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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 9 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 3310 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

That, hopefully, would end the farce that is the current website and-shock, horror!-provide a useful service to the public. Paragraph (4) seeks to ensure that the waiting list reports contain at least as much information as was contained in the previous Liberal government's reports.

None of this is new, apart perhaps from the website. It is all doable and an honest and accountable government can and has been able to provide the people of Canberra with accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date data sets on elective surgery waiting lists and times. This motion is about accountability. It is about openness. It is about honesty and transparency. At the risk of its sounding like a cliché, the public has a right to know what is happening in its health system. The public has a right to accurate and up-to-date information on elective surgery waiting lists and waiting times.

The creative spin doctoring of the minister is not what the public wants. The public expects the full story on our hospitals, not the hopeless propaganda from the minister's office. If this motion is passed, it will ensure that the public gets what it is entitled to in regard to information on the waiting lists and times. I urge all members who believe in the public's right to information to support this motion.

MRS CROSS (6.00): Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise to support Mr Smyth's motion. I understand there have been two motions in the notice paper today that were unnecessary: one moved by Ms Tucker and one by Mr Smyth. I frankly do not understand why we had to waste Assembly time to move motions that-

Mr Corbell: On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker: Mrs Cross is reflecting on the business and the vote of the Assembly and is suggesting that we wasted time on motions, which is disorderly.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: I uphold the point of order. Do not mention the previous voting or the previous matter, Mrs Cross.

MRS CROSS: I know. It ruffles feathers, Mr Deputy Speaker. I am amazed that we need a motion such as this one that Mr Smyth has put forward, given that this government constantly tells the people of the ACT how well it consults with them and how it has made all the processes transparent. So much for transparency!

I find this motion interesting from another point of view. I remember being a visitor to this place during the previous Assembly. Then there was a different government: the opposition of those days is, of course, the government today. What I noticed was that the then Minister for Health would talk about waiting times, and the opposition would rant and rave about waiting lists.

It was an interesting observation for someone who did not know a lot about this place at the time, but I remember it very clearly because of the behaviour of the fellows in the chamber on that side. Now the same people are converted to the waiting times argument. How things change when you change sides in this room! The gross hypocrisy of the then opposition and the now government on this issue is very interesting.

The information called for by this motion is information that the government claims it has already made available to the community. I suggest it gets down and does it.

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