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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 10 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 4323..

MR WOOD (continuing):

preferred the benevolent dictatorship of the Commonwealth. They gave us five members committed, not to self-government, but to anti-self-government. But, as we recall, they quickly capitulated even Dennis Stevenson.

In the face of that resistance and extreme difficulty, I report good progress to Mr Hargreaves. Self-government is a success, not without a large number of bumps, bruises and broken limbs along the way. Richard Madden was the first Under Treasurer. Wayne Berry, and I think Bill Stefaniak-not in the same cabinets-would remember the downward graph that he presented at budget time. "This is where we are folks," he would say. "This is where we have to get to." The only cabinet decisions in those times were where we would cut.

In the early Follett government, for example, ministers were allowed just one initiative, and that was a luxury. The consideration that ministers now give to the preparation of the budget is a good indication of the progress of self-government. Yes, Ted, we have to watch expenditures, but there is growth. Budget cabinets spend a very long time debating the merits of the many sound initiatives that emerge from budget cabinet.

Canberra today is a prosperous, bustling city, generally strong in all areas, whether it is business activity, culture, education, health or sport-you name it. Self-government, with the work of this Assembly and its members, and with the dedication and competence of the great government services behind it, has been important in sustaining that good condition.

Finally-I am not sure whether as an encouragement or as a warning to members-let me say that nostalgia sets in. I look back to those early days with fond memories.

Mental health

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, it might be worth while to acknowledge that Minister Wood's family is in the gallery to see his last question time and none of us can survive without the support of our families. Well done, Mr Wood and family!

My question is to the Minister for Health. Yesterday, Dr Sev Ozdowski, the Australian Human Rights Commissioner, said in an address to the National Press Club:

In the treatment of mental illness, it is the state government services that are failing in the delivery of proper care. The reports coming from our current consultations are horrifying. In Canberra, we were told about a young man with a history of depression and openly suicidal who jumped from a sixth floor balcony only two days after being refused admission to the psychiatric unit following a second suicide attempt.

Minister, why did the psychiatric unit refuse admission to an openly suicidal man who had just attempted to commit suicide?

MR CORBELL: I am not aware of the details of that case, but I am happy to provide the information to members. I think it is worth making the point that it is the responsibility of state and territory governments to deliver mental health services. So it is not surprising that the Human Rights Commissioner says that states are failing, because we are collectively the deliverer of those services.

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