Page 4818 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 11 November 2009
department and the people who have been exposed to TB. We have seen similar problems arising when mistakes were made after the tragic death of Canberra’s first swine flu victim.
What we have seen is a minister who is prepared to push her officials to the fore while she hides from responsibility and accountability behind her spokeswoman. It is obvious to everyone I talk to that she is to the fore when there is good news but conspicuous by her absence when there is any bad news to be delivered. I notice that she is not here now. I do understand that there was a change in the order of motions, but, again, it is a breakdown in communication. Why would Ms Porter want her motion to be adjourned without advising Ms Gallagher that my motion would be brought on before lunch? Again, it speaks of the sort of communication breakdown that we are seeing on a routine basis from this government.
We have seen these sorts of breakdowns in other incidents. Again, I particularly note the unfortunate circumstances surrounding Canberra’s first swine flu fatality. Eventually in that case the minister apologised when Mr Smyth suggested that that would indeed help. Again though, in this case, she left the apologies to Charles Guest, who was good enough to apologise categorically on the ABC yesterday, despite the confusion about the procedures and whether they have been breached and whether there is an investigation or not.
I would like to remind the minister that her responsibilities do not end at the good news stories. I suggest to her that she takes this opportunity to apologise to Dr Jeannie Ellis and to the others who have been affected. Dr Ellis has been left feeling dismissed throughout this process. It has been a very traumatic period for her. Although she and her daughter have a long and hard road ahead, I am sure that some acceptance of responsibility and an apology by the minister would help.
I commend this motion to the house. This is a very important issue and a very serious issue for our community. The minister needs to come down to the chamber, explain what went wrong, what she is doing about it and why there is such a breakdown in communication between her, her department and the public.
Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.
Sitting suspended from 12.31 to 2 pm.
Questions without notice
Consolidated annual financial report
MR SESELJA: My question is to the Treasurer, and it relates to the 2008-09 consolidated annual financial report for the Australian Capital Territory, which was tabled yesterday. Treasurer, I seek clarification of one aspect of the report. Yesterday, you said in a statement to the Assembly that the 2008-09 net operating balance for the general government sector is a deficit of $27 million. However, on page 8 of the report, this figure appears to be a deficit of $64 million. Could you please clarify which figure is correct?