Page 2413 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 17 June 2009
The opposition have maintained open minds on this issue. We very much want to see the detail. We want to engage with the government and with the community to understand the issue. But to this date we have not been provided with sufficient evidence, we have not seen the process that the government should be following and we have not seen the consultation that allows us to make that decision.
The opposition reserves its right to make an informed decision once it has been made aware of all the facts. We will not be rushed. We will not be pressured by the government through some sort of scare campaign to force us to make a decision. The people of the ACT deserve full disclosure when it comes to this matter. Thus far, we do not have the facts. We have not had the ability to scrutinise them in detail.
Let me just quote my own words on this, because there is a bit of a scare campaign being run by the government in relation to what the opposition is proposing. In the estimates hearings, I said:
When we had a briefing a few days ago, I made it very clear that the opposition retains an open mind about this sale. What we are trying to do is investigate the full details. As the AMA has said, there needs to be more close scrutiny of this whole proposal. To suggest that, because we are scrutinising this proposal, it suggests that we are either for or against is misleading. What we are trying to do is get to the bottom of all the detail.
That is an appropriate and responsible position at this juncture. The response from Ms Gallagher points to the government’s approach and to their position and their attitude when they are subjected to scrutiny and asked for accountability. Her response to those words—I think it is a pretty considered and reasonable position—was to say:
… I think, from Mr Hanson’s point of view, that he is out here to spoil.
It is a tremendous leap of logic to say that. She says further:
… he is trying to create fear and misconceptions … in the community that we were holding secret discussions about something.
“Fear and misconceptions”—that is a remarkable response. We are trying to engage in the debate, trying to get to the bottom of what has occurred and what the detail of the plan is. To respond in such a manner is remarkable.
We believe that the massive costs involved, not only in the purchase of the hospital but with the subsequent flow-on of other money that would be invested at that site, require us to examine it in detail. The government must be open and transparent in that regard; we need full disclosure on this.
I must admit I pay great heed to what Ms Gallagher says on regular occasions. With that comment she was making, I thought I would reflect on what the Labor Party considered about these sorts of issues when they were in opposition. In the lead-up to the 2001 election, what were the sorts of comments that they were making about an