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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 12 Hansard (19 November) . . Page.. 3690 ..

Motion of Want of Confidence

MS TUCKER (10.32): Mr Speaker, I ask for leave to move a want of confidence motion in the Minister for Health and Community Care.

Leave granted.

MS TUCKER: I move:

That this Assembly lacks confidence in the Minister for Health and Community Care by reason of her failure to adequately administer the health portfolio including:

(1) failure to give sufficient priority to people most disadvantaged in the community;

(2) failure to put into practice the principles of open, accountable and consultative government in this portfolio area;

(3) providing misleading information through the Estimates Committee about staffing issues in community care group houses for people with disabilities.

Mr Speaker, a motion of no confidence is a severe measure, and I want to say at the outset that the reasons for this motion, the reasons why I am so concerned, do not relate to transitory mistakes and misleading statements. Such things are important enough - and I have some to mention - but they are symptoms. I call on everyone here who may have picked up a pen to write down the details of how the Minister has been caught out to put the pen down.

My call for the Minister to resign is worth carrying only if I convince you that the Minister, either by choice or by the circumstance of her heavy load, relegated her responsibility for the most disadvantaged in our community to the least position on her agenda until she was forced to politically respond. The Minister for Health has been successfully censured twice. She has not responded adequately to my attempts, personally and in the Assembly, to raise matters of grave importance affecting people who are among the most disadvantaged. She has made a mockery of consultation, and I believe she has misled the Assembly. In short, she has blunted all the tools, and the time has come to force a change in her approach.

The Minister for Health need never have faced a want of confidence motion. Forcing her to do one thing or another should never have been an issue. She is someone who, prior to her election as Chief Minister, was impressive in her promise to introduce council-style, cooperative, accountable and consultative government. Instead, she has restricted access to information and decision-making to a small group and a tiny Executive. It is a sad fact that, in this dominant mode of politics in Australia widely, as well as in the ACT,

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