Page 472 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 18 February 2015

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Statement by Speaker

MADAM SPEAKER: Before we go to lunch I would just like to reflect on the fact that Mr Corbell, during the debate this morning, asked me to rule on whether Mr Hanson’s statement was an imputation. Mr Hanson referred to “extraordinary threats that we have seen from Labor members attacking members of the opposition,” and he stated those words previously: “the extraordinary threats that we have seen from Labor members in this place attacking members of the opposition and targeting specific members of the Canberra Times for doing their job”.

This has been a rather robust debate, and I have reviewed much of what was said during question time yesterday. I refer members to this statement made by Minister Burch:

I just look to each and every one of you over there that have family and friends to understand that now you have opened the door for us to bring them into this place in any way, shape or form we like.

I thought at the time, when I heard those words, that they were fairly threatening words; I personally felt that they were threatening words. I have looked at the debate. I think that, while the debate has been robust and no holds have been barred in this, I do not believe that there has been anything that has been unparliamentary. Mind you, I think that we are coming pretty close to what is unparliamentary. On reflecting on what Minister Burch said yesterday—and there were some interjections which are not recorded in this version of the transcript that were of a similar tone—I think that the comment made by Mr Hanson this morning was a reflection on that. I need to warn people that you need to be very careful about your language and the impact that your language has on other members in this place and on the public. I do not believe that what was said on either occasion was strictly unparliamentary.

Sitting suspended from 12.35 to 2.30 pm.

Questions without notice

Canberra Hospital—patient care

MR HANSON: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, in response to recent complaints about the poor levels of patient care at the Canberra Hospital, the Secretary of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation ACT, Ms Jenny Miragaya, said that “nurses often reported too great a workload for the number of staff available”. She said she thought that staff at the Canberra Hospital were working “in a system that is quite stretched at times”. The Executive Director of the Healthcare Consumers Association of the ACT, Darlene Cox, said the “quality of patient care needed to improve”. Minister, at Canberra Hospital, do nurses often have too great a workload for the number of staff available?

MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Hanson for his question. There is no doubt that our hospital can be very busy at times. Nursing staff, medical staff and allied health staff

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