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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 8 Hansard (26 June) . . Page.. 2159 ..

MRS CARNELL (continuing):

Clearly, it is no good having the best hospital in the country if people needing surgery simply cannot get it, Mr Speaker. That is why this Government places a very high priority on stabilising and reducing the waiting list. Put simply, it means making our public hospitals more accessible to those people who really need them. It is with a great deal of pleasure then that I report on some progress to members in the Assembly here today.

Mr Berry: Kick them out sooner. Boot them out.

MR SPEAKER: Somebody else will be booted out if the interjections continue.

MRS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, waiting list figures for the month of May show a total of 4,163 people waiting for surgery at Woden Valley Hospital and Calvary Public Hospital. That represents a reduction of 132 on the April figure and a drop of more than 400, or almost 10 per cent.

Mr Kaine: Mr Speaker, I take a point of order. Yesterday, I took objection to the fact that Ms McRae babbled on while the Ministers were trying to answer questions, endlessly. Today, it is Mr Berry.

Members interjected.

MR SPEAKER: Order! The house will come to order.

Mr Kaine: Mr Berry has not stopped babbling since the Chief Minister started answering this question. Can you please call him to order and allow the Chief Minister to answer the question without that kind of interference.

MR SPEAKER: I uphold the point of order.

Ms Follett: Mr Speaker, I would like to support Mr Kaine in his assertion that the Ministers are babbling on endlessly - which is what he said, after all. Mr Speaker, it has been the practice in this place for answers to questions, particularly if they are dorothy dix questions, to get longer and longer and longer, and for answers to questions from this side of the house to be totally lacking in anything like information or accuracy. So, Mr Speaker, on that point of order, I think you should support Mr Kaine and require that Ministers speak concisely and actually answer the question.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Could I give some general advice to the house. May I suggest that Ministers do not respond to interjections from the Opposition but simply answer the questions as they see fit, naturally. On the Opposition's side, would you please stop interjecting repeatedly. I do uphold Mr Kaine's point of order on that. I do not uphold Ms Follett's point of order.

MRS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I think I have actually had about two minutes - in fact, less than that - on this question so far and I think I am answering the question exactly on what waiting lists are actually doing. In fact, these figures represent a reduction of 132 on the April figure. That is a drop of 400, or 10 per cent, since my Government took office, Mr Speaker. I think this a major achievement for our health system, and I would like to place on record my thanks to the staff at Woden Valley and Calvary public hospitals

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