Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (5 March) . . Page.. 548 ..
MR QUINLAN (continuing):
approach may be adequate for funding, it is not sufficient to deal with the requirement for skilled staff or other resources.
It is important for me to put in perspective the discussion leading to that comment. The Chair of the committee had challenged the provision of additional funds to the Canberra Hospital to meet the costs of an increased call on resources as a result of injuries sustained during the 18 January bushfire. He had asked:
... doesn't it therefore raise the question of risk management and why do we fund a hospital and for instance their budget, they've asked for another couple of hundred thousand dollars to meet what they're saying is unexpected need, but surely accident and emergency is funded to cover this and they have emergency plans and they have risk management strategies in place.
In response, I pointed out that the Canberra Hospital had handled a record number of emergency cases on that day and that I did not consider it common sense to structure a budget based on a worst-case scenario. It would be more sensible in some cases to provide supplementary funding after the event, rather than the situation of probable over funding in each year, as implicit in the Chair's questioning.
I understand that the Chair was seeking to identify any capacity that might be built into budgets to cater for emergencies. However, my words that were quoted in the committee's report relating to exceptional circumstances must be read in the context. The fuller quote from Hansard is:
They all have peaks and troughs but if someone came to me and said the health budget is based on a possibility that we'll break a record this year, they'd get thrown out. If we get to that exceptional circumstance then we will take action, we might even have an extra Appropriation Bill for example, as we do.
My actual words were changed from Hansard to the report. They were changed from, "If I get to that exceptional circumstance,"having made an example, to "when we get to exceptional circumstances". Subtle, but very careless, if nothing else. My actual words were changed and quoted out of context and, as such, misrepresent what I was communicating to that committee. I think that that is a very serious matter.
I would like to table what I have just said. If you allow me a minute to correct a typo that I picked up while I was reading it, I will then table it. But I did think that verballing may have disappeared, or at least decreased, with the departure of Gary Humphries. I certainly hoped that it had. I will table it in a minute.
MR SPEAKER: You can rise to table it later.
MR SMYTH (Leader of the Opposition): Mr Speaker, I seek leave under standing order 46 to make a personal explanation.
MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, during question time, the Chief Minister seemed to indicate that I was casting aspersions on the character of Mr McLeod. That is not true. The opposition believes that Mr McLeod is unimpeachable and the ideal choice to head any