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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 3 Hansard (27 March) . . Page.. 704 ..

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, when those people opposite work out what they are saying, we will have a look at it. When Mr Whitecross can come to me with a specific allegation relating to the ACT which I can investigate, I will do so. If he suggests that I should have an investigation of a particular officer named in respect of the Christmas Island matter as to his general probity, quite apart from what happened on Christmas Island, I would say to him that he is starting bushfires which he ought not be even talking about in a public way. I will remind him that it was only about this time last year that he had to apologise to the Australian Federal Police for remarks he made about their telephone manner. I suggest that he do not again get into the business of creating things that he cannot control in this place.

Hospital Waiting Lists

MR KAINE: Mr Speaker, through you, I ask a question of the Minister for Health, the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, over a period of years and through two successive Labor Health Ministers we saw the list for what is euphemistically described as "elective surgery" increase dramatically. Given that on that list there are hundreds of people who suffer from conditions that, while not life threatening, certainly detract from their quality of life, can you tell us what your Government is doing to reduce this list?

MRS CARNELL: Thank you very much, Mr Kaine. Mr Speaker, it is fair to say that there are many health experts - - -

Members interjected.

MRS CARNELL: We are starting to hear the health experts over on the other side.

Mr Berry: Blowing out the budget; the biggest blow-out ever.

MR SPEAKER: Order! The Minister for Health is answering the question, Mr Berry, not you.

MRS CARNELL: I am sorry, Mr Speaker; it did seem like Mr Berry was very interested in answering that question. I am not terribly surprised, really, because the one person who certainly does have a range of views on this subject, Mr Speaker, is Mr Berry. While in opposition, Mr Berry told this Assembly in 1990 that "one of the best performance indicators of a hospital system is the waiting lists" - the absolute best. Mr Berry should be very pleased that I am quoting him in this place. When Mr Berry actually got into government he sort of changed a bit and then he told the house in 1993 that waiting lists were no longer a full measure of the performance of the health system. I know that this is what you could call a punter's approach - a little bit this way, a little bit that way, a bit each way, or whatever. I thought I would just bring that in. But, unlike Mr Berry, as Health Minister I view the ACT's elective surgery waiting list as a real problem and something that really does require concerted action.

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