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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 4 Hansard (17 April) . . Page.. 1029 ..

MR BERRY: Mr Speaker, the Liberals opposite laugh about one of their number misleading the Assembly. That is how they regard this place. Displaying that sort of attitude to this Assembly is the reason why it is held in disrepute.

Mrs Carnell was censured for misleading this place because of her reckless claim about savings that would be made in relation to the visiting medical officers at our hospital. Mrs Carnell was found guilty on that score. She lied to this Assembly. Mr Speaker, not only has that followed in the wake of her refusal to implement her election policy, where she lied to the community - who will forget the 50 beds? - but also it has been followed time after time by deliberate attempts to mislead this Assembly and create the impression that something was occurring which was not. For example, Mr Speaker, we heard Mrs Carnell screeching about the 18,000 separations in the Commonwealth Public Service over the period of the Hawke and Keating governments. The impression that she was quite dishonestly trying to create was that this had cost jobs in the ACT. Of course, that was grossly dishonest and untrue. The facts of the matter are that the numbers of jobs in the ACT for the period from 1983 to 1995 had increased. So, the impression that Mrs Carnell was trying to create in this Assembly about employment in the Commonwealth area in the ACT was a dishonest impression, and it does this place no favours.

Mr Speaker, one other matter, which will be of concern to women out in the community who want more choices, was Mrs Carnell's false and dishonest claims about homebirth. Mrs Carnell worked very hard to convince every one of us in this place that everything was okay in the area of homebirth, that it would happen, and that it would happen in March. Mr Speaker, that was a false claim, and it left us all sitting here believing that another positive choice for women would occur. It has not, and it will not, because Mrs Carnell is a captive of the visiting medical officers in our public hospital system. So, this is the woman who has gone soft on the doctors and hard on the community. Mr Speaker, this issue is one of grave concern for politicians in this Assembly, because this place is supposed to be respected. We ask for it to be respected in the community as a place of honesty. Mrs Carnell does not help us in that regard.

ACTION Services

MR DE DOMENICO (Minister for Urban Services) (4.15): Mr Speaker, it would be remiss of me not to correct some of the disingenuous things said by Mr Whitecross. It seems to me that one needs to have things like ingenuousness thrown out of the window and to use statistics just for the sake of using statistics, to use misquotes for the sake of using misquotes. The bottom line when Labor parties are in opposition seems to be that you have to knock and attack all the time. If that does not win, what happens? When people do attack, you turn around and walk out of the chamber so that you cannot hear what is said to you. That is fine, because that is why Labor parties tend to remain in opposition for so long once they get there.

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