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 Mr Dale: That is what happened at Hooker Creek when Gough Whitlam took the nurses out. Mr TUXWORTH: Mr Speaker, the minister might think that is normal and acceptable, but other people say that they should not have to cop it. The patients in the Tennant Creek Hospital do not think that they should have to cop it and the staff who are working in that environment say: 'We do not have to do this. We can get a job anywhere'. That places the patients at an extreme disadvantage. I would invite any member of this House to visit the Tennant Creek Hospital and see the environment in which psychiatric patients live and the lack of opportunity available to them. They need to have a little dignity in their lives. The staff of the hospital are just beside themselves, saying: 'We spend so much time keeping our eye on them, mainly to ensure that they do not harm themselves, that we do not do a proper day's work and are completely exhausted when we do go home'. Mr Dale: Do you want a 1-on-1 situation? Mr TUXWORTH: The minister talks about 1-on-1 situations. Mr Speaker, in some psychiatric facilities the ratio can be 3 to 1 or more. That is what makes the provision of these services so difficult. However, we cannot walk away from it. We have to do it because, 3 years ago, South Australia said that it would not handle any more of our patients. Mr Dale: You sent them down there and I have got them back. Mr TUXWORTH: Mr Speaker, the minister says that he got them back. He is not even looking after the patients we have here. He can talk about what a great job he is doing but, out in the community, it is obvious to anybody who wants to look that the system is being run very badly. The minister is not in control. No one is. The system limps on from one day to the next, and the majority of hard-working staff are beside themselves because they are getting no support. What is needed is proper facilities and additional staff who are trained in the care of the psychiatrically-disabled. Mr Speaker, there has been a great deal of yelling, screaming and carrying-on this afternoon and, if I have contributed to it, I am sorry. I do not think it is an issue to yell and scream about. We have reached the stage where facilities must be provided. If the minister is saying that that will not happen and that we will continue to live with what we have, there is more hell in store for outpatients, people who work in hospitals and other patients. That is not reasonable and the minister needs to give a pretty fair explanation as to why we should not be building a proper facility now, a facility which is obviously needed. Over the last year or two, have had cause to raise the issue of handicapped and disabled people with the minister on several fronts. I do not know whether the minister goes out of his way to be difficult or just does not care. In one or two of these cases, he made quite a name for himself. That is a matter for him, but his job is not to put one over on me or have a bit of fun with me. His job is to care for those people who cannot care for themselves. The people I am talking about this afternoon have no capacity to stand up in public and put their case for a better deal. What I am saying to the minister is that they deserve a better deal and they deserve to be listened to. The people who are supporting them also need a great deal of help and it ;s not too late to give it. 5576

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