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 Of course, the area of mental health is a very sensitive and difficult one. Itis not like most other areas of health, where a person who is ill nr is injured, goes through a healing process and is rehabilitated in the community as a well person again. Mental health is far more complex and difficult. As with a person who is inflicted with malaria, the illness tends to manifest itself again and again. It is extremely difficult, and I assume that it is very frustrating for the staff who try to solve the very complex problems involved. From my own personal experience, I know of a person who I believe was schizophrenic. He visited my office regularly. He would come to me with a great file of letters he had been writing to all sorts of people complaining about the standard of services that he had been provided with at the Royal Darwin Hospital and other places. The poor fellow had a complete fixation about this; and there was nothing that I could do to allay his fears. It was just a fact that he suffered from this disease, and it was a great shame. I did what I could to counsel him and to reassure him, but that is the nature of the disease. There are many other people who are similarly afflicted. If one were to take notice of what the members of the opposition had to say today, one would assume that nothing was being done at all. Of course, that is totally incorrect and it is just another example of the misinformation, the lies, the inferences, the innuendo and the personal denigration that they continually bring forth in this House. It is an absolute nonsense. Mr SPEAKER: Order! The honourable member should withdraw the reference to 1 i es. Mr SETTER: Mr Speaker, I withdraw any reference to the word 'lies'. As I was saying, the services that are being provided in the Northern Territory have improved dramatically in the last several years, thanks to the actions of this government and its Department of Health and Community Services. One matter has been overlooked in this debate. It was overlooked even by the member for Barkly, who should be very familiar with the great difficulties faced by the government and the Minister for Health and Community Services in efforts to implement additional programs. It is, of course, the matter of funding. From my colleagues, I hear that budget Cabinet meetings are fairly torrid affairs because each minister has to go in and really fight to achieve the level of funding that he wants for his department for the coming year. It is not easy. Sometimes a minister is successful and sometimes he is not. The reality is that, in order to improve the level of services that are available, the minister requires more. funds. In order to obtain them, h~ has to stand in line with all the other ministers who are also trying to acquire .funds. They all have very strong arguments, probably as strong as those of the Minister for Health and Community Services although, I hasten to add, perhaps not as sensitive or emotive as those relating to mental health services or health services in general. That issue has not been mentioned here today. It is a matter of what we can do within the limit of the available funds. Mr Speaker, 1 say to you and to honourable members that I will not vote for the amendment to the motion. It is an absolute nonsense, a total furphy. I applaud the minister for bringing forward this statement and for the fact that, from time to time and on quite a regular basis, he brings statements before this House to inform honourable members and the public at large about 5581

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