ACT QT: “I said I didn’t whinge”

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“I said I didn’t whinge,” the Chief Minister insisted.

“I accepted it and I expected it because there were others with a greater need.”

The Opposition were on the media-moment-front-foot in the ACT Legislative Assembly Question Time today, pulling out references to the ABC and Canberra Times left, right and centre while maintaining their traditional 2010 attack plan centred on the Territory’s healthcare woes and the Minister representing them, Ms Katy Gallagher.

Their tactic pushed Gallagher to say: “The real opposition is the Canberra Times“.

Chief Minister Jon Stanhope was referring to an interview he did with the ABC earlier this month that formed the basis for an article entitled “Stop whinging about waiting times: Stanhope“. He had actually been delivering an anecdote about how he had to wait for hours when his son cut his finger, but the ABC ran with the quote and the Opposition applied it to ACT public waiting times for elective surgery.

Opposition Leader Zed Seselja, Jeremy Hanson and Brendan Smyth all demanded apologies to the public about the “whinging” comment, but a good point was made in response.

“I can’t apologise about something that wasn’t said,” said Stanhope.

The traditional banter between Gallagher and the Liberal boys delivered little new information, but some delightful moments of antagonism – particularly on the issue of pooling elective surgery.

Stanhope was accusing them all of lying and Gallagher referred to the “black and white world of the Liberal Party” and their “drunken spending election campaign”.

When questioned over budgetory priorities by the Opposition Gallagher said the Government was in discussion with the Greens, describing it as “mature”, then hitting out with:

“You guys weren’t involved, that’s why it’s mature.”

Speaker Shane Rattenbury was forced to admonish the hecking Opposition on several occasions.

But the high point of the afternoon, forever to be erased from Hansard, was when Minster for Tourism, Mr Andrew Barr said to Mr Smyth: “You are such a moron” following repeated questions about a late-night autumn event initiative that started with the “Starry Nights” performances at the National Gallery for the Paris Masters exhibition.

You’ve got to love a bit of capital culture references tied in with a dash of shameless name calling.

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