Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 4073 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
For example, the Belconnen Youth Centre is the home and birthplace of the Warehouse Circus, a very effective and, significantly, locally based employment-creation, cultural-development program. This is not to disparage the staff delivering generic community service programs, but they rarely have the flexibility or the flat, accessible structure that can support and respond to such opportunities.
Unfortunately, the generic service providers have been particularly advantaged by the competitive tendering processes over the past few years and we are in danger of losing the diversity of models, and so the real creativity in the sector. Rather than merely moving away from our unsatisfactory model, it is time to work towards an approach based on the kind of participation and recognition that Warehouse Circus represents.
MR SMYTH (Leader of the Opposition) (11.22): Mr Speaker, the opposition will not support this bill. The bill is based on two false premises. First, contrary to the Chief Minister's assertion, the health system was not in crisis when he took office. If it's in crisis now, it's because of his doing. But it was not when he came to be Chief Minister and Health Minister.
If it is in crisis now, it will get worse if this bill is adopted. It's that simple. To go back a step, the health system was not in crisis when the Chief Minister took office because the previous government, through rigorous management and record spending, had achieved numerous successes. These include attaining healthy city accreditation from the World Health Organisation; the waiting list for elective surgery being reduced to record lows; the initiation and completion of the nurse practitioner trial; record levels of funding and providing the solid financial position for the current government to do its own spending; and Setting the agenda, a comprehensive list of steps to reform in health-targets that were set and met. Setting the agenda needs to be compared with the lacklustre health action plan from 2002. The health budget contained internal growth funds to cover the economic anomaly that occurs in health whereby increased mechanisation increases cost.
The second false premise that this bill exists on is that purchaser/provider was a failure. I do not accept that premise. Purchaser/provider created the framework for the successes I have outlined. It trimmed the bureaucracy and forced the health department to provide improved services and outcomes. As an aside, purchaser/provider is also an integral part of the comprehensive accrual accounting system. To get rid of purchaser/provider effectively neuters accrual accounting. However, such methodological niceties are beyond the government's understanding, so I will move on.
Some of what I am going to say may upset some people. It is not intended to. When I speak of bureaucracy, I speak of the tendency of large organisations to go out of control because they are simply large organisations. No-one who is part of this bureaucracy is to be blamed.
Hannah Arendt, the great German-American philosopher, coined the term "the banality of evil"to describe the way in which a bureaucracy can go out of control. In her view, this was essentially the nature of the beast. To combat this particular beast, it takes political will and foresight. To quote the Yes, Minister series, it takes "courageous decisions"to nullify the excesses of the bureaucracy. If we narrow down the philosophy to the example at hand, we can see that the political will and foresight necessary to