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No regrets on scandal: Gallagher

Date

Lisa Cox

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher at the Calvary Hospital.

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.''

5 comments

  • That's the Green attitude emerging Kate, I do feel for you and your next four years as they will be your last and sadly that's four too many.

    Commenter
    Nitro Gangster
    Location
    ACT
    Date and time
    December 28, 2012, 4:01PM
    • I'd have no regrets if I got away with something like that. There is an important piece of legislation called the Financial Administration Act 1997 which contains a large section within on the spending of public money, and provides instruction on what to do when fraud/accidental or potential fraud has been identified. Therefore for the life of me I cannot understand why the Commonwealth Department of Health (the funding provider) didn't audit the ACT Health when the issue arose. If not I also wonder why not. There are also issues relating to the additional funds received by ACT Health due to lets say the miscalculation, and whether they have been repaid, to be repaid or written off. If its the latter has the Finance Minister done so???

      Commenter
      Steve
      Date and time
      December 28, 2012, 5:38PM
      • A bit like the closure of Rhodium Asset Services Steve, 4 years, $8mil to cover an alleged $2mil problem, silly people used as scape goats and in the end hacked to pieces and sold for probably a quarter of its value.
        Ad it as another reason Mr Stanhope jumped.
        God you have to admire this ACT Labor lot.

        Commenter
        Nitro Gangster
        Location
        ACT
        Date and time
        December 28, 2012, 6:46PM
      • Touche, Steve, just one among the many Labor now Green Labor not responsibles.

        Commenter
        Nitro Gangster
        Location
        ACT
        Date and time
        December 29, 2012, 2:32PM
    • Well, isn't it great little Katy wouldn't alter a thing concerning the fraud which occurred within ACT Health. I know your left wing masters are pleased however, the people of Canberra have had a gutful of of you and what you are doing to our City.

      The nurses and doctors of ACT Health cannot provide the services they were trained to because of the increasing drain on the health funding caused by your left wing money laundering, and our Hospitals are now the worst in Australia, and it has happened on your watch. Personally, I couldn't give a stuff whether you are pleased with you're efforts or not because I wouldn't believe a thing you say.

      We do not want another four years of your style of government, and we certainly don't want you, so do us all a favour and resign so we too can enjoy the feeling of having no regrets.

      Commenter
      Robb from Woden
      Date and time
      December 28, 2012, 10:24PM
      Comments are now closed
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