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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 2535 ..

MR SMYTH: Minister, could you inform us exactly how much pain there will be? In other words, how high will the waiting lists go under your governorship of the health portfolio?

MR STANHOPE: They won't go as high as they went under the Liberals, Mr Speaker.

MR SMYTH: I have a supplementary question. Minister, how high are you prepared to let the waiting lists get?

MR STANHOPE: That is not a question that is capable of being answered. But the lists certainly won't go as high as they went under the Liberals; there is no way that they will. Nor will we allow expenditure on mental health services to drop to the absolutely deplorable levels that they reached under the Liberal Party.

Mr Smyth: Why do you keep changing the subject?

MR STANHOPE: Everything is connected to everything in the putting together of a budget, isn't it?

Mr Stefaniak: I have a point of order, Mr Speaker.

MR STANHOPE: There are a whole range of priorities, and we are responding to those priorities.

MR SPEAKER: What is your point of order, Mr Stefaniak?

Mr Stefaniak: We had this yesterday, and here we go again. This is repetitious.

Mr Quinlan: So was the question.

Mr Stefaniak: I said "tedious and repetitious". Can you can get him to stick to the question, Mr Speaker?

MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Stefaniak. There have been a number of questions about waiting lists and answers that have been contextualised. I think the Chief Minister is entitled to paint the bigger picture.

MR STANHOPE: He is asking questions about waiting lists, and I will answer them as I deem appropriate and will enjoy it every time.

Let's get back to torts. We will not allow the ACT to fall back into the absolutely disastrous situation that it achieved under your stewardship. We will not allow funding for people with a mental illness in this territory to fall to the disastrously low levels that you allowed it to fall to. There was 171/2 per cent less funding on a per capita basis for people with mental issues than the second worst jurisdiction in Australia. This is not just a question of being the lowest funded jurisdiction in Australia; this is a question of having 171/2 per cent less in funding for people with a mental illness.

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