Page 5324 - Week 14 - Thursday, 19 November 2009

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proposal on what we think is the best way forward and to have that discussion with the community.

It is not good enough for governments just to choose the easy out or to choose the popular way out. That is not what we are elected to do. We are elected to lead and to make decisions in the best interests of the community. That is what we are trying to do and you guys have just backed yourselves into a corner. You are ignoring all the logic, all the figures, all the future decisions that need to be taken for a politically convenient decision at the moment.

Jeremy, you have got this wrong and in time you will come to realise that you have got this wrong. If you say that you genuinely aspire to this position, god forbid you get onto this side of the chamber, because if you do, you will understand that the purchase of Calvary Public Hospital is the right decision to take.

MR SPEAKER: Mrs Dunne, a supplementary question?

MRS DUNNE: Minister, what, given that you have considered all the options, are your contingency plans in the event of the purchase of Cavalry hospital not proceeding?

MS GALLAGHER: Well, the contingency plan is that we have to finance the upgrade of Cavalry Public Hospital under the current ownership arrangements. That is the contingency plan. I look forward to the Liberal Party’s support of continued budget deficits, should that be the case. The criticism of the seven-year plan that you have, the criticism of the deficits that are foreshadowed in the forward estimates—

Mr Smyth: The criticism is that there’s no plan.

Ms GALLAGHER: Just wait a second, because they are going to get a lot worse if the current arrangements continue. Brendan, you understand this. I just cannot believe that someone of—well, I will not go there. I am never short of a word, but I just went to compliment you, and it just would not come out. I cannot believe that someone with your longstanding interest in budgets cannot understand the financial challenges that are facing the government. If the contingency plan is to go ahead, then the Liberals driving the budget into further deficit will be the headline of the 2010-11 budget.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question?

MRS DUNNE: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Minister, why did you refuse to send the whole proposal to the Auditor-General, if you see that there are so many problems ahead?

MS GALLAGHER: The Auditor-General has a particular role, and her role is not to endorse or not endorse a government policy decision. This is a policy decision of the government. The Auditor-General has a legitimate role to scrutinise that, once it has reached a point so that she can do that. This is a proposal that is being put to the community. It will come to the Assembly, it will come through the appropriate

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