PARLIAMENT HOUSE, Canberra: We know that the government has no shame, but the hospital ads that the government has placed into Victorian metropolitan newspapers go to new lows. We know the history of this. The government ripped $107 million from Victorian hospitals causing beds to close at the premier cancer institution, the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, and at the Royal Children’s Hospital. As well there are beds to close in my own electorate of Aston.
After significant community pressure the government put that money back into the Victorian coffers. It was a great surprise to many of us to then see ads which claim that this will reverse the cuts made by the Victorian government and that they are putting $107 million directly into these hospitals. It is nothing of the sort. These are misleading, deliberately deceptive ads. They are highly political and they should rightly be paid by the ALP and not by the taxpayer.
I have written to the Auditor-General in relation to this, and I am very pleased that the Auditor-General is going to be taking this matter up and investigating the appropriateness of this funding used towards political purposes. It costs about $70,000 every time these ads are placed in the metropolitan papers. That is the cost of a nurse for a year, which the government is wasting on these political ads, and the ALP should be paying for them and not the taxpayer.