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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 13 Hansard (26 November) . . Page.. 4679..


MR STANHOPE: There is no sense in taking on notice a question that is just a nonsense. It makes absolutely no sense to me. I have got no idea what the question is about, and I am not going to answer it.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question?

MRS BURKE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Have you advised your ministers, in clear and unequivocal terms, of the penalties that would apply if they failed to live up to the standards that you set?

Mr Cornwell: Or don't you know what that's about?

MRS BURKE: Or don't you know what they are? Or don't you set them?

MR STANHOPE: All I can say, Mr Speaker, is that I do recall one discussion-I think it was in caucus-where I said, "Now, listen, you bastards, don't stuff up."I do recall saying that.

HIV infections

MS DUNDAS: My question is for the Minister for Health. Minister, recent reports have shown an increase in HIV infections in Australia for the first time in almost 20 years. This is not just an increase in the number of people being infected with HIV: it is an increase in the rate of infection, so more people are becoming infected now than over the last 20 years. Minister, are you aware of whether or not there has been a rise in the rate of HIV infections in the territory?

MR CORBELL: I am not familiar with the current status of the rate of HIV infections in the territory, but it would not surprise me if we have seen some increase in the rate of HIV infection consistent with national trends in this area.

A matter of concern for the ACT, and for all the states and territories, is the need to finalise the next national strategy for dealing with HIV in Australia, a piece of work that has been significantly delayed by the Commonwealth government and which was the subject of some criticism by particularly the gay and lesbian community at a function I attended earlier this year. They were extremely critical of the failure of the Commonwealth government to adequately respond to these issues and to progress the next national strategy for addressing the spread of HIV/AIDS in Australia.

The ACT government takes very proactive steps to address issues concerned with the spread of HIV/AIDS and the government is continuing to focus on these issues. I have only recently requested the Department of Health to convene a forum with consumers and service providers who provide and receive services as part of, particularly, the gay and lesbian community in the ACT-those groups have particular interests in this issue-to ascertain the adequacy of our response on a whole range of health service provision as it affects those communities.

It is appropriate to acknowledge that HIV/AIDS is increasingly not solely an issue for the gay and lesbian community in the ACT, or in Australia, but also for the broader heterosexual community. My attention was drawn only this morning to reports from


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