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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 14 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 November 2009) . . Page.. 5210 ..

It is true that back in June we had not envisaged the level of feeling in the community about the hospice that there is. The minister today noted that she had also underestimated the level of concern that has emerged about the hospice. I might add that when we met with them back in July the Palliative Care Society noted to us that they had not expected the level of concern that emerged about the hospice.

I will note that immediately after the meeting with them in July we did write to the minister stating that there needed to be specific consultation conducted on the Palliative Care Society, as we expected this to be likely to be the main point of contention that emerged from the sale. It was back in July that we did that. It is only as time has passed and more information has come to hand that the concerns have increased. I think everyone will admit that.

So yes, the concerns of the community have changed. Congratulations to the Liberal Party for noticing that. To the Liberals I will say that if you are criticising the Greens you are also criticising the community sector. Is that something you really want to be doing?

I note that Mr Hanson is willing to divulge in this place details of private discussions, which he has done previously. I will just refer to a meeting I had with Mr Hanson in about October, when he came to my office and spoke with me about the hospital and the hospice. He asked me why the Greens supported the sale of the hospice. I said to Mr Hanson that he would recall that the Greens had said they did not want to see the hospice sold and that we had recently started to have concerns raised with us by the Palliative Care Society. I have already mentioned that that was back in July. I told Mr Hanson to check my media releases as these outlined our public comments. I also told Mr Hanson that I expected the sale of the hospice to now be the key issue that would drive debate. Mr Hanson did not agree with me and in fact refuted what I was saying.

With regard to today’s debate and today’s attack by the Liberals on the Greens, can I say that Mr Hanson’s memory is poor. Things suddenly drop out of his recall as he enters the chamber. We are seeing here today a party that are struggling to maintain relevance. To quote the Canberra Times, they get a D-plus on policy. They have been shut out of the negotiation process and are now just firing cheap political shots because that is all they can do.

There are three positions in this chamber about the Calvary proposal. Only one of them is in line with that of the community and key stakeholders, and that is the Greens’ position. Just as the Liberal dinosaurs up on the hill struggle with a progressive community, so too do the Canberra Liberals. The Liberals have adopted a hardline position even before the public consultation process has ended and, quite obviously—

Mr Hanson: Showing the light on the hill, the morally superior Greens. Here they go again.

Mr Barr: It almost sounded like a born again moment there, Jeremy.

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