Page 4344 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 27 November 2013
that is the evidence that is contained in the letter from Calvary that says it has received an unequivocal directive from the Director-General of ACT Health to make urgent and radical changes. It explains what those urgent and radical changes are, and it is quite clear that they reflect the concerns raised by the surgeons.
If I were perhaps more naive and if I had more trust in the minister, perhaps I would take her denials at face value and say, “Okay, when your director-general accuses the doctors of lying, when she accuses them of having their baseless allegations, well, she’s the director-general, she must know, though it’s pretty strong stuff to say that their allegations are misleading and false and accuse the doctors of lying.” We want to trust our Chief Minister. But the problem is, as I outlined in my speech, that on so many other occasions it has been proved that it is the minister’s denials that are false and misleading.
Dr Bourke: On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker, I believe the opposition leader has been using unparliamentary language in implying that the Chief Minister has been misleading.
MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: Yes, I ask you to withdraw, Mr Hanson.
MR HANSON: On the point of order, I am paraphrasing the language being used by the director-general directed at the doctors when she has accused them of being misleading and false. I was just paraphrasing what the Chief Minister’s own director-general is accusing the doctors of.
MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: You are not allowed to impugn the reputation of a member. Dr Bourke.
Dr Bourke: On the point of order, this is a complete travesty of what Mr Hanson was saying. He was calling the Chief Minister misleading, and that is unparliamentary.
MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: I ask you to withdraw, Mr Hanson.
MR HANSON: I withdraw. But what will not be withdrawn, sadly, is the fact that the director-general is out there accusing the surgeons who have raised these concerns of being misleading and false. So, I make the point that what—
Ms Burch: Do you withdraw or not?
MR HANSON: I did withdraw. I make the point that Minister Burch and Dr Bourke have raised points of order and said, “It’s so unparliamentary. It’s so unfair. Don’t dare say this about anybody. Don’t dare accuse anyone of being misleading and false.” Unfortunately, however, it is okay for the director-general to accuse the doctors of that. Let us have a look at what is happening where we have the Director-General of ACT Health accusing the doctors of doing something we are being told is not acceptable behaviour. There seems to be a bit of a double standard going on here where, if doctors raise concerns, they will be accused of saying something we are not allowed to say in this place—and rightly so. But I have real concerns that doctors who raise concerns are then accused essentially of lying when we know that when doctors