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 to grab anything he could that would seem to have a little substance when presented in his usual manner and would confuse the issue and deceive the public. He probably decided to toss in a couple of throwaway lines such as, , I sn' tit horri b 1 e when they s.end off a fellow who is sti 11 under drugs and he is bashed up in the Alice Springs Hospital', and to talk about how we 'strap down patients'. Emotive issues of .that kind are always included in the repertoire of the member for Barkly. There is another point I would clarify in connection with that particular issue. He talks about people receiving respite care .in Tennant Creek and names them. I do not intend to do so. One can only assume that he is associating those patients will mental illness, and I do not know that that is the case. He talks about the cost of staying in the Tennant Creek Hospital being $285 per day. I will give him a shock. If he were to take the time out to familiarise himself with what it would cost to spend 1 day in the facility that he is asking us to build to slot alloT these people into, he would be amazed that it is something approaching twice that figure. There would be no financial gain to the people of the Northern Territory. Mr Speaker, it is my job to tell this Assembly and the people of the Northern Territory what we. are doing, in this case in the delivery of psychiatric services to the people of the Northern Territory. I do not believe that throwing confusion into the debate by presenting a letter that talks about the mentally-ill, the intellectually-disabled and people with brain damage has anything to do with the facts at all. Another thing that the member for Barkly did, which he does constantly publicly, was to talk about people who are in Ward 5 at the hospital for psychiatric care. He switched quickly to talking about people who are incarcerated in Ward 9 and then sought to amalgamate all of those people into a single group, which he talks about to the media. That is totally misleading. It is simply an exercise in deceiving the public. The fact is that we have been constantly addressing all of the issues touched on by the member for Barkly, and I am referring to the mentally-ill, the intellectually-disabled and the people .with brain damage. When he spoke about the patients who were the subjects of complaints by a magistrate in Alice Springs some 2 years ago, he did not even mention the guardianship ~egislation enacted by this Assembly. Mr Speaker, have you heard the magistrate complaining about those people recently? No, you have not, because we have done something about the problem, although that is another issue which has nothing to do with the subject of today's debate. If honourable members made any criticism of substance, it was that they could not see that I was doing something about the provision of what they perceive - and they do not do a very good job of describing it - to be an appropriate facility for the peoplewe are talking about. At page 20 of. the statement, I said: 'With an expected strong growth in population over the next 10 years, the total requirement for beds for the mentally-ill, both acute and long-term, will be approximately 90 for the Territory'. Mr Speaker, in my statement, I went on to explain what we will be doing to provide for that: extensions to the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Ward, extensions to the Forensic Ward and the establishment of a 10-bed unit for adult, brain-damaged people. I believe that this Northern Territory CLP government has fulfilled its obligation to date, and I stress 'to date' because it is an ongoing obligation. I am pleased to say that it has fulfilled its obligation to date. I trust that the people of the Northern Territory are listening to me and not to the I-line grabs that several of the people opposite have been making while 5583

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