Page 2578 - Week 07 - Thursday, 18 June 2009

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Hospitals—Calvary Public Hospital

MR DOSZPOT: My question is to the Minister for Health and is in relation to the proposal to purchase Calvary hospital. Minister, I refer you to the ACT government community engagement service charter, which appears on one of your department’s websites and which outlines explicit and unambiguous guidelines about how your government will engage the community in the decision-making process. On what basis did you determine that community engagement was not needed for the purchase of Calvary hospital?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank the member for the question. The argument the opposition are trying to put forward in this is that prior to—

Mr Seselja: It was a question; it wasn’t an argument.

MS GALLAGHER: Well, an argument put through the question.

Mr Seselja: I know you don’t want to answer the question.

MS GALLAGHER: I have no problem answering the questions that have been asked. What the opposition is trying to say is that before we should speak with the Little Company of Mary and before the Little Company of Mary should speak to us, we should have undertaken a wide community consultation process around whether or not we were allowed to enter into discussions with Little Company of Mary. If we had got the green light from the community to actually commence those discussions, we were then allowed—

Mr Hanson: No, are you going to do a wide community consultation process? We haven’t dictated the timing. Are you going to have a wide community consultation process?

MS GALLAGHER: What a joke! That really sums up why the opposition are where they are. They fundamentally do not understand the discussions that government is involved in every day. I can honestly stand here and say that I imagine every minister here is having discussions with business, stakeholder groups and industry representatives that are not subject to broad community consultation about whether or not we have those discussions in the first place. Governments have discussions all the time with third-party organisations around a whole range of matters that are not subject to broad public consumption at that time.

What the opposition do not realise—of course, we still have not heard what they actually think about the proposed sale of Calvary—

Mr Hanson: You’ve heard what we think about it.

MS GALLAGHER: No, we have not heard what you think about it at all. You have no view on it; just like the bush healing farm, just like needle and syringe programs in jails, just like the budget—absolutely no view at all!

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