Page 625 - Week 02 - Thursday, 6 March 2008

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For example, they did not report that we had increased beds by the number we have increased them, based on the cuts we have seen. They did not look at the reform work that we have got under way. They did not look at the patients that we were seeking to remove from the waiting list. They did not ask the jurisdictions to provide them with information for a report card where they were judging the jurisdictions. That was the point I made. That was the flaw I saw.

The fact that it came out during the federal election campaign by an extremely powerful lobbying union should have been seen for the way it was. That was the point I was making. We stand by the data from the AIHW, the data we provide to the commonwealth department. That is fine.

My comments yesterday related to a report card. I stand by those comments. I think there could have been a fairer picture of the ACT health system had the federal AMA bothered to speak to us.

Balloon Aloft

MR STEFANIAK: My question is to the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation. Minister, you have sought to make much of the apparent value for money for ACT taxpayers from your decision to make Balloon Aloft the operator for the annual balloon event. In particular, you have sought to disparage the former operator by suggesting that their bid for the 2008 balloon event did not represent value for money. In the Assembly this week, you said—

Mr Corbell: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: it would be fair to say that the government is getting pretty fed up with questions that use arguments in their introduction. “You sought to disparage”: that is an argument, Mr Speaker. It is not necessary for the purpose of the question. Questions shall not contain arguments; standing order 117 (b) (ii) applies. I ask you to ask members of the opposition to cease this practice of trying to make political arguments or points as part of asking questions.

MR SPEAKER: The member was referring to comments that were made in this place.

Mr Corbell: The minister did not seek to disparage anyone. It is an argument.

MR SPEAKER: Order! It is fair enough to ask that arguments not be included. If you want to ask a question about what the minister said in this place, you should rephrase the question so that it reflects that form.

MR STEFANIAK: In particular, minister, you suggested that their bid for the 2008 balloon event did not represent value for money, and in the Assembly this week you said that Balloon Aloft’s fee for service would be $10,000 out of the $70,000, and that this was in contrast to the previous operator’s bid for the $90,000 event management fee from an overall budget request of $493,000. In fact, minister, the organisation’s budget included funding under the ACT government’s events assistance program of $85,000. The figure of $493,000, which you say the organisation was requesting from the ACT government, was that organisation’s total budget expenditure for the event,

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