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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 6 Hansard (18 June) . . Page.. 2098..


MR SMYTH

(continuing):

They were saying that in the seventies about something that is now commonplace-the need for an organ, a heart, a lung, a cornea, a kidney, a liver or whatever it is. All credit to Ralph Hunt, the Liberal minister of the day, who said to change it. I was hoping that the Labor minister of today might have said, "Just change it."

It is disappointing when you are approached by the community. Mrs Burke gave an example from Yass, and I gave an example from Canberra. There are other examples. I have a stack of information I could make available to members on people who are interested. It is a really sad day when we, in this place, will not even vote to investigate this opportunity for the community, who are enthused about these options. They cannot have it, because we cannot be bothered to investigate.

We won't even look at the option of how we might let Canberrans give something back. The defeatist attitude of saying that the ACT need not contribute at the moment is unfortunate. I did not ask for that. I asked that we might investigate the opportunity for the ACT to be able to contribute to this and be part of it in the future.

We are sending a really bad message about the importance of cord blood. Unfortunately, Mr Corbell misses the point when he says that the ACT can access the cord bank. He said it is great that others have put it there and, yes, we can put some dollars in. Of course, we can. But why can't we donate the blood? Why are we repeating the mistake of 25 years ago tonight by not even investigating this?

It won't cost a great deal for the government to do some work and come back to this place and by the end of the year say, "We have done an investigation, and the reality is that at this stage the network is functioning fine. We're not being inundated with calls about being able to donate. We will put it on hold for another couple of years, and halfway through the next term we might investigate it again."That is all I was asking for.

The motion can stand. It is a statement of fact; you cannot object to a statement of fact. We note that the ACT government contributes to the national cord blood collection. That is fine. It further notes that ACT patients can access umbilical cord blood as a result of being a part of that network. That is fine, too. The sad and unfortunate thing is that it is extremely difficult for women who have just delivered their children to donate. Under this government it will remain difficult, if not impossible-unless you want to move or go to Sydney to deliver your baby-to contribute that blood to the national bank. That is disappointing.

Motion, as amended, agreed to.

Adjournment

Motion (by Mr Wood ) agreed to:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

The Assembly adjourned at 10.14 pm.


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