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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 5 Hansard (7 May) . . Page.. 1261 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

It is important to look at our record, but that is not all. As is clearly indicated by what went on and the funding we made available over that time, we had a clear commitment to improving the lot of those with a disability in the ACT, particularly those in the care of the government. We would have continued to do that.

The challenge for the Chief Minister is for him to say that he will increase disability funding at the rate of 10 per cent a year, as we did. I look forward to hearing it because it is something we would all endorse. Perhaps he will be courageous and say 15 per cent; he might really gather his courage and say 20 per cent. But my fear is that it will take too long and that when it comes it will be too little.

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney General, Minister for Health, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for Women) (5.17), in reply: Mr Smyth has just implored us to look at the Liberals' record on disability services, and that is precisely what John Gallop did. John Gallop looked at the Liberal Party's record on the delivery of disability services and found it to be appalling. It is a particularly damning report of their stewardship of the health portfolio and of disability services. Mr Smyth asked us to look at the Liberals' record; that is what John Gallop did. He looked hard, and he found the record a disgrace. Then he delivered a 600-700 page report on the Liberal Party's record.

Mr Smyth: You ignore the jibe, Chief Minister, because you know you will not do better.

MR STANHOPE: Mr Smyth lays down a challenge to this government in relation to disability services. The challenge is to repair seven years of neglect, damage and lack of care and concern on the part of the Liberal Party for people with a disability. The 500 pages of criticism contained within the Gallop report, with all the recommendations for change-that is the challenge. The challenge facing this government is to repair the mess that the Liberal Party left us, and that is the challenge we are prepared to accept. Of course, it is one of the reasons the Liberal Party were rejected at the last election. You failed, and this community knows you failed. You just won't accept it yourselves.

I heard Mr Humphries when he came back from Bungendore say, "What are we going to do? We're going to get out there and listen. We have been rejected. The community passed judgment on us. The community found us wanting. The community found us not to be in touch with its requirements or needs." Mr Humphries came back and admitted it.

Listening to your debate today, one wonders what it was that you talked about there and how heartfelt were Mr Humphries' on-the-sleeve remarks: "We did not listen; we lost touch. We did not actually care for the people of Canberra. We did not implement the disability program appropriately." We knew it was all hollow and meaningless and, you have illustrated that today.

It is not something I normally do, but I will touch on Mrs Cross' final insult. The rhetorical flourish at the end of her speech was to attack me for not being here throughout the entire debate today. Having said that, Mrs Cross stood up and left the chamber. That highlights the hypocrisy not just of Mrs Cross but of the Liberals. Throwing the barb at me, "He wasn't even here for the entire debate," Mrs Cross then flounces out of the chamber not to be seen again. What appalling hypocrisy, Mrs Cross.

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