Page 1046 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 16 March 2005

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government that could be trusted to deliver. This was a government of integrity. This was a government that knew what the priorities of this community were, and are.

We know what the major priorities of this community are. We say it all the time. We acknowledge it and we understand it in a deep and refined way, because of our connection to the people of this community. The number one priority is health and the health care system. The number two priority is education and the education system, and there is a range of priorities essentially designed to ensure that we support those major priorities of this community.

Who was the Minister for Health at the time of the last election? Simon Corbell. What was the vote of confidence invested in this government by the people of Canberra, in a way that has never been invested before? It was through majority government, through the largest vote ever to a party within the ACT. This was the highest, most significant vote—the investing of majority government in a party in the ACT for the first time, on the back of a minister that had maintained for the people of Canberra their faith in the essential worth and value of our health system. Who denies for one minute that the number one issue at the last election was health? Nobody. The number one issue in the minds of the people of Canberra was health.

Who can forget the $200,000, or more, that the Liberal Party spent in the last five days of the campaign on an advertising campaign around health and the delivery of health care? Hundreds of thousands of dollars spent in a desperate, last-week attempt to play down the successes of this government and of this minister in relation to the delivery of quality health care for the people of Canberra. We will not forget it. You tried everything you could, honourably and dishonourably, to undermine the health care system within the ACT, and the people of Canberra did not fall for it—

Mr Smyth: Point of order, Mr Speaker. If the opposition has done something dishonourable, it should be dealt with in a substantive motion. He must withdraw that.

MR SPEAKER: I think Mr Stanhope was drawing attention to the campaign in the context of the debate about a censure motion on the health minister and I think he is entitled to use that sort of language.

MR STANHOPE: And that was the basis of the campaign. You cannot deny this. You cannot reinvent history. You cannot say that to the people of Canberra here today, five months after the election that we won in such an overwhelming way. The people of Canberra invested that singular honour of majority government in us. That was a vote of confidence in this government and in this minister, on the basis of our management of health care at the time of the election and during the last period.

Mrs Dunne: Point of order, Mr Speaker. The subject of the motion today relates to cost-weighted separations being down.

MR STANHOPE: It is a censure motion.

Mrs Dunne: It is about elective surgery. It is about the amount of surgery at Canberra Hospital and Mr Stanhope is talking about the election result. It is about relevance. Mr Stanhope should be addressing the issue of the debate.

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