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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 9 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 2607..


MRS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, as I made clear, the policy has been revised. It has been revised in line with NHMRC and ANCA guidelines. Those guidelines were brought down in April 1996. Professional advice was sought from occupational health and safety specialists. The ACT Community Care Service's Infection Control Committee is the forum that handles it. They have seen drafts of this policy; draft versions of the revised policy have been tabled in that particular committee. Mr Speaker, I think that is a very appropriate approach. Possibly Ms Tucker has spoken to different people, but my understanding is that there have been information sessions and that we do encourage staff to protect themselves from infection by using proper procedures. I do not know what else Ms Tucker thinks the Government should do.

Dental Services

MR BERRY: Mr Speaker, I have a question to Mrs Carnell in her capacity as Minister for Health. My question flows from the recent election of the Howard Government. We all recall Mrs Carnell's glowing support for the election of Mr Howard to government - a government that was going to be "for all of us". It seems to be that "for all of us" excludes a few. My question relates to an issue which concerns one small group that has been excluded by this cruel, unfair budget which will have savage impacts on the Australian Capital Territory. Mr Speaker, my question to the Minister for Health seeks to draw her out on how she will deal with the impacts of what Mr Howard has done to the Territory and to those people who are not included amongst "all of us". If Mrs Carnell would refer to the forward estimates she would note that the Keating Government provided a large subsidy for the dental program in the ACT. I think the current grants heading in the forward estimates talks about $1m in 1995-96. We know now that Mr Howard, quite contrary to his "all of us" promise, has excluded those - - -

Mr Kaine: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: Mr Berry was complaining before that the answers were too long. Should not the questions be just as concise as the answers?

MR BERRY: Mr Speaker, I draw your attention to your ruling on answers to questions without notice. You really interpreted "concise" to be a relative term. I suggest to you that a fair response to Mr Kaine's point of order should be that "brief" should be regarded as a relative term as well. One has to ensure that all of the issues relative to the question being posed to the Minister are drawn out, and that ought to be fairly described as a brief question.

MR SPEAKER: I will be the judge of this. First of all, standing order 118 refers to answers to questions; so, it is not relevant. I have been listening carefully to Mr Berry. Unfortunately, there is nothing to say that the question does not have to be too long, Mr Kaine. However, I am interested to know when we are going to get to the point that affects Mrs Carnell because, until now, it relates to Mr Howard. Therefore, Mr Berry, it will not be ruled in order unless you somehow link this to Mrs Carnell and her responsibilities.


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