Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 7 August 2008) . . Page.. 3081 ..
“Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do,” that should be done only after we have actually tried—after we have looked for answers, after we have sought answers.
Government should be leading the way. Political leaders and leaders in the community should be taking the lead on this and saying, “Look, there is no easy answer but let’s have a look at it.” That is what this is about. It stands in stark contrast to what the Minister for Health has said on the issue—thrown her hands in the air and said, “Well, there is nothing I can do.” We want to see. We want to get to the bottom of whether there is anything. There are issues around planning. There are a number of issues that need to be explored. We will be exploring them and we will be doing that work. The government is showing no willingness to take the lead on this. Mrs Burke has, and I commend her for it.
The inquiry is worth doing. It is worth a few hours of the committee’s time to get to the bottom of this—to perhaps talk to some of the key providers or key players in this, who apparently the minister has not had any discussions with to date. When things like this happen, there are not just the legal remedies. There are not just the legal remedies that we can look to; there is also the moral force that political leaders should bring to this. To date, we have not seen any of that leadership from the government.
We in the opposition will be seeking to provide that. We will be seeking answers. If there is anything that can reasonably be done—whether or not this practice moves to Phillip in the end, whether or not there can be anything done to ensure that there are doctors there in Wanniassa so that the people of Wanniassa and the surrounds are not left short—we will do absolutely everything within our power to try and bring that about.
MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (5.07): I will be brief on this. I received a phone call from Mrs Burke this morning asking if we could approach this in a bipartisan fashion.
DR FOSKEY: You must have meant tripartisan or quadripartisan.
MR MULCAHY: There are four parties here now. There are four now.
That said, I said I was happy to support her, and I do not change my position there. It would have been even more powerful and effective if we could have approached it on that basis instead of becoming—I suppose it is too much to hope for this close to an election—a bit of an argy-bargy.
I was told about this a week ago by a friend of mine who is a GP—just before it hit the media. Obviously the public outcry that has been evident is extensive. Only last week I was down at Monash for the turning of the sod for the next stage of the retirement village there. There are many of our seniors living in this area, and no doubt they avail themselves of the Wanniassa practice.
I share the sentiment of Minister Gallagher and the Attorney-General in that this Assembly has very limited capacity to do anything about this. But one thing that really tipped the scales for me was this. I tuned in—I will not give the name of the gentleman in case I have got his name wrong—to a television broadcast, a phone interview, with a spokesperson for Primary Health Care and nearly fell out of my