Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 17 August 2010) . . Page.. 3448 ..
With respect to the provision of services for the mentally ill, Dr Hennessy was a man well ahead of his time. In the early 1960s, he was a senior psychiatrist at Fraser House, which was the first therapeutic community in Australia, then located at what was known as the North Ryde Psychiatric Centre. Dr Hennessy was very focused at the time on the treatment of patients using the least restrictive care and encouraging the development of independence and fulfilment of the potential in all of his patients. He was, in fact, an early proponent of the recovery model of care that Mental Health ACT follows today.
In 1974, Dr Hennessy moved to the then commonwealth Department of Health as one of the major advisers on mental health issues. He, along with Dr Sidney Sax, was a prime mover on not only mental health services but also community health services in general. His emphasis was always on community treatment and treatment of the family and his chief concerns were for the principles of prevention, a positive approach to recovery and the need for full participation by the community and by many different professions.
He was an early proponent of the multidisciplinary team. He saw the promotion of good mental health as an essential component of any efforts to improve the quality of life of all members of our society. He became the director of the commonwealth Department of Social Security and, while in this position, he suffered an illness that quickly incapacitated him.
Dr Hennessy was an active participant in the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists where he was held in high esteem by every one of his colleagues. The ACT branch of the college has expressed their deepest sadness and sympathy at his passing and his long period of disability.
I am sure all in the mental health community will remember his massive contribution to mental health in Australia and will celebrate the life of a man so dedicated to the care of others. It is a tribute to the pioneering work of Dr Hennessy that our mental health rehabilitation centre bears his name. The entire ACT community has much to thank Dr Hennessy for in laying the foundations for a mental health service that is at the forefront of care in the least restrictive manner and has a strong emphasis on recovery and not simply removal of symptoms.
I understand that Dr Hennessy’s funeral will be held on Friday, 20 August and, in lieu of flowers, Dr Hennessy’s family have generously requested that donations be provided to the Brian Hennessy Rehabilitation Centre. I thank them for their generosity at this very sad time and extend my condolences to Dr Hennessy’s family on behalf of the ACT government.
The second matter I would like to talk about briefly is the retirement of Sandra Lambert, a senior public servant in the ACT for many years. I do not think one minute and 50 seconds will really give me enough time to go through her extensive list of achievements, but I think it is important that the Assembly notes her retirement and her very long and strong record in delivering services through the ACT public service.