Former Macarthur Health Service Chief Executive Officer Ms Jennifer Collins
|About this Item||Subjects||Inquiries; Health Administration; Health Care Complaints Commission HCCC; Members of Parliament; Public Service: New South Wales
||Speakers||Speaker; O'Farrell Mr Barry; Knowles Mr Craig
||Business||Questions Without Notice
Mr BARRY O'FARRELL: My question without notice is directed to the Minister for Infrastructure and Planning. What conversations and meetings, official and personal, did the Minister or his office have with his close friend and disgraced former chief executive officer of the Macarthur Health Service, Jennifer Collins, since allegations were first raised about treatment and the deaths of at least 17 patients at Camden and Campbelltown hospitals?
Mr SPEAKER: Order! The standing orders specifically stipulate that questions without notice should not contain any derogatory or defamatory words. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition used such terms in his question. On this occasion I will allow the question. However, I will take a more critical view of such questions in future.
Mr CRAIG KNOWLES: I am happy to answer it—
Mr Barry O'Farrell: Point of order—
Mr CRAIG KNOWLES: I am happy to answer. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition asked the question. Let me answer it.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! Is the Deputy Leader of the Opposition canvassing my ruling?
Mr Barry O'Farrell: No. The only reference that can possibly have related to your ruling was the description "disgraced".
Mr SPEAKER: Order! That is not a point of order. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the Deputy Leader of the Opposition to order.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the Deputy Leader of the Opposition to order for the second time.
Mr CRAIG KNOWLES: For the record, my relationship with Jennifer Collins is a very clear and distinct one. There is some allegation that Jennifer Collins is a member of the Australian Labor Party. For the record, I have absolutely no knowledge of whether she is or is not a member of that party. The only external position to her job as the chief executive officer [CEO] of the Macarthur campuses that I have knowledge of is that I am aware that historically—I cannot precisely identify the year or the date—she was an executive member of the New South Wales Nurses Association. Why do I know that? Because when I went as the official guest and official speaker at Sandra Moait's farewell dinner, Jennifer happened to be there and was one of the acknowledged guests. I make this very clear: I know that people are trying to assert that Jennifer Collins is some mate, some close friend, some Labor Party mate.
Mr Barry O'Farrell: You looked after her.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! The Deputy Leader of the Opposition will come to order.
Mr CRAIG KNOWLES: The Deputy Leader of the Opposition asked the question. He is getting the answer. As far as I am concerned my relationship with Jennifer Collins was the same as that with any other CEO in the New South Wales public hospital system whilst I was the Minister for Health. In the context of all of that, when allegations were made by Campbelltown and Camden nurses about her and other people, as a matter of documented public record I initiated the inquiry.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Epping to order.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Epping to order for the second time.
Mr CRAIG KNOWLES: I initiated the inquiry. I am proud to have done that.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for North Shore to order.
Mr CRAIG KNOWLES: As the current Minister for Health has said, the inquiry continues.