Page 4566 - Week 12 - Thursday, 15 October 2009
minister and I shall, in all probability, be prone on a recovery bed. I shall not be in this chamber during November—with leave, I hope, from this place.
MR SPEAKER: I think that solves our problem.
MR HARGREAVES: So some other member will actually be exercising a right.
MR SPEAKER: Thank you. I think that solves our problem.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Sitting suspended from 12.20 to 2 pm.
MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Treasurer, Minister for Health, Minister for Community Services and Minister for Women): Mr Speaker, the Chief Minister will be absent from Question Time Today due to family responsibilities. I am happy to take any questions that may have been directed to him.
Questions without notice
Hospitals—Calvary Public Hospital
MR SESELJA: My question is to the health minister. Minister, I refer to an exchange in this Assembly yesterday regarding a motion by Mr Hanson to ask the Auditor-General to inquire into the processes of the potential purchase of Calvary hospital. You said that you have not ever threatened anybody with a withdrawal of services or funding.
Minister, in today’s Canberra Times the Little Company of Mary’s Tom Brennan is quoted as saying that if the sale did not go ahead, Calvary hospital would cease to be funded by this government. Minister, how do you reconcile your statement, that at no time did you ever threaten withdrawal of funding, with Mr Brennan’s statement that Calvary hospital would cease to be funded if they did not sell?
MS GALLAGHER: I can confirm the comment that the government has never threatened in all of our discussions with Calvary, whether it be through LCM or indeed with the Archbishop when the Chief Minister and I met with him, to withdraw funding from Calvary. However, in the context of the discussions we were having at the time, and this may be what Mr Brennan was commenting on—I was not there with the interview; I have read the article in the paper—we did say that if we were unable to purchase it we would have to go back to have a look at how we could finance the rebuild of the public health system as we are planning to do in order to ensure that we have a good budget outcome and a good hospital in the end.
There are three scenarios, and we have outlined those in the analysis, which we have provided to the community—that is, the status quo, buy the hospital or build another hospital. Indeed, I said in this place yesterday that the worst outcome would be to build a third hospital. I strongly believe that. However, if we do not own the hospital, if the people of the ACT do not own the hospital, and we are required to inject