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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (17 February) . . Page.. 258 ..

MS TUCKER (5.03): I am speaking to Mr Smyth's amendment, particularly. I can speak to Mr Kaine's amendment too.

Mr Kaine: Just say it is okay.

MS TUCKER: Well, I will be supporting it, amended or not, because basically I made the point in my speech that I also have concerns about what is happening in other places in Australia and under the Federal Government's policy. That seemed to be a major feature of the Chief Minister's arguments - that, because it is not working in other places, we do not have the right to express concerns in the ACT. I think that is not a strong argument at all. The very point of a lot of what I said was that Health Ministers all around Australia need to be looking at the particular direction they are taking. As I said, the UK and New Zealand have already tried to take that approach and it has been shown quite clearly that the community is very unhappy with the results of that particular economic rationalist approach to health care.

The other point that Mr Moore has made in the most pointed way several times is that I spoke about the need to be constructive, and that somehow the amendments put on his behalf by the Government turn this into something constructive. I am afraid that all I can see it as is a point-scoring effort by the Government and Mr Moore to have a win in this debate. That is not what being constructive is about. It is about semantics. This amendment basically will say, "This Assembly wants the Minister to do his job". Yes, we all do want the Minister to do his job. We assume that he has been attempting to do that. What Mr Stanhope's motion is saying is: "Yes, the Minister needs to do his job and we are concerned that it is not working well", and I think that is a legitimate position for us to take. That was what, I believe, the intention of the motion was, and to change it according to Mr Smyth's amendment is just a bit of a nonsense and I will not support it.

MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (5.05): I am happy to close the debate. I will do it very briefly. It has been a long debate and I think everybody in the Assembly has had adequate opportunity to listen to all the views that were put. I think the case for the motion that I moved this morning has been put and made. I think the point just made by Ms Tucker is the relevant point - that it is quite legitimate for this place to echo a concern. I think throughout the community there is a level of grave concern at the current situation within the public hospital system. This Assembly is sending a signal that it is aware of that community concern. It is aware on its own behalf that there are major issues.

This motion is a signal to the Minister that this place is watching, that it is not satisfied with the situation we find ourselves in, and it is simply indicating the level of its dissatisfaction by an expression of grave concern. That is what the motion does. I believe the case has been made. I do not believe it has been appropriately responded to. I do not believe it has been rebutted today at all, or to any significant extent. I again commend this motion to the Assembly.

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