Page 210 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 28 November 2012

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Mr Hanson interjecting—

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mr Gentleman): Mr Hanson, the Chief Minister has the floor.

MS GALLAGHER: Do not worry about that; you just keep going with your set lines that you determined years ago, and they will continue. Whilst that happens, we will continue dealing with—

Mr Hanson: Point of order, Mr Assistant Speaker.

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Chief Minister, can you take a seat for a minute.

Mr Hanson: Under standing order 42 the minister is required to direct her comments through you. If the minister continues to stand there and address me and talk to me, I think it is only reasonable that I respond.

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, if you could refrain from interjecting, you might find that she addresses her comments through the chair. However, I call on the Chief Minister to address through the chair.

MS GALLAGHER: Thank you, Mr Assistant Speaker. I must say, coming from a serial interjector in this parliament, we are not going to be taking lessons from you, Mr Hanson.

In relation to the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children, it opened in August 2012 and stage 2 will open in 2013. The reason it was done in stages is because there is no other way to continue to provide public maternity services whilst you build a new hospital around them. This view that only half the hospital was opened as some sort of political stunt again indicates the lack of understanding of how you actually provide continuity of services whilst you are building new facilities. If we built the whole hospital at one time, we would have had to close the public maternity service, and that was not an option, particularly as the birthing centre of choice for Canberra women—and I noticed this was not included in Mr Hanson’s speech—is the Canberra Hospital. Women want to come to the Canberra Hospital because of the facilities and the standard of care, and that is presenting us with some demand pressures.

When you look at the number of births—and Mr Hanson went on at length about not being able to understand demographic projections—the demographic projections are right—there has been a less than two per cent increase in birth numbers across the ACT. So the numbers that we based the decisions on were correct. The single thing that has changed is that there has been a massive shift from the private sector to public maternity services, and that is something the opposition ignores. So in the last five years there has been—

Mr Hanson: Always an excuse.

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