The second #ACTQT for this sitting week was downright dull compared to the usual fruit throwing, insult- hurling monkey business Canberra’s finest politicians tend offer from 2pm at the Assembly.
While the Liberal boys were busy making noise, it seemed like their hearts weren’t in it, with Speaker Shane Rattenbury only issuing two warnings, to Brendan Smyth and Jeremy Hanson.
Perhaps it was the subject matter, given the continued healthcare line of questioning from the Opposition focusing on the hot topics of workplace bullying and the Obstectrics review, the potential implications of the National Health and Hospitals Network and the future of the Calvary Hospital deal.
Health Minister Katy Gallagher’s responses lacked fire, as she dished out the same dog-eared words from two months ago, with only a couple of rips into Hanson.
On Canberra Hospital’s Staff Culture Survey, Gallagher told the Opposition she would not be publically releasing the information from the individual surveys because it was supplied under the assumption staff responses would be kept confidential.
“They’re not fodder for Mr Hanson to put out another inflamatory press release,” Gallagher said.
“They’re a tool to improve performance.”
Their battle continued into the ACT Government’s agreement with the Commonwealth’s National Hospitals Network. Gallagher strongly defended signing up for the deal, saying the ACT needed the uncapped assistance to deal with growth costs in health.
“We signed up because we needed the Commonwealth to come to the table.”
“The decision’s been made, implementation is taking place now.”
Gallagher said she didn’t expect Hanson to understand the processes as he’s never been in Government.
“I don’t ever intend to be in Opposition, if you keep behaving the way you do, I’ll never be.”
But really Jon Stanhope took out the Golden Logie. The Chief was in fine form, weaving a complex tale of two skateparks when the Green’s Meredith Hunter asked about the consultation of children and young people in the design process for such a facility in Belconnen.
Apparently the skate park in Belco was built in 1988 and it’s a tad old school for the kids these days who want basketball courts and rockclimbing walls adjacent to entertain the girls who aren’t all that into skateboards and rollerblades.
The Greens were bringing up the matter over disagreement over the involvement of children and young people in plans for active transport.
The Chief pointed to the consultation with skate groups for the new park opened a few months back in Woden Valley’s suburban Phillip.
“The Government consulted extensively on a recent skate park. We’d seek to replicate that.”
“No disrespect to older skateboarders,” Stanhope said, “But these are designed for younger members of the community.”
“There is a distinction between consulting children and young people over a skate park compared to a freeway.”
Unfortunately his time in the spotlight enabled Stanhope to go into great detail about the money spent on capital works programs and to berate the Liberals on their expenditure history at Lake Ginninderra foreshore.
“The question was not about the Liberals’ track record in Ginninderra,” the Speaker pointed out.
Nope. It wasn’t. But that never stopped anyone before.