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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 2 Hansard (3 March) . . Page.. 667..


MRS DUNNE (continuing):

land use policy in relation to community land was there ever a discussion that this land would be subject to a change of use charge.

Issues have been raised in this debate about the slowness with which this government is approaching things. The minister says that he is doing it according to Hoyle, that he is doing it according to the land act, but the concern that everyone in this place has-let me say everyone on this side of the house has-and many in the community have is the slowness with which this process is being conducted. It is almost as if, as Mr Cornwell said, they are out of venom drawing things out in such a way that people in highly stressed housing circumstances are being put in quite vulnerable situations. I think that it is inappropriate that this tardiness should continue. I hope that the provision of information today will help us in the process of making sure that this government is more accountable to the people of the ACT about the provision of aged care accommodation.

I thank members for their support.

Motion agreed to.

Mentally ill persons-transportation by police

MS DUNDAS (3.56): I move:

That this Assembly calls on the Minister for Police and Emergency Services to require that plain-clothes police and unmarked police cars be used wherever possible when collecting a mentally ill person from their home for assessment by a psychiatrist.

Mr Speaker, this motion arises from concerns that mental health consumers have raised with me about how they have been distressed or damaged by the current system when people with suspected mental illnesses are apprehended by uniformed police. Mental health advocates and families of consumers have indicated to me that they are very supportive of this motion, that it will address some of their minor concerns about the current state of affairs in relation to the interaction of the legal system and the mental health system.

If this motion were successful today it would greatly increase the dignity of people with mental illnesses and help reassert the fact that our psychiatric system is about trying to help heal people, not punish them for being unlucky enough to have a mental illness. I will repeat my motion for the benefit of members. It states:

That this Assembly calls on the Minister for Police and Emergency Services to require that plain-clothes police and unmarked police cars be used wherever possible when collecting a mentally ill person from their home for assessment by a psychiatrist.

People who develop a mental illness usually have committed no crime. However, our law permits these people to be detained and subject to medical treatment against their will on the ground that it is in their best interest. The rationale for apprehending and detaining people with serious mental illnesses is that they are unable to make a rational decision to seek the medical treatment that they urgently need.


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