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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (17 February) . . Page.. 243 ..

MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (4.11): The amendment put by Ms Tucker would mean that the effect of the motion would be, having noted those things, that the Assembly expresses "its grave concern at the inability of the Government and the Minister for Health and Community Care to effectively manage the hospital system". Mr Deputy Speaker, I take motions of this Assembly very seriously, as does each member of the Government. If members were to pass this motion that basically expresses their grave concern at my inability to manage the system, it would, of course, be something that would have a significant impact on me, because I do take it seriously.

I understand why the Opposition has to put up these sorts of motions. But if we are to take these sorts of motions seriously, there is an extra responsibility on the crossbenchers to say, "Is this motion exactly right? Is this really what we want to say? Do we really want to say that we have grave concerns that this Minister is unable to manage the health system better than anybody else in the country, or better than any other Minister has done in the past 10 years or so since self-government, or should we look at the foreshadowed amendment of Mr Humphries and say there are certain expectations of this Assembly, certain expectations of the Minister and we hope to see them happen?".

Remember, we are talking about a hospital that has projected a blow-out, not a hospital that has blown out. We are talking about a hospital that has projected a blow-out of $10m, and the only reason you know is that I have made that public. The only reason you know is that I have made that public. It seems to me, Mr Deputy Speaker, that that is something that the crossbenchers have to consider very carefully when they look at this motion and when they look at the amendment foreshadowed by Mr Humphries. It is the very thing that Ms Tucker said to me: "Make sure that you work with people to try to get a better outcome". Are we, as an Assembly, just going to try to keep slapping people around and down for short-term political gain, or are we going to try to work with them, as I have with each member of the crossbenches, always being available to talk to them and always presenting information in a very frank way in order to deal with whatever difficult issue has arisen?

In this particular portfolio invariably there is a range of very difficult issues to deal with. Note the 255 women, for example, who had been exposed to an HIV positive, hep B positive worker. Just for members' information, all those women have been found, all 255 of them, and all have tested negative. We still have a handful who are in the window period from the HIV perspective and we will see the results when the window period ends in mid-March.

Mr Deputy Speaker, it seems to me that we have the opportunity when we look at Ms Tucker's amendment to say, "Yes, that amendment does make it a bit more sensible", but it is far more sensible to go that extra step and take a positive approach to putting in the expectations that she will then test at the end of the financial year. That would be giving me a reasonable chance to do the job.

MR HARGREAVES (4.15): Mr Deputy Speaker, I was not going to speak on the motion itself, and I probably will not, but I want to make a point about Ms Tucker's amendment. It refers only to the hospital system, and we need to understand why that is so. It is my understanding that the community health component of the Minister's portfolio is doing particularly well. I think it is worth recording that they are doing

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