Page 1018 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 15 March 2005

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Mr Corbell: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order—relevance. Mr Smyth is talking about access to palliative care.

MR SMYTH: No. I am talking about Clare Holland House.

Mr Corbell: I cannot see how that relates in any way to the MPI on the notice paper today. Even on the subject of congratulating the staff of Clare Holland House for their work as Canberrans of the year, he would be stretching it to then enter into a discussion around the adequacy or otherwise of palliative care services in the ACT.

MR SMYTH: What standing order?

Mr Corbell: The standing order is the standing order that relates to relevance.

MR SMYTH: What number?

MR SPEAKER: The “relevance” standing order is standing order 58, and it goes on to say that the member shall not digress from the subject matter of any question under discussion. This is not a question; this is a discussion of a matter of public importance. But I think anybody discussing a matter of public importance should remain relative to those matters under discussion. Clare Holland House of course is at the centre of one of those. I do not think you have a point of order in relation to it.

MR SMYTH: Thank you, Mr Speaker. We praise them on one hand and, if we really want to help them do their job, then I think we need to make sure they are adequately resourced. I think it is a shame to praise them on one hand and then have Mr Corbell try to stop a discussion about how we would help the winners of the Canberra citizen of the year award to do their job even better. I think it is a shame that Mr Corbell wants to take that approach but, then again, that is the approach he always takes—always the lack of courtesy that we hear from Mr Corbell.

The staff at Clare Holland House have told me that they would like to provide more palliative care, they would like to do more and better of that which earned them the title of Canberra citizens of the year, and I agree with them. I am told that they probably need something like an additional $1 million dollars to extend the services inside the building, were they able to be extending it by those extra 10 beds, and also to extend the palliative care services when they visit out in the community. We on this side of the house think that is an important service. We would ask the government simply to look at it in the context of the coming budget. I note the comments that the budget will be tight but hopefully we can put those who are in their final moments here, as Canberra citizens, at the top of the list.

I think the whole day is wonderful. I think celebrating Canberra’s birthday is a great thing. The celebrations have been ongoing for years and years. I can remember attending the old food and wine frolic as a 17, 18 and 19-year-old. You also might remember it, Mr Speaker. The community does indeed like to celebrate its birthday, and I think it is appropriate and good to do so. It builds community spirit and gets people out. But I think we also have to concentrate on how we celebrate that birthday.

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