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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 24 June 2010) . . Page.. 2413 ..

Questions without notice

Hospitals—waiting times

MR SESELJA: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, I refer to the plight of Mr Allan McFarlane reported in the Canberra Times of 10 June 2010. Minister, in question time on Tuesday, you said:

… my office does not get involved in people getting access to surgery.

Minister, will you confirm for the Assembly and the community that there was no involvement, no communication, between your office and the department of health in the case of Mr McFarlane, who only received a date for his surgery after his plight was made public?

MS GALLAGHER: I would imagine—and this was while I was on leave—there was contact between the department and my office in relation to the media inquiries, and that would be the extent of it.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Seselja, a supplementary?

MR SESELJA: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, can you confirm the same in relation to Mr David Wainwright?

MS GALLAGHER: I am not aware of David Wainwright, so I would have to check with my office, but I can say that my office at no point ever in my time as a minister in any of my portfolios would have used our office to direct or seek to influence an outcome in relation to someone’s surgical booking time.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Hargreaves?

MR HARGREAVES: Minister, are we seeing, by the sound of these questions, a litany of episodic issues being dressed up as systemic issues?

Mr Seselja: Point of order, Mr Speaker. I ask for your ruling as to whether a commentary on the first question is actually in order as a legitimate line of questioning for question time.

Mr Hargreaves: On the point of order, Mr Speaker, there is nothing in the standing orders to prevent the minister from giving me a view based on the facts being presented by the opposition.

Mrs Dunne: Mr Speaker, if Mr Hargreaves is seeking the minister’s view, that would be seeking an expression of opinion, which is out of order.

Mr Hargreaves: On the point of order, Mr Speaker, I said “based on the facts as presented by the opposition”. Of course, there are not any.

MR SPEAKER: Sorry, the last bit was—

Mrs Dunne: Irrelevant.

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