Page 3311 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 20 August 2008

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that our public health system can meet the needs of our community in the future. We are seeing huge increases in demand.

Mrs Burke: You’re certainly not doing that right now.

MS GALLAGHER: Again, Mrs Burke talks down the public health system. This is one of the country’s best health systems. This is one of the world’s best health systems. Mrs Burke constantly, for the last four years, has talked down this health system.

Mrs Burke: Yes, the longest waiting list, the longest wait time.

MR SPEAKER: Mrs Burke, order!

MS GALLAGHER: She has talked it down at every stage, and all she can focus on is two indicators where we need to do more work, but there are hundreds of indicators—

Mrs Burke: What about staff morale?

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mrs Burke!

MS GALLAGHER: in the public health system that they ignore. They ignore the hard efforts of our staff. They ignore the fact that 84 doctors have chosen to come and work here in the last 18 months, because it flies in the face of their allegations that staff are leaving in droves—84 new doctors coming to work as staff specialists in our hospitals. That is 40 extra, new positions offering new services—ophthalmology, neurosurgery, and all areas in which we are poised to become the best provider on the eastern coast of Australia.

They ignore all of these things. They ignore the fact that the medical school is up and running and funded, and delivering this community 80 graduates. They ignore the fact that the hospital has seen enormous demand for and growth in services, and it continues to deliver. On every quality indicator it is right up there as number one, two or three in the country. This is what they ignore and what they talk down, but this should be their focus. The fact that they have no focus on public health, no policy on public health and no ideas on public health shows how out-of-date and out-of-touch they are. The policy that they announced yesterday just shows how arrogant they are as well.

The other thing it shows, of course, is that the community cannot trust them because they cannot deliver this. Brendan Smyth knows it, Jacqui Burke knows it and Zed Seselja knows it, and they are all in a pact—

Mr Smyth: Trust?

Mrs Burke: “Trust” is a very good word, isn’t it?

MS GALLAGHER: Well, trust is out there, and the people do not trust you, because you have come up with a half-baked idea that you cannot deliver on. You cannot legally bulk-bill, and you are saying you will open three bulk-billing practices. So

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