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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 7 Hansard (3 July) . . Page.. 2699..


MR SPEAKER (continuing):

A supplementary question, Mr Mulcahy.

MR MULCAHY: What other international or domestic travel for members between now and October have you approved, and what is the funding source?

MR SPEAKER: I will have to take that on notice.

Children—protection

MR STEFANIAK: My question is to the Minister for Children and Young People. It relates to the removal of four children from their home by ACT police on 22 June. Minister, with regard to the media coverage of the Ainslie issue, you will be aware of comments made by the magistrate regarding her concerns with how the issue was leaked to the media. Indeed, yesterday I understand Magistrate Karen Fryar commented on these comments, as did the prosecutor Katrina Mackenzie, who told the court:

The children have suffered negatively in relation to the media interest in this matter.

Minister, why have your systems allowed these children to be exposed to the media in this way?

MS GALLAGHER: As I think we have heard from the Attorney-General's answer to the last question, the system has not allowed the children to be exposed, but it is very regrettable in terms of the outcomes that this has had on the individual children involved. I would say that the continual raising of this in question time is perpetuating this, though. I am happy to speak to members individually about this case but I am not sure that there is anything more that I can add.

We are going back and having a look in terms of the response and how the initial contact was made. We have identified a gap there in terms of a different arm of the police responding on another matter and then coming across the issues on which later charges were laid. But, in relation to exposing those children, I am confident that the system did not expose the children. The system has sought to protect the children at every step of the way, as it should.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Stefaniak?

MR STEFANIAK: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, does the exposure of these children to the media in this way comply with or breach the MOU between child protection and SACAT? You might be able to answer this, too: were the media alerted to their responsibilities under the Crimes Act in relation to the children?

MS GALLAGHER: Certainly in terms of the media coverage, I am aware that the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services contacted media outlets to draw their attention to protections under the Children and Young Peoples Act. That was done, and I understand some media outlets decided to change the way they were


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