Territory Stories

Parliamentary record : Part I debates (16 February 1989)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (16 February 1989)


Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Thursday 16 February 1989 I believe that that particular statement really does wrap up in a very simple manner the areas of concern that the Minister for Health and Community Services has. Really, he has said that he knows that, whatever we do, it will never be enough, but that we are improving the facilities and services each year. The statement goes on to say that we are improving facilities in Tennant Creek, Alice Springs, Katherine and Darwin. No acknowledgement of that was made by the member for MacDonnell. For 30 minutes, all the member for MacDonnell did was yell at us. We do not need to be yelled at, Mr Speaker. Now he has left the Chamber, obviously to go out and do his PR with the press. He was playing an acting role for the media representatives who were in the press gallery a few moments ago and now, instead of staying in the Chamber to hear what I have to say, he has gone to talk with them. He has moved an amendment ... Mr Ede: The people of the Northern Territory blowing the whistle on you. That is what it is called. Mr DONDAS: Oh, blowing the whistle! Listen to the interjection of the member for Stuart: the whistle! I have a whistle and the whistle has not been blown on your crowd yet. You wait. Your time will come too, when you talk about whistles. More importantly, I believe that, in the last 2 or 3 years, the Department of Health and Community Services has really addressed the very serious problems involved in providing services, not only in the regional centres but also in the remote areas of the Northern Territory. I know that our Community Health Service, through the Aboriginal Section of Community Health, has been monitoring what is happening in those communities. Today, the member for MacDonnell has raised 2 particular instances. What about the thousands of instances that go through the books each year, and the problems that are associated with the courts and offences? As the honourable minister said, changes will not be effective and will not be given any great consideration by the community overnight. It will take time. I believe the assessments and the reports that have been done on the Northern Territory services provided tc our community have been assessed by other health services throughout Australia, and my understanding is that those assessments put the Northern Territory far in front when compared to some of the states. Mr Ede: It does not. It says the aims are all right. Mr DONnAS: Nevertheless, it is saying that the services which we provide are equal to, if not better than, those in the larger states which have had the infrastructure. What has not been mentioned here today is that we inherited a deficiency of infrastructure to care for those people who were mentally-ill. The member for Stuart knows, as does the member for MacDonnell, that until 1978 to 1980, most of our mental health patients were sent to South Australia. Some 22 or 23 of our patients are still there, and we are trying to bring them back into the Northern Territory, but we cannot do that until we have the facilities, and it takes time to put the facilities in place. But we are working on it. I believe the attempt to denigrate the Minister for Health and Community Services today is a disgusting move by the member for MacDonnell. It is not an easy task that the minister has. It has not been an easy task. I was a health minister for a number of years and I know what it was like. At least today, the practices, aims and policies are being put in place. That is exactly what the minister is doing today. That will not take effect in 1989 5564

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