Page 3587 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 26 August 2008
Ms MacDonald: It is not the crown lease; that is not the issue.
MR PRATT: Well, that is what the recommendation says, Ms MacDonald. Read it—crown leases. It says “crown leases” on the second line of recommendation No 1, so that is the point I am talking about, Ms MacDonald. If you cannot get your head out of the sand or read or comprehend or understand, then that is your problem, not mine.
I have no doubt that a Canberra Liberals government will go some way towards ensuring that the objectives set out in the report would be achieved through our sensible approach to health management. Further, the current health minister will be doing a great service, perhaps her last—we do not wish that upon anybody, of course—if she agreed to commit to the recommendations set out by this committee now. That would be a great service done to this place and to the community. I wholeheartedly support the comments made by my colleague Mrs Burke that, to date, the health minister has conducted her role in a hands-off way since this whole saga began. After the announcement of the closure, the health minister took the position that:
There is absolutely nothing that I can do ... There is absolutely nothing that I can do.
The people of Canberra do not want to hear that. The people of Canberra want to hear about action; they want to hear about solutions; they want to hear about options. They do not want to hear, “Oh, well, there’s absolutely nothing that I, the health minister, can do.”
I would quickly like to clarify for the member for Molonglo that there has been bipartisan criticism regarding this move. Indeed, it was her own federal colleague, the member for Canberra, who conducted an overnight letterbox drop, and it was her colleague from the south, a Labor candidate for Brindabella, who circulated a petition, a petition, which we, the opposition, should have perhaps managed to ensure that it could actually be tabled somewhere. Perhaps the fact that I signed that petition circulated by that member—
Mrs Burke: Me too.
MR PRATT: Mrs Burke apparently signed it, and others. Perhaps these are the reasons why the whole thing has been ignored. Of course, that is what you have with this arrogant government—the collapsing of the scrum on a range of issues. Do not govern in the best interests of the community; govern in the best interests of your own party. This is the party of comrades first, community last. While we on this side are always open to and listen to community concerns and actually represent them on matters of great importance, I suppose those members opposite are beginning to feel like we have licence on community consultation and engagement. They thought they would quickly rally the troops to somehow trump us on this important issue. I do not blame them for that. However, their effectiveness in achieving anything for disaffected residents remains questionable.