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I present the following paper:

Australian Health Ministers Meeting - Alice Springs - ministerial statement, 22 August 1995.

I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

MR CONNOLLY (3.41): I might just briefly refer to this matter and get it off the agenda. Ministers sometimes choose to give reports on these meetings, sometimes not. They are usually fairly uncontentious. I really want to refer to only two issues, one being the future of the Clinical School. I think it was somewhat unfortunate that the debate degenerated into a “she said, she said” debate between the Chief Minister and the Federal Health Minister on the fundamental issue of the need for the Canberra Clinical School to be assured of a long-term future. That is one issue that the Opposition was very happy to stand shoulder to shoulder with our Health Minister and Chief Minister on. Indeed, I issued a statement saying “Connolly Supports Carnell”, which is not the sort of statement that one would expect to see too often; but on issues of vital importance the Opposition will show strong bipartisanship, and the Clinical School is indeed a most important feature. Probably the most significant reform achieved by Labor in its period in office was the establishment not only of a clinical school in Canberra but of a clinical school linking Woden Valley Hospital and Calvary, the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the ANU and the University of Sydney Faculty of Medicine, which has a very strong reputation, and has had for a century or more, as being one of the leading facilities in the world, not just in Australia.

I was interested that Mrs Carnell said that the Ministers agreed to share information relevant to euthanasia. I asked for some information in a question on notice and was told, “We do not have it. We do not intend to keep it. Go away”. Last year the ACT passed fairly significant so-called passive euthanasia laws which allow a person to make a living will and allow a machine to be turned off - a very significant proposal which has been passed into law in some States but not in others and is very relevant to this debate. I was interested, and remain interested, in knowing how that legislation is operating and how often people are actually asking for machines to be turned off and, indeed, how often machines are being turned off. As Ministers have agreed to share that information with each other, the Health Minister might share that information with this Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


MR SPEAKER: I wish to advise that I have received a letter from Mr Connolly withdrawing the matter of public importance he submitted for discussion earlier this day.

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