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Friday, 22 February 2008
Page: 1237


Mr BALDWIN (9:09 AM) —Today I raise an important point on behalf of my constituency. I am glad the Minister for Health and Ageing is here because this week she has committed a fraud upon the people of Maitland. Prior to the election, the Howard government had announced a tender for an MRI licence covering Newcastle and the Hunter. Having lived there for well and truly over a decade now, let me say that Maitland is part of the Hunter. They committed to an MRI licence specifically for Maitland and today—


Ms Roxon —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I ask whether it is parliamentary to accuse a minister of fraud and whether that can be done in a 90-second statement.

Opposition members interjecting—


The SPEAKER —Order! I will listen carefully to what the member for Paterson is saying.


Mr BALDWIN —The reality is that the Minister for Health and Ageing has committed a fraud upon the people of Maitland for not offering them directly the MRI licence that was promised them during the election. What the government have done is put one word in a statement and withdrawn the tenders, and that is not acceptable. Our people want the MRI licence. She promised it and today she is refusing to honour that promise to the people of Hunter and the seat of Paterson. I ask her today to honour that commitment and to deliver that licence as she promised.