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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 7 Hansard (20 June) . . Page.. 1996 ..

MR DE DOMENICO (continuing):

and in typical style thought it was a good opportunity to get his name in print again so that someone else might know who he is. He did not bother to check the facts with my office or the sharps people - or anybody else, I dare say. He was not worried about the reputations of the people involved. He did not care about the impact on the community of this sort of scaremongering. He just shot from the hip. That is all he did. Quite frankly, Mr Speaker, it is becoming a tiresome scenario. More concerned with his image and political point-scoring, the parliamentary leader of today - or tomorrow perhaps - of the CFMEU has again not let the truth get in the way of a good story.

I am advised, Mr Whitecross, that the truth is - listen; this is the truth - that, although not technically authorised to collect from leased premises, the sharps collectors continue to use their commonsense and provide services to places like the youth centre.

Mr Berry: They do now, as of today.

MR DE DOMENICO: They have been doing it every day, Mr Berry. I am advised that, in a conversation with, I believe, the manager of the youth centre yesterday, a sharps collector suggested the provision of appropriate disposal containers for the toilet at the centre, as there is clearly a problem with needles being left on the floor for the sharps officers to collect. At this point the manager of the youth centre hung up on the sharps collector. Since that conversation occurred, sharps personnel have been back to the youth centre and collected more syringes, and they will continue to do so whilst there remains a problem, although I understand that there is already a worker at the centre trained in syringe disposal and that the appropriate equipment, including disposal containers, has been made available.

Mr Whitecross, these are the facts of the matter. Your inexperience as leader and as a member of this Assembly is no excuse for this morning's personal attack on public servants doing a good job in difficult circumstances. Mr Whitecross, as a politician I expect these sorts of attacks from the Opposition, although as of this week I understand that Ministers are no longer responsible for the actions of their department. Is that right, Mr Berry? You should know about that. However, Mr Whitecross, under the circumstances, I believe that the only decent thing left for you to do is to publicly apologise to the sharps collectors and learn from the experience.

Finally, Mr Speaker, this is not the first time for this quasi-Leader of the Opposition here, this shiver looking for a spine to crawl up, this bloke over here. Who can ever forget what Mr Whitecross had to say last year? He said:

The responsible Minister, Police and Emergency Services Minister Gary Humphries, has a lot to explain. He should also give his police officers some instruction in basic community relations - either that or lessons in how to transfer telephone calls.

Mr Whitecross was wrong when he attacked the police, Mr Whitecross was wrong when he attacked public servants, and the Labor Party was wrong for electing him as leader.

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