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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 18 October 2011) . . Page.. 4475 ..


Tuesday, 18 October 2011

MR SPEAKER (Mr Rattenbury) took the chair at 10 am, made a formal recognition that the Assembly was meeting on the lands of the traditional custodians, and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Dr Peter Sharp AM

Motion of condolence

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Minister for Health and Minister for Industrial Relations): I move:

That this Assembly expresses its deep regret at the death of Dr Peter Sharp AM, a tireless worker who improved the health and well-being of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders in the ACT and surrounding communities, and tenders its profound sympathy to his family, friends and colleagues in their bereavement.

Today I rise to offer the government’s condolences and my own to the family, friends and colleagues of Dr Peter Sharp and pay tribute to an exceptional and well-loved Canberran.

Our sympathies today are with Dr Pete’s partner, Ms Carolyn Patterson, and with his parents Don and Prue, and extended family. While most of us—including me, in my capacity as health minister—knew and admired Dr Pete first and foremost as a medical practitioner and a great advocate for Indigenous health, Ms Patterson and Dr Pete’s family knew the man beyond the doctor.

Not that there were too many hours left in the day beyond those that Dr Pete devoted to his patients or to his broader mission of improving the health of the community. For more than 20 years this dedication was based in and around Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service, in Civic, in Ainslie and in Narrabundah, where Dr Pete was medical director.

As health minister, I have had the privilege of watching Winnunga mature into a world-class health service, one that is proudly supported by all levels of government—but most importantly, one that is supported by the community it serves.

Dr Pete’s association with Winnunga began in the 1980s, when he would travel from Sydney to Canberra every weekend to run a Saturday morning clinic for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. After Winnunga secured its first proper home, at the old Griffin Centre in Civic, Dr Pete would spend an afternoon a week making home visits to patients. It was a culture of outreach that remained important throughout his career: if patients could not come to Dr Pete, he went to where the patients were. Sometimes that meant visiting his patients in prison.

Dr Pete pioneered programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inmates at Goulburn and Cooma jails, and more recently at the Alexander Maconochie Centre. He established a similar dedicated service for young Indigenous residents of Bimberi as well. He was also very actively involved in the design and delivery of programs to


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