Page 887 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 16 March 2010

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Islander Affairs and Minister for the Arts and Heritage): I seek leave to make a personal explanation under standing order 46.

MR SPEAKER: Yes. Before you start, I will clarify the rules around standing order 46. The matter must be personal to the member and the explanation confined to the matter that is personal to the member and should not be debated or should not be used to commence a debate. And for the benefit of all members, I would remind you that, if any member giving a personal explanation should wish to go beyond the terms of a personal explanation and enter into a debate on the matter or take issue with another member, the leave of the chair will be withdrawn.

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I take note of what you said. I will comply strictly with the standing order and I will leave any further interventional statement to another occasion.

I have been misrepresented in question time today. A number of members of the opposition made claims about what I said on the ABC a week or two ago in relation to, they were claiming, waiting times for elective surgery. At no stage was the comment that I made related to elective surgery at all; it was made in relation to waiting in accident and emergency with one of my children.

I had said that I had personal experience of accident and emergency in public hospitals in the ACT. It did involve my youngest son who suffered a grievous cut to a finger, to the bone, and I took him to accident and emergency early in the evening and he was finally treated at around 4 am. And this is what I said on the ABC. But I did not complain and I did not object, because I knew my children, on those instances where I have sat in the waiting room, from 6 pm until 4 am, as I did one day—and I have no complaint; I did not whinge; I accepted it; and I expected it as part of a system—

Mrs Dunne: And the clear implication is that anyone who complains whinges: “You whinge.”

MR SPEAKER: Order! The Chief Minister is to be heard in silence.

MR STANHOPE: I was there with my son until 4 am. I did not whinge; I accepted it and I expected it as part of a system that is delivering incredibly good care to this community.

I might just say, by way of conclusion, the reason that my son kept getting shifted down the list was as a result—and the minister went to this—of other people coming into accident and emergency who were triaged as more urgent than my son and, in the majority of cases, I have to say they were babies with pneumonia and other very significant issues and the nursing staff and the doctors triaged them. That is why I say I accepted it and I expected it. I accepted it because there were others with a greater need. But at the end of the day, my heartfelt thanks as a parent were because I knew that my son was in good hands and even the discomfort of waiting eight to 10 hours was nothing in the knowledge of the excellent care that I knew my children received in accident and emergency in our public hospitals.

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