Page 5208 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 18 November 2009

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MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER: I do withdraw that, Mr Smyth. I am very shocked myself. Mr Hanson and Mr Smyth, please be quiet so I can hear Ms Gallagher.

MS GALLAGHER: At least the Greens are prepared to engage on the subject; the Liberal Party have not engaged at all. They have attended meetings. The angrier the meeting, the bigger the smile on Mr Hanson’s face became. We have had a briefing. The first briefing was not very constructive. The Treasury briefing was maybe a little more constructive. I am not sure, because Mr Hanson failed to grasp the magnitude of the financial challenges that the status quo presents to the government. If he did understand it, he discounted it as not being politically convenient for the Liberal Party.

But the Greens are prepared to engage; they are prepared to consider the challenges facing the government. There has been no secret deal done. This proposal will be determined by this Assembly if and when an appropriation bill comes before it. That is the appropriate place for that debate, and it is a debate that will occur.

Mr Smyth: Secret deal. Heads of agreement deal. “Let’s knock it off before the election.”

MS GALLAGHER: I know it is unparliamentary to respond to Mr Smyth’s interjections, but we did miss him last week. There was certainly an aura of calm and almost light in this place without you sitting there interjecting. We did miss you so much! But, in a way—kind of weird—it is nice to have you back as well, because we do expect it from you. There was no secret deal. The minute this proposal was determined—that is, the financial aspects of the proposal, which are critical for the community’s understanding of the challenges that face the government—we went public on it. I think it was within a matter of four days of the cabinet determining a position that we took that position to the community. The community discussion has occurred over the last six weeks, and it will continue. I have got a number of meetings that I am still having over this proposal that I will finalise prior to taking a position back to cabinet.

This is a significant issue for the Assembly to consider. It is one the Liberals are trivialising. It is easy being in opposition—you can be friends with everybody and do nothing. You do not have to take a leadership position on anything, and that is what we are seeing from the opposition today. No leadership, no preparedness to genuinely consider the issues facing the future of our health system, just opposition for opposition’s sake. They just say, “We do not care about this.” This is a difficult decision. The Liberal Party are enjoying the fact that it is difficult for the government, but it would be negligent of the government not to raise this and have this community conversation because of the impacts that not having this discussion would have on our budget. Mr Smyth, you understand that. You must understand it, and you must disagree with the position that your party has put you in whilst you were away.

MS BRESNAN (Brindabella) (3.29): The Greens will not be supporting Mr Hanson’s amendment. I would like to suggest to Mr Hanson and others in the Liberal Party that they should read some of the submissions to the consultation process and consider

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