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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 3369..


MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

I intend to find out what the story is with those matters. But, Mr Speaker, I would urge members to bear in mind that, of course, this matter is still before the coroner. The inquest has been adjourned until, I think, next year and in that time, of course, the matter remains sub judice. Therefore, I will be restrained in what I might say about the matter while it is still being considered by the coroner.

MR HARGREAVES: I have a supplementary question. I respect that, Minister, and I will restrain myself in the question as well. Could you confirm that recently there have been at least two other attempted suicides at the Belconnen Remand Centre? Can you reassure the Assembly and the family of the inmate whose death is the subject of this investigation that every effort is being made to assist in the inquest? You were not quite sure about whether that was so. Could you assure us that that will be so?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, as to the second part of that question, I cannot answer that at this stage. I had not been briefed until yesterday on any of the developments with respect to that inquest from the point of view of Corrective Services, so I could not say whether there has been full cooperation or not. I would certainly hope that members of Corrective Services - indeed, all agencies of the ACT Government - would be fully aware of the need to cooperate absolutely with the judicial process, whether it is in the Coroners Court or elsewhere. Indeed, yesterday the Director of Corrective Services, in his minute to me, did say that he was naturally - he said "naturally" - very aware of the requirement to be fully cooperative with such processes.

As to the question of other attempted suicides, I am briefed fully by Corrective Services whenever there are incidents within the Remand Centre or the Periodic Detention Centre which fall into a number of categories - where illicit drugs are found, where inmates suffer significant harm, and where there are attempted suicides. I have to say that I do not recall seeing any briefs about any attempted suicides in recent months, but I am happy to find out whether there have been any attempted suicides in that period and advise Mr Hargreaves.

Nurses - Enterprise Bargaining Agreement

MR BERRY: My question is to the Minister for Health and Community Care. Minister, today hundreds of nurses stormed the administrative offices at the Canberra Hospital as a result of their frustration with your arrogant refusal to accept the strong recommendations of the Industrial Relations Commission in your dispute over a new EBA. It is clear, Minister, that your arrogance in this matter is the root cause of the industrial chaos in our health system, as displayed in what I would describe as weasel words in the letter you sent to the Australian Nursing Federation yesterday. Your acknowledgment that you have ignored the commissioner's strong recommendation is clearly an attack on the nurses union. The spin-off of an extended industrial dispute,


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