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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 2 Hansard (25 February) . . Page.. 756..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

this comes up, the allegations are made about the Canberra Hospital—usually from doctors that do not work within the Canberra Hospital. That is what I have asked—that, if there is anything good to come out of this, those doctors put aside their differences of opinion and move on in the interests of obstetrics care in the ACT.

The review is responding to allegations that have been made. That is what the review will examine. As to whether it will end the tensions that exist across the community, I do not think that any of us can answer that because I do not think any of us can deliver that; only the doctors themselves can.

Alexander Maconochie Centre—Official Visitor

MS BRESNAN: My question is to the minister for corrections and is in regard to the Official Visitor at the Alexander Maconochie Centre. It has come to my attention that the AMC has been operating without an Official Visitor since around November and this may still be the case. Minister, could you please inform the Assembly of the exact length of time that the AMC has been operating without this important role?

MR CORBELL: Just for the record, there is not a portfolio minister for corrections. It now falls under the Attorney-General portfolio. The issue of the Official Visitor at the AMC has been an issue of some concern for my department. Unfortunately, we did have some difficulties with the previously appointed Official Visitor in terms of his ability to attend the facility on a regular and ongoing basis.

This has led to the government appointing a new Official Visitor. I can certainly confirm that the new Official Visitor has been agreed to by cabinet. It has been referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety for a review as part of the normal process for these types of statutory appointments. If I further recall correctly, the committee has recently advised me that it has no objection to the proposed candidate. The government will be moving to appoint that new Official Visitor as soon as possible.

I may stand corrected on a couple of those factual details. I will check those for the member and I will try to provide some further advice at the end of question time.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Bresnan, a supplementary?

MS BRESNAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, what procedures does the AMC have in place to quickly replace the Official Visitor in the event of a sudden departure or dismissal and what interim measures are in place for prisoners to make complaints through an external, independent person?

MR CORBELL: Prisoners can continue to make complaints through other statutory officers, including the Ombudsman, and prisoners are made aware of their rights in terms of being able to make complaints to the Ombudsman. It is not a matter for the AMC to replace the Official Visitor; it is a matter for the government to do that. The government has to go through a statutory process, including consultation with the standing committee in this place. As I have just outlined, that process is underway.

MS HUNTER: A supplementary?


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