Page 645 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 24 February 2010
surgery on people who need it. They take time out of their schedule to come and meet with the minister, because things have got to such a pretty pass. She presents them with a fait accompli. What else is there going to be? How much give and take was there in that meeting? Did they walk out saying, “We had to take it or leave it”? We do not know; we only have the minister’s word for it.
With Mr Hanson’s proposal, what we have is a way forward which is publicly open and accountable and which provides protections in a way that an ad hoc review does not. The minister herself admits that there must be some problems with the ad hoc review, because she is now suggesting that there might be some role for a public interest disclosure here. It is quite clear that the minister recognises that there are not sufficient protections for witnesses or people who may wish to come forward under her proposal.
I congratulate Mr Hanson for being thoughtful about the process and coming up with an alternative solution which may actually find us a way forward that will highlight those problems. And it is not just problems there. The minister is trying to quarantine the problems with obstetrics and gynaecology and failing to look to see where those problems might exist elsewhere.
We know, because the opposition has received complaints, that there are problems elsewhere. I hope that the minister is receiving those same complaints and I hope that the minister is going to act on them sooner rather than later—rather than have this become yet another media debacle like the one that she oversaw last week.
MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Health and Minister for Industrial Relations) (4.51), by leave: I would just like to respond to the twist and spin that the opposition are putting on this. I think they are seeking to build a case here, and I need to respond now as I am getting a feeling coming across the chamber. The comments I made in question time—I would be surprised if Mrs Dunne was not aware of this too—were about the long and troubled history and the warring relationships that have existed in the obstetric community. I did not say that there was a war in obstetrics at TCH. There have been difficult relationships—
Mrs Dunne: I think you had better check what you said.
MS GALLAGHER: Well, this is what I meant, and I think if you follow other—
Mrs Dunne: This is what I said about your loose words.
MS GALLAGHER: I will reflect on the Hansard myself, but the point I was making was that there have been difficulties in the obstetric community dating back a number of years. Indeed, I got a letter yesterday confirming that my comments around the decade-long war were correct. But they are amongst doctors—relationships amongst doctors.
I can confirm, for the interest of the Assembly, that I meet regularly with the salaried medical officers association, the ANF, the AMA and the Division of General Practice,