Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (20 August) . . Page.. 2445 ..
MR STEFANIAK (continuing):
Minister, I acknowledge the increase in health expenditure by your government, but how is it that waiting lists have blown out, you have cut outpatient services, announced the closure of two aged care respite services and rationed accident and emergency services? Mr Speaker, I seek leave to table a document showing the combined hospital waiting lists for Calvary Hospital and Canberra Hospital for the years July 2000 through to July 2002.
Combined Hospital Waiting Lists-TCH and Calvary-Copy of chart for the period July 2000 to July 2002.
MR STANHOPE: We can all do better, Mr Stefaniak. Certainly, we are attempting to do that. Of course, it was not particularly hard to improve on what you left us with, the complete and utter shambles. As we have seen from the front page of today's Canberra Times, the ACT is 17.5 per cent less than the second lowest state in Australia for mental health funding. Goodness me!
Mr Smyth: Outcomes, Jon, outcomes. Were we doing it better?
MR STANHOPE: Mr Smyth interjects, "But look at the outcomes." Shall we go through a few of the outcomes?
Mr Quinlan: No, don't go there.
MR STANHOPE: No, we will not go there. Gee, how callous and callow was that? Under the Liberals we were 17.5 per cent less than the second lowest jurisdiction in Australia for mental health funding. After the $1.7 million Gallop inquiry, an enormous-
Mr Humphries: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I have to take up the standing orders once again. Every question today from this side of the chamber has been about waiting lists and every answer has been about disability services and mental health.
Mr Quinlan: It has been the same question.
Mr Humphries: If it is about the same general question, we should have the same answer. It should be about the same question. Mr Speaker, there is a standing order about relevance and I would ask that you enforce that rule. Continuously talking about mental health and disability services is not relevant to questions about waiting lists.
MR SPEAKER: I am sure that the Health Minister is coming to the point, but if you ask questions about performance in health on a defined issue, surely you must expect the relevant minister to be entitled to talk about the broader picture.
Mr Humphries: Not for the whole answer.