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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 10 Hansard (7 December) . . Page.. 2810 ..

Mr Humphries: Cannot people throw these ideas up?

MR CONNOLLY: Cannot people put ideas up? Then I tabled page 2 of the document, which shows that the recommendation on page 1 was agreed to at the management meeting held on 15 November 1995. So this is not just a working party report. This is the agreed views of the management of the Department of Health, the department for which Mrs Carnell is responsible. Yet she still tries to say here, "It is not my fault; it is not my fault".

This is the danger of this approach and philosophy of public administration that is behind this Bill and this is why the Labor Party is adopting what could fairly be called a traditional approach. We do accept a traditional approach that the Minister - - -

Mr Humphries: Who are the conservatives here?

MR CONNOLLY: The conservative approach, Mr Humphries, is that the Minister is responsible and the Minister is responsible for the policy positions of his or her department.

Mr Hird: Even before a decision has been made?

MR CONNOLLY: I am afraid, Mr Hird, that you should not necessarily listen to what your Chief Minister says or, if you listen, you should not necessarily believe it. This is the Department of Health's position. A decision has been made by the Department of Health. The Department of Health is heading down the track to administer this, and Mrs Carnell is responsible for that decision. Unless Mrs Carnell runs around and signs every chit in the hospital, which I doubt that she does as Health Minister, she is responsible for the administrative decisions taken in her department.

We have seen today the sorts of postures we can expect to see as the norm under this style of administration. Under this style of administration, the traditional Westminster approach, which is that if there is a stuff-up in your department you wear it as Minister because you are the one who comes in here and subjects yourself to cross-examination by the Opposition and by the crossbenches, that traditional approach where the ultimate penalty has been demanded in this place, will not apply any more. It will be the public servant who is at fault, the public servant who can be sacked at the whim of anyone, the public servant who, Mrs Carnell says, must be accountable. No, Mrs Carnell, the Minister is accountable. You are accountable today for what you plan to do, what your department, for which you are responsible, is planning to do to the mammography unit at Woden Valley Hospital.

Under this new philosophy that you are trying to foist on the ACT, I can see the performance we saw today becoming the norm. Whenever there is something unpalatable, whenever there is something unpleasant - like sacking doctors in a health centre, for which we had to force responsibility upon you, although I think you still say, "They were not really sacked; they just wanted to go; they are still accessible; you can fly to Tasmania", that sort of nonsense - we will see increasingly a pattern where the

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