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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 9 Hansard (17 August) . . Page.. 3700..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

mental health system telling patients who present with early symptoms to come back later when their symptoms are more acute, rather than treating the problems early?

MR WOOD: I am not sure that that is what they would be told. I have not heard that. I would be surprised if it is the case. But, specifically on that issue, I will undertake to find out what the story is. I suspect the story is probably somewhat different from that.

With regard to that seminar yesterday, generally, I understand it is one that is being held by that gentleman around Australia. If a number of people attend a seminar on mental health issues, or any sorts of issues, and are asked, "How's the system going? What's wrong with it?"-you are going to hear quite a deal. So it is not surprising that you get comments arising from such a seminar that are perhaps reportable.

I could spend some time running through all the improvements that have occurred to the mental health system since we have been in government. There has been an argument about funding but there is no argument about the significantly increased level of funding since this government came to office.

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. How is it that we now have 13 specialists from emergency medicine, the college of obstetricians and gynaecologists and experts in mental health saying that your health system is failing?

MR WOOD: I don't know that that is the same question. You are talking about a seminar yesterday and a statement put out a fortnight ago.

MR SMYTH: Are you afraid to answer the question?

MR WOOD: You pull us up every time you think we get off the track!

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Wood, if you are going to answer the question, get to your feet.

MR SMYTH: It is the supplementary question, Mr Speaker, unless you rule it out of order.

MR SPEAKER: Your supplementary question went to the issue of other specialties dealing with the question of mental health, and the question-in-chief went to the issue of a seminar at Parliament House.

MR SMYTH: It is up to you, Mr Speaker. Is it out of order, or not?

MR SPEAKER: As I do not think the supplementary question is relevant to the question, I will rule it out of order.

Bushfires-coronial inquest

MR STEFANIAK: My question is directed to the Attorney-General. The Canberra Times report of 10 August 2004 on further delays to the coronial inquest into the 2003 bushfires states:

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