Page 4579 - Week 12 - Thursday, 15 October 2009

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that are presented by the sale option. The other alternative is to build a third hospital, and I have said—I do not know how much clearer I can be about that—that that is not the government’s preference, that is not the best thing for the ACT health system and it is not the best thing for the ACT community. I am not hanging it over anybody’s head, but it is a scenario that we have to examine fully.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Coe, a supplementary question?

MR COE: Minister, which version of events is correct—yours or Mr Brennan’s?

MS GALLAGHER: As I said, I was not there at Mr Brennan’s interview with the Canberra Times. I am not clear about the context in which he said that. I am happy to follow it up with Mr Brennan and report back to the Assembly, but from my point of view—and I can say this very honestly, as I always am in this chamber, and I can say it as someone who was with the Chief Minister in the meeting with the archbishop—there has been no threat made by this government to LCM about withdrawal of funds.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mrs Dunne?

MRS DUNNE: Minister, did you mislead the Assembly yesterday when you said that the Little Company of Mary was a willing participant and that it was wanting to sell the hospital, or is Mr Brennan wrong?

MS GALLAGHER: I think Mrs Dunne has only got one supplementary for every question. It is a general question that could be applied to all of us, no doubt, and then you just add in the blanks. I have not misled the Assembly. In the comments I have made in relation to this question, which has now been asked of me in several different ways by several members of the opposition, there has been no mislead. The government has not threatened anybody.

The government is participating in open and transparent discussions with the community about the future of the Calvary Public Hospital. It is something that we can see the opposition is having difficulty with in terms of coming to a position. It might be that we are actually making them do some work by forcing them to engage in a big proposal that has been put forward to the ACT community. Maybe that is what upsets them the most—that they actually have to participate in genuine debate. It is difficult, but do you not think it is worth the opportunity and worth the discussion to see whether we can, as an Assembly, agree on the best way to move forward with our public health system in the ACT for the near future?

Civil partnerships

MS BRESNAN: My question is to the Attorney-General and concerns mutual recognition of civil partnerships. Yesterday in the Assembly you stated that your department had advised that laws in Tasmania and Victoria which recognise same-sex partnerships did not “correspond” with the ACT’s Civil Partnerships Act 2008. However, section 15 of the act specifically states that “corresponding law” can be prescribed “whether or not” the law substantially corresponds. Attorney-General, in light of the clear intent of the legislation to allow for these regulations to be made, why have you not made them?

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