Page 2081 - Week 07 - Thursday, 4 June 2015

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

It is a travesty for this government to cut 60 hospital beds from the planned University of Canberra hospital while gearing up to spend a billion dollars on a tram. The attempts to deny and then cover up these cuts were amongst the most vile political denials I have ever witnessed. The litany of contradictory and confused statements just beggared belief. First the original commitment was for 200 beds. It was unambiguous and it was categorical—200 beds. Then that changed to 140 beds and 60 day beds. All the while, the government was deliberately and repeatedly claiming there were no cuts. Once again, the government’s own documentation showed the truth. The so-called day beds were not beds at all; the day beds were in fact any space where you could be in the building. They included things like chairs in doctors’ waiting rooms and gymnasium equipment. Even the swimming pool was being counted as a bed. It would be ludicrous if it were not so serious.

Mr Corbell interjecting—


MR HANSON: Madam Speaker, when the nurses federation—

Mr Corbell interjecting—

MADAM SPEAKER: I warn you, Mr Corbell.

MR HANSON: is expressing deep concern about cuts to the hospital beds, a responsible government should listen and respond. When the performance statistics for waiting times are the worst in the country, a responsible government takes decisive action.

When the head of your emergency department openly says the hospital is dangerously overcrowded, you take action. But when every dollar is being soaked up by a billion-dollar tram, there is no hope for genuine, long-term improvement. The $23 million that was put in this budget for the emergency department has been described as a “short-term fix to a long-term problem”, because it actually comes from the $41 million that was previously ripped out of the health budget by this government that was earmarked to develop a long-term solution for the Canberra Hospital.

The same pattern is repeated in police funding. In that case $3 million was announced with great fanfare as so-called extra funding. In fact it was a token gesture after this government ripped $15 million out of our police in 2013.

The situation is as bad in education. Again, this is not a failure of the many hardworking teachers in that system. It is a failure of leadership. The minister in this case is so inept, her management so poor, that the Education Union has voted no confidence in this minister. Madam Speaker, as you know, when the Education Union votes no confidence in a Labor minister, you have deep problems.

For Labor, the self-proclaimed champions of the disadvantaged, it is worst of all in public housing. This budget reveals the forced relocation of some of the most disadvantaged of our public housing tenants, in what the government is callously calling a “regeneration program”.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video