Page 4474 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 14 October 2009

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Again in the Sunday Canberra Times of 19 July the ACT Palliative Care Society quoted from their position paper which states that the hospice should continue to be a publicly owned hospice as conceived and created by the ACT community. The secretary of the ACT branch of the Australian Nursing Federation, in a letter to the editor on 26 July, supported the stance of the ACT Palliative Care Society. While they support the sale as such, there is great concern over the necessity of the sale being contingent on the sale of the hospice.

This is an entirely appropriate motion that Mr Hanson has brought to this place today. It is right and proper that this matter is scrutinised by an independent body such as the Auditor-General in order that the community can be reassured that due process has been followed, that this decision has been taken by the government in the best interests of the whole community and that it will deliver the best health outcomes for the community. I thank Mr Hanson for bringing this motion to this place today.

MR HANSON (Molonglo) (3.51), in reply: I would like to thank my colleagues for their words today and their support of the motion. I am disappointed, to be frank, that the Greens and Labor are not supporting this motion. I have made the opposition’s position very clear on this matter. We want to gather the evidence and scrutinise the evidence. The Auditor-General would greatly assist in that process both by her expertise and her independence.

I do not understand why Ms Gallagher, who is so confident of her position, would not want that independent scrutiny. If the Auditor-General were to do that, surely it would only validate the arguments that she is putting forward in this place. It is beyond me why she would not want that process to occur. To be honest, I thought that she would be supporting this, as I thought the Greens would. I would ask: what is it that she is afraid of? Unfortunately, by her refusing and the Greens’ refusing to agree to an independent analysis, all it has done is create further concern and disquiet both in this place and in the community.

If she had simply agreed and said, “Yes, let the independent auditor have a look,” then the independent auditor could have gone away, had a look at the facts and figures and then come back and expressed a view on the accuracy of the data. It certainly would not be a political audit; it would be simply expressing more detail about the validity of the finance case being put forward.

I think she had missed an opportunity, to be frank, to reassure the community and to help convince the opposition, because I have made it very clear that we are standing here ready to be convinced. She could have assisted in that process. If the Auditor-General had come back with a glowing report of what a great idea this was, it would have been more difficult for us to block it, if that is what she is concerned about. I think she has missed an opportunity and I am disappointed.

The accusations that we are trying to delay the deal are entirely false. We are running to the government’s time line on this. We do not have an influence over that. If you look at the date that I put forward for the Auditor-General’s report to the Assembly, it is actually the first sitting day of next year, which is entirely consistent with the time frame by which the Appropriation Bill would be debated. I do not see where that

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