Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 1374 ..
MR MOORE (continuing):
To succeed at all, they will need the support of this Assembly. I am already aware that some related work is being done by other parts of the Government, and I will certainly work closely with other Ministers where it is appropriate and constructive to do so. Similarly, Mr Speaker, if other members have legislation similar to mine, I will be happy to work with them on those issues as well.
I am also aware that the Pettit report and the Chief Minister have stressed the benefit of private members presenting legislation programs. I would like to say that by bringing forward my program today it is not my wish to unduly pressure other crossbench MLAs into doing so. No-one knows better than I that the capacity of crossbenchers, with only limited resources to make long-range plans, is not as great as the Government's. I should draw members' attention to the fact this is the first time that I have tabled a program of this kind. Of course, the capacities of the official Opposition are greater. Perhaps they can move faster to present their intentions. But, in general, I feel that each member of a party should come voluntarily to their own position on planning.
Finally, may I reflect briefly upon the issue of the Assembly time in which this material must come forward. The business I am bringing forward today is not Executive business and can have no place being brought on in that time. It is plainly private members business. When I introduced the Litter (Amendment) Bill back in May, there was some reluctance to allow me, even by leave, to present private members business. I think that attitude reflects very poorly on those members who showed that reluctance. I remind members that all of us have given public support to the concept of cooperative behaviour in the Assembly. I hope that this business will receive the fair go it deserves. In other words, Mr Speaker, I am happy to put my business alongside others to be considered by the Administration and Procedure Committee for placement on the program, even though I am not a member of that committee. In the spirit of cooperation, which I do take seriously, I hope that we can work together constructively, even through our political disagreements. The public will give us all greater credit as individuals and as an institution if we can succeed in doing that. I thank members.
MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition): Mr Speaker, I seek leave to make a statement on the same matter.
MR STANHOPE: I am intrigued by the statement that the Minister has made and the program he has tabled. I am a little bit nonplussed, if not quite concerned, by some of the sentiments he expressed. I think it is an issue on which we could have quite a serious and detailed debate. It concerns me that the Minister, with the responsibilities he has as Minister for Health in the ACT, admitted yesterday that the public health system is suffering severe stress.
The Minister is in the midst of a serious industrial dispute with the Australian Nursing Federation over their concerns at the inability of the Canberra Hospital or the public health system to deliver a decent output for the people of Canberra. The public health system is not managing. It is simply bursting under the pressure.