiance of the clear will of the Assembly, you went ahead and arranged the redundancies of the doctors. We would like to know: At what cost?
Mrs Carnell: I am very happy - - -
MR CONNOLLY: We would like to know what was the global cost of those redundancy payments, and we will keep pursuing that matter until we get the answer. Mrs Carnell says, "I am happy to tell you", so perhaps she can tell us in this debate. We want to know how much money you spent defying - - -
Mrs Carnell: We have not spent - - -
MR CONNOLLY: You had to spend it to get rid of them, but the Assembly said, "Do not get rid of them unless you can guarantee bulk-billing". You got rid of them. You incurred the redundancy costs, and then you come back to this Assembly and say, "Sorry, we cannot do anything because they have been sacked". As I say, those points have been made effectively in this debate already.
I want to intervene essentially on this question of the $600,000. It seems to be common ground, because Mrs Carnell conceded the fact when Ms Follett made it, that roughly we recoup in Medicare payments the salary costs of the doctors. It might go up and down from year to year, but broadly we recoup in Medicare billings what it costs in the salary payments of the doctors. The Government defends these savings by saying that there is $600,000 worth of on-costs in those health centres. There may well be $600,000 worth of on-costs at those health centres; there are things like heating, lighting, receptionists, the people who look after the bookings and all the rest of it. Presumably, if the Government is honest, and we do not think it is, the Government says, "We are going to continue with