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Monday, 10 September 2018
Page: 8465


Mr LAMING (Bowman) (10:34): It seems like the way this great nation funds its hospitals continues to be a form of political water torture for the Labor Party as they dredge around for the scare campaign that'll save them at the next election. It's regrettable that a once great party is limited in its re-election strategy to scurrying around and capitalising on, often, the lack of aptitude of their voter base to confuse them about how hospitals are funded. It's actually very disappointing. It's really important that, as elected representatives, we are raising the understanding of our hospitals' work, not capitalising on voters' low level of understanding, which is something that, fundamentally, the once-great Labor Party is doing at the moment.

There's no doubt that the only way for a Labor Party to be re-elected is a scare campaign. Either they have a good one and get elected or they have a bad one and they don't. It doesn't really say much about the vision of where Australia will be in 20 or 30 years when you have a party that is simply incapable of talking about what we need for the next generation of hospital systems. I thought, in my electorate, let's try something a bit novel. Let's just get face to face with the state Labor Party and debate hospital funding, and let's take one hospital as an example.

As you know, with a Commonwealth based system of payment transfers based on activity-weighted units, it's not that easy to dive down into the rats and mice of what's happening between hospitals to find out the status of Redland Hospital, but I'm determined to do it. I have set a time and a place, and I'm going to debate the relevant state MP. You see them scurry like mice as soon as you try and set a time for a debate. It's almost impossible. They're slithering around like ice on a hot surface, trying to get away, and the minute you try and engage them, of course, they find some other indignant reason why they can't be there.

We're grateful that the local newspaper, the Redland City Bulletin, has raised this issue. We're going to meet this weekend. With great sadness, we acknowledge that the Labor federal candidate is unable to attend for personal reasons. We fully respect that, and we pass on, as everyone would, our condolences that he cannot attend. But let's have another convenient date and not have it pushed out to the election campaign. Let's not have the preposterous suggestion that, 'We're not going to have a debate unless every other candidate is there,' as though it is impossible to debate hospital funding unless you've got One Nation and a Greens candidate present. This is ridiculous.

Funding of hospitals is complicated, but the level of granularity that the Commonwealth can access is limited by regions because the states report activity and payments are made on a calculation. We want to know what they are for each hospital. My state and city want to know what my hospital is getting as growth funding. It's a fundamental right of my city. We are demanding that MPs elected to a job just do their job and show up and justify how dollars are spent at a hospital. There are too many sick kids, too many long waits in casualty and too many crises in car parking for us to ignore this great issue. As elected reps, let's meet up and have a debate on hospital funding. It's not that hard. (Time expired)