Page 1047 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 16 March 2005

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MR SPEAKER: Mrs Dunne, resume your seat for a moment. Part 2 of the motion calls for a censure on the Minister for Health and the Minister for Health’s performance has been a central part of what the Chief Minister has been saying. So it is entirely relevant.

MR STANHOPE: And that is the point: let us not forget what this is about. I must say, Mr Speaker, we understand how seriously the opposition takes this motion: they had it listed as number four on the order of business! They did not have the confidence in their own motion to actually bring it in as the order of business. We know the convention of this place. A censure motion is a very serious matter, second only to a vote of no confidence. There is nothing more serious that occurs on the floor of this place, after a motion of no confidence, than a censure motion. But you regard this with such frivolity, with such seriousness that you allow it to appear down the page—item number four. That is how important and how serious you regard it to be.

Mrs Dunne: You did us a favour by bringing it forward because I couldn’t get it past—

MR SPEAKER: Mrs Dunne, I warn you.

MR STANHOPE: That is the belief that this mob has in this motion. They do not even believe it themselves. They were not prepared to come in here and stand up and move a suspension of standing orders to allow them to move this serious motion of censure and their response to it. Mrs Dunne stands up and moves a point of order: “He is defending the performance of the Minister for Health. How dare he. We are talking about waiting lists. We do not want to talk about censure. We do not want to talk about his record. We do not want to talk about the fact that at the last election, five months ago, the number one issue in the minds of the people of Canberra when they went to the ballot box and voted was health”. Who was the Minister for Health? Simon Corbell was the Minister for Health.

Who ran a major campaign over the last week of the election campaign devoted to undermining health care delivery in the ACT and attacking the Minister for Health? The Liberal Party did. And what did the people of Canberra say to you? They said, “Go away. You are not wanted. You are not competent; you cannot deliver and you are not to be trusted.” And what did they say to us? They said, “On the basis of your record, we would like you to have majority government for the first time ever.” They said, “We will vote for you, to the extent we have never before voted for a party seeking government in the ACT.” They also said, “We understand the strains and the pressures on health. We understand you have delivered. We understand that you have devoted an additional $160 million to health care. We understand that you have tried and attempted to catch up with the enormous gaps that were left for you, and we understand that delivering a health care system to the people of Canberra is not just about the waiting list. It is about mental health care and it is about your devotion to that.” It is about our commitment to every other aspect of health care across the spectrum.

This is not appropriate in a circumstance where, since the early 1990s, the number of occasions of service at our public hospitals has increased by 60 per cent. Our performance at the hospitals is quite remarkable to the extent that we have been able to keep up with demand. There has been a 60 per cent increase over the last 15 years in occasions of service at our public hospitals. I think, in the context of that, in the context

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