Page 1052 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 16 March 2005

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breast cancer nurses who are at the forefront of women’s screening, supporting clients and scheduling appointments.

The government needs to refocus. In 2001-02 the target for breast screening was 20,000 but only 16,675 tests were conducted. But that is a great outcome in comparison to 2002-03 where the target for breast screening was 12,900 but only 11,327 tests were conducted. These are the government’s own figures: we can all talk figures. We need to focus right now on the cost of human life, not just on the people on waiting lists or on the people waiting to get results back, but on the impact that this is having on the families and extended families.

The health minister has said publicly that the breast screening program was a preventative program. Isn’t early detection the key focus of a preventative program, Minister? Why, then, isn’t the minister acting with haste to fix the problem to ensure early detection does occur? The dedicated staff working in this area are doing the best they can with the limited resources. It is time for the minister to show some leadership and provide further support for an area of the health system that clearly needs further resources to conduct its good work. It is about time, Minister, that the dog wagged the tail, not the tail wagged the dog. You need to believe in your department. You need to make sure that the money is going where it is needed. When it comes to the prevention and treatment of breast cancer, the minister is failing the women of Canberra by inadequate resourcing of services that ultimately save lives. I will be supporting this motion.

MR QUINLAN (Molonglo—Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Business, Minister for Tourism, Minister for Sport and Recreation, and Minister for Racing and Gaming) (11.41): In keeping with the theme that started at the beginning of this debate, let me say: lies, damned lies, statistics and Brendan Smyth. I guess it is the case for a lot of people that, when you first come into this place and this process, one of the surprising elements here is the political spin. I came into the place in the heady days of the blousy Kate Carnell—and to discount that, that was Kate’s style. But behind that there was, I think, a more insidious form of spin that usually flowed from the office of Gary Humphries. In fact I introduced into the lexicon, the phrase; “I’ve been Gary-ed” which had some currency for a couple of years because we all recognised the propensity of Mr Humphries to verbal people.

In that time, we have seen the generation change. I remember Mr Smyth on this side of the house. I lost count of the number of corrections he had to make to previous claims he had made on the record but I think, if we went through Hansard to see how many times he has had to stand up and correct what he had previously said, we would find that he holds the record in this joint. I also recall that a number of total and deliberate misinterpretations of my own utterances have come out of Mr Smyth’s office as centrepieces for press releases that have generally been childish and puerile. In most cases the media did not take them up. But I think the context of this and the other equally stupid motions that come before us give the house an indication of the style that we are dealing with: the belief that this is clever politics.

I refer to Mr Stefaniak’s speech when he talked about taking footy players into emergency years ago and having them turned around in a couple of hours, and about how

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