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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 3586 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

To come back to the exposure draft, my guess is that it has been tabled today and this is the last we will see of it. There is an election in a little over six weeks now, and its purpose will have been served: it will have shown Mr Osborne's concern for the nurses. Or will it? I would guess that the reason it is an exposure draft is that it unlikely to go any further because its main flaw is the one that Mr Moore put his finger on: it oversimplifies the problem and will solve nothing. If Mr Osborne talked to some real nurses, he would find out that that is the fact of it and that his exposure draft is not worth the paper it is written on.

I do not expect to see it come back. Maybe, like Mr Moore, I will not be here in two months time. That is quite possible. But even if I were, I do not think I would see this one come back, frankly.

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Business, Tourism and the Arts and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (11.17): Mr Speaker, there does need to be a correction of some of the things that Mr Kaine has just said. Mr Kaine said that Mr Moore had denied the nurses their pay rise. It is curious. The offer was made late last year. The Calvary nurses accepted that offer, and they have been paid the extra 12 per cent since then. It was a very innovative bid. It looked at some of the problems that Mr Osborne is seeking to address. We wish to retrain, up-skill and offer scholarships to our nurses so that we get the best nursing force we can for the people of the ACT. So what Mr Kaine said there is not accurate.

Mr Kaine made some comments about Mr Osborne's exposure draft-that it creates more problems than it will solve. Mr Moore, on the other hand, has been trying to address the cause of the problem. The problem is the lack of nurses who are available to work in the accident and emergency wards, and that is what we have been working on.

Mr Kaine asserts that the worldwide shortage of nurses, which is a fact, is being thrown up by Mr Moore like some sort of furphy. Australian nurses are at a premium overseas, the value of the dollar and the wages they can pick up overseas certainly make it attractive for many of them to travel. That leads to our dilemma, but it is a dilemma worldwide. At the same time as we are seeking to attract overseas nurses to Australia, overseas countries are seeking to attract Australian nurses because they value them for their skill levels.

The other point is about communication-being out there and talking. My understanding is that both the Chief Minister and the minister for health were at the hospital on Friday night talking to the nurses, as the minister certainly does regularly. Others here could take up the offer that Mr Moore has often made: that he will facilitate visits to the hospital for any MLA that wants them.

MR WOOD (11.19): Mr Speaker, my speech will be brief as usual. I simply say this: it is a well-known saying that to every complex and difficult problem there is a simple answer-and it is always wrong.


(11.20), in reply: I have trained myself over the years to ignore Mr Kaine. Do you remember the Muppets? There used to be those two cranky old blokes up in the balcony. Mr Speaker, what Mr Kaine alleged is just not true. I have been working with the nurses for the last six years and, during the recent nurses dispute, I or

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