Parliamentary record : Part I debates (16 February 1989)
Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990
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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Thursday 16 February 1989 Mr BELL: I am afraid that the minister is just not on top of his job. He interjects that it is one case. I certainly hope that the staff at Tennant Creek Hospital hear about this. I am sure that the member for Barkly will see to that and, if he does not, I will certainly do so. The minister and his henchmen opposite do not care a fig for people who are delivering these services, people who are working at the coalface. The minister has made the situation in such hospitals so intolerable that the regularity of resignations is compromising services even further. Mr Dale: Garbage. Mr BELL: The minister tells me that is garbage. The fact is, however, that that is what the report says. Obviously, the minister was not listening. I will quote from the report to refresh his memory: 'The effect on nursing morale has been devastating. There have been 7 resignations in recent weeks. It has been necessary to employ agency nurses from Adelaide to replace many of these'. I wonder what the cost has been. The minister's behaviour is outrageous, Mr Speaker. He sits in this Assembly and pretends that such problems do not exist. Not only does he not report them to this Assembly; he imagines that they do not exist. At page 19 of his statement, the minister says that his department is planning to develop adequate resources for the appropriate care of people whose illness takes a chronic or recurring form. That, at best, is an attempt to gloss over what has been said. I have demonstrated the minister's total lack of capacity to deal rationally and humanely with his portfolio generally, particularly in respect of mental health services. That contrasts dramatically with the minister's zealous approach to self-promotion. I have here a memorandum to CMT members from the Secretary of the Department of Health and Community Services. It relates to a departmental campaign and, if the minister's capacity for ignoring mental health services is deplorable, his capacity for self-promotion is worthy of the loudest applause. Mr Speaker, I seek leave to table the memorandum. Mr SPEAKER: Leave is not granted. Mr BELL: Mr Speaker, may I confirm that this government has refused permission to include on the public record an official document which has come into the possession of the opposition because it is of such serious embarrassment. Mr Dondas: Read it out! Mr BELL: Mr Speaker, I trust that I will be given an extension of time. Members interjecting. Mr SPEAKER: Order! The member for Casuarina will cease interjecting. Mr BELL: This is outrageous, Mr Speaker. Members opposite are so embarrassed about a piece of paper with a few little marks and words on it that they will not even allow it to be incorporated into the Parliamentary Record. What a bunch of heroes they are! I will leave my colleague the member for Stuart to read it out slowly and in its entirety. Goodness me, I have not had so much fun for a long time! 5562
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