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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (30 August) . . Page.. 3774 ..

Mr Hargreaves: You had to withdraw that yesterday.

MR MOORE: Well, would you prefer Mr Prickle Berry?

Mr Berry: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I thought, after the speech this morning that there would be none of this, that new standards were going to be set.

MR MOORE: Had Mr Berry been here for the whole speech he would have heard me say that it does not mean that a bit of sense of humour and a bit of thrust and cut-they were not my exact words-across the chamber were not a normal part of politics. I did talk about sustained personal attacks in contrast to that.

Mr Speaker, the issue of nursing has been a significant challenge. I have done a series of things to try to move that along. Members will be aware of the 12 per cent offer that was in the middle of an enterprise bargaining agreement. There has also been special education support and a range of other supports.

I think a fundamental change still needs to happen in respect of nursing, naturally negotiated with unions and so on. We have professional nurses on a ward doing not only the work for which they have their degrees and for which they are trained but also a series of other tasks which other people could do with far less training. I think one of the challenges, particularly considering the shortage of nurses, is for us to consider the introduction of health care assistants as well as a stronger use of enrolled nurses.

I think it is time to begin to look at the restructuring of how our hospitalisation services are delivered so that we can deliver the best services we possibly can, and so that nurses in particular who have a particular level of education can work at the level at which they are employed. I think that will be an important challenge for the future and for the future minister. It is, of course, a challenge that will have to be met in coordination with the nurses themselves and with the nurses union.

If indeed Mr Berry is again the minister for health, as may well be the case, I hope that he has much more success in building a strong relationship with the nurses union than either I did or certainly he did last time.

MR OSBORNE: Mr Speaker, I have had some assistance from Helen Moore for my supplementary question. Minister, now that you are leaving politics will you once and for all do something about that horrible beard of yours?

MR MOORE: Mr Speaker, can I just make a little comment on that-perhaps an personal explanation might be an appropriate way to deal with it. If I do something about my beard, none of you will know because I assure you that none of you will recognise me.

Mr Humphries: Mr Speaker, there is not much point in doing so but I ask that further questions be placed on notice.

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