Questions - 07 December - 21 December 1976
Parliamentary record 16
Questions for 1st Assembly 1974 - 1977; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT; 1st Assembly 1974 - 1977
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Northern Territory. Legislative Assembly -- Periodicals
Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE - Tuesday 7 December 1976 ANSWER an illegitimate Aboriginal child, Freddy, be deemed a neglected child? Was the application served on the child's mother on the same day? Was the child's mother at the time of such service in the A1ice Springs Hospital with a broken leg? Was legal aid made available to the mother? Was the application heard in the Central Australian Children's Court on 9 May, the following day~ without the mother being present? Was the welfare officer in charge of the application aware that the mother was in hospital? Was the Crown Law Office or Legal Aid Service involved in the application? Was the Children's Court told that the child's mother was in hospital? Was the child declared neglected and given to some European parents for adoption? Was the mother's consent to adoption obtained? Finally, did the lack of the mother's consent lead to a great and apparently expensive legal battle and disruption of the lives of the foster parents? I was given warning of this question and advice. on the answers. I hope that I will to the honourable member. I have received certain be able to reply suitably I am advised that the mother of Freddy - just as background to answering the question - has been known to the Welfare Branch and Social Development Branch for quite a period, for at least 8 years, during which time she has abandoned all 4 of her children. I believe 3 of them have become wards of the state - wards of the Director of Social Welfare in the Northern Terri tory. The child Freddy is a specific case of a child who, despite continual medical attention over 6 months and counselling of the mother, was, in the opinion of the examining doctor, in danger of dying from malnutrition as a result of neglect. It was the opinion of the doctor that the child would only thrive if given foster care. The charge of neglect arose from police finding the child abandoned outside the A1ice Springs Hotel. It was the fifth .time in a period of some 6 months of the life of the child that it had been found abandoned or had been returned to hospital. So the answer to the first part of the question is yes. On the second part of the question, I am unable to advise the honourable member. The third part of the question was, "At that time was the child's mother in the Alice Springs Hospital?" The answer is yes. "Was legal aid made available to the mother?" I do not know. "Was the application made in the Children's Court on 9 May without the mother present?" Yes. Thewe1fare officer did know that the mother was in hospital. "Were the Crown Law Office or the Aboriginal Aid Service involved in the application at the time?" No. "Was the Children's Court told that the mother was in hospital?" I do not !mow. Mr Everingham: Why? Mr POLLOCK: Because I was not there at the time. Nobody seems to know here and I am unable to find out.
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