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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 23 August 2018) . . Page.. 3525 ..

ACT Health is clearly struggling to implement the restructure. There is one month to go until the restructure starts, and we still do not know which staff will be part of which directorate and which will be part of Canberra hospital and health services. The Chief Minister claims that he took the decision based on his control of administrative orders, but there was no change to administrative orders on 15 March. We will see what is revealed when the minister makes the forthcoming changes to administrative orders. The control of administrative orders does give the Chief Minister power to hire and fire—that is true—but it also comes with a responsibility to make informed decisions based on the issues before us.

We have an executive which is quite beholden to the Chief Minister. The Chief Minister calls the shots. That is quite clear because of the decisions in relation to the split-up of the Health structure. This means that the ACT executive is becoming increasingly arrogant.

The timing of the Health restructure shows a complete lack of concern for the welfare of people at the hospital. It was agreed to at about the time that the auditors came through for the accreditation. It meant that they lost their chief executive. The chief executive was not available during the time of the Health accreditation. This left staff quite at sea and at a loss to understand why their chief executive was not available during the accreditation. This is clearly reflected in the documents provided in the FOI request. At the initial consultation over the split, this was a constant item of discussion amongst the staff: “Why were we left high and dry without a chief executive during the accreditation process?” That might to some extent explain why there were 33 fails in the accreditation. It put our accreditation at risk.

I have to reflect on the Chief Minister’s priorities and the priorities of this government. As Mr Barr has made quite clear with his “I hate journalists” comments, he wants to have a new approach to media in the ACT. It is interesting that at the same time we have a highly tuned media machine that supports the executive. Given the number of media and communications people across the directorates, it is our estimation that taxpayers pay about $10 million a year in public relations and communications staff. Last week, for instance, the minister who hates journalists and thinks that conventional media is outdated spent taxpayers’ money to speak—

Ms Cheyne: Oh—

MRS DUNNE: You will have your turn if you want it. This is a chamber where I think we have freedom of speech. There was a great deal of talk about freedom of speech just recently.

Ms Cheyne: You tell me, Mrs Dunne.

MRS DUNNE: If Ms Cheyne is tired, she can leave or she can just wait her turn.

It was interesting that although the Chief Minister derides conventional media, he was prepared to spend taxpayers’ money last week to speak to senators about an issue that he held dearly. The money could have been more effectively spent on lobbying than a

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