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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 August 2008) . . Page.. 3327 ..

MR SPEAKER: You accused the minister of misleading. That can only be done by way of a substantive motion. You know that; withdraw it.

MR PRATT: I withdraw that, Mr Speaker; I withdraw that.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you.

MR PRATT: I say again that the minister constantly stands up in this place and misrepresents the position put by the ACT opposition. She does that simply to create the dust and the smoke to detract from the ACT opposition’s policy. The point is this: the ACT opposition has put this policy in place to identify the unmet needs. This initiative goes to the heart of servicing the unmet need. What does “unmet need” mean? The unmet need is that need which cannot be satisfied by existing GP services. We have made that point clear time and time again.

I must say that it is very sad to see Mr Mulcahy stand up in this place today and to offer the same impediments. He spoke in a most obstructionist fashion about the ACT opposition’s policy. He is simply echoing the health minister’s views on these matters. What we heard today in this place was the health minister standing up in question time offering excuse after excuse as to why the ACT cannot underwrite an after-hours GP bulk-billing system.

All we see are excuses by the minister. Now we see this echoed by the independent member for Molonglo, Mr Mulcahy. Again, we see no creativity by the crossbench; we see no imagination; and we see no will to move forward and break what is a fundamentally important issue here for the ACT—failure to provide affordable first-post medical services to families with need. And we see Mr Mulcahy on the same bandwagon: lots of obstructionism, no ideas.

Why are we going to do this? Why will the ACT opposition step in and do this? After hours the pressure is already on the public purse with Canberrans coming into the hospital emergency departments, thereby adding to the pressure on the accident and emergency staff. This policy is about directing less severe cases of sickness to GP clinics which are better tailored to dealing with these cases. When sickness goes untreated in the early stages it can cost the public purse more in the long run. The GP clinics will help many people who cannot afford care after hours when sickness strikes.

The fact of the matter is that the ACT government rabbit on about trust but they cannot be trusted themselves to provide fundamental services. They have failed continually with their delivery of medical services and health preventative services to the ACT. The ACT opposition steps in. I congratulate Mrs Burke on this wonderful motion. It is an opportunity to show the people that we have a vision.

Ms Gallagher: WIN TV have arrived; so Zed comes in.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (12.17): I actually was not aware of that, but thank you. I welcome always the informed interjections of the health minister. We have a health minister who has been caught short here, a health

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