Chief Minister Katy Gallagher at the Calvary Hospital. Photo: Andrew Sheargold
Chief Minister Katy Gallagher says she regrets nothing about her handling of the data doctoring scandal that rocked ACT Health earlier this year.
And Ms Gallagher has revealed she turned to her predecessor, Jon Stanhope, for advice during the darkest days of the crisis.
In an end-of-year interview with The Canberra Times, Ms Gallagher said the falsifying of 11,700 patient records at Canberra Hospital had caused her to reflect more closely on her political leadership than any other issue during the past 12 months. But the Health Minister said she was only sorry information she volunteered during committee hearings was used by the Canberra Liberals to ''play political games''.
The scandal in Canberra's emergency department led to two Assembly inquiries and an unsuccessful no-confidence motion from the opposition in Ms Gallagher as Chief Minister.
An Auditor-General's report cleared Ms Gallagher of any involvement in the manipulation of data, but the opposition later accused her of deceiving the public about the extent of her relationship with Kate Jackson, the hospital executive at the centre of the affair.
''I can honestly put my hand on my heart and say I don't think I would have done anything differently,'' Ms Gallagher said. ''But on this side of it, I understand a little bit more the criticism that was painted of me during it.
''I don't know that it would have changed anything that I did at the time, but I probably acknowledge, I wouldn't have seen that criticism coming at me when I was making the decisions I did.''
The Chief Minister said she could have done more to minimise attacks on her integrity by the Canberra Liberals.
In August, the opposition said Ms Gallagher had a credibility problem after it was revealed she had spent time with Ms Jackson on a 2010 holiday.
Ms Gallagher, who maintained that her only connection to the hospital executive was through her sister, was accused of no longer being trustworthy on matters relating to health.
''There probably were a few moments in that time where I would have - even if it had been just saying something slightly different, I would have, just to avoid the criticism,'' Ms Gallagher said. ''I don't think it would have changed the outcome, I don't think it would have changed any of the reports, I don't think it was material, but I really don't like people questioning my integrity.'' questioning my integrity.'' The Chief Minister said she had turned to political colleagues and her mentor Mr Stanhope for advice during the saga.
But she ignored Mr Stanhope's advice in favour of that offered by the government solicitor.
''There's people that sort of understand the role you're in and, I have to say, I got different advice from every single person,'' she said.
''People like Jon, I rarely disagree with.
''With the benefit of hindsight, I also think I should have called the Liberals on their dirty tactics earlier than I did. I should have been stronger in some of the committee hearings.
''I shouldn't have let my sister be used the way she was.''
Ms Gallagher said she would not have volunteered some of the information she gave in committee hearings had she known how it would be used by the opposition.
''I usually go to committee report hearings trying to answer questions, like I go to question time trying to answer questions,'' she said.
''And I'm sort of naive in the sense, or maybe I'm an optimist at heart, to think that people should go with that intention rather than just sitting and playing political games.''