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





Publisher name

Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

Place of publication


File type



Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

DEBATES - Thursday 16 February 1989 We will not be supporting the amendment. As I have said many times in this House, I will not talk about individual cases in a public forum simply to gain political points or to appease the political point-scorers on the opposite benches. I have a fundamental personal problem with exploitation of people who find themselves in a situation where they require psychiatric treatment and exploitation of their families. I can give a guarantee that, where there are odd cases like those cited by the honourable member opposite, I have them fully investigated. I ask the relevant questions. I ask, for example, why the persons concerned were there. The person that the member for MacDonnell cited was, in fact, in Ward 9 and was transferred to Alice Springs. That was not done on my advice. I did not go for a wander around Ward 9 and say: 'Oh, it's time that guy had a trip to Alice Springs. Let us have some fun and send him down there and see what happens'. That is not what happens. These people are moved and are treated according to the advice of experts in the Department of Health and Community Services~ Those experts are second to none anywhere in Australia, and I challenge any member opposite to step outside the door and query the credentials of the people who make the decisions on where these patients are and what treatment they are receiving. In trying to gain political points through exploitation of these patients, members opposite denigrate the p~ofessional people working in all areas of the Department of Health and Community Services. Mr Speaker, you will recall the words I used in that memorandum to my department saying that we should make the people of the Northern Territory more aware of the services we are providing. One of our fundamental reasons for doing that is to maintain the confidence of the people of the Northern Territory in the services that are being provided so that they do not listen to the quick, headline-grabbing stories of all those members opposite who wish to exploit people who are sick and the families of those people. Members opposite are pathetic in their endeavours to gain some ground. Any sane, rational person who reads the document that I presented here today will acknowledge that, certainly in recent years, this government has been doing everything possible to increase and maintain a very high standard in the delivery of services to the mentally-ill. Any day members opposite want me to, I can cite a couple of cases that will excite them in their pursuit of a few political points. However, as I said earlier, there are almost 10 000 cases every year in which people in the Northern Territory receive treatment for psychiatric problems. For those people to be tagged with the Rambo nonsense used by members opposite in their efforts to exploit 1 or 2 situations for political purposes, is absolutely pathetic politics. Mr Speaker, I rest my case. The government will not be supporting the amendment. Mr TUXWORTH (Barkly): Mr Speaker, speaking for myself, I would like to say to the honourable minister that he can put his photograph on as much material as he likes and circulate it as far as he can because it can only enhance opportunities for people on this side of the House. He should not be deterred from doing that. We appreciate it. I would like to pick up a couple of points about the minister's reference to exploitation of patients for political gain. In my view, the only thing that is more serious than that is the abrogation of responsibility and the complete contempt that the minister shows for people who are not able to care for themselves. There are plenty of examples of that right throughout the Northern Territory, and I do not think it is necessary today to go into all of the individual cases. 5571

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this website may contain the names, voices and images of people who have died, as well as other culturally sensitive content. Please be aware that some collection items may use outdated phrases or words which reflect the attitude of the creator at the time, and are now considered offensive.

We use temporary cookies on this site to provide functionality.
By continuing to use this site without changing your settings, you consent to our use of cookies.