Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (27 October) . . Page.. 2315 ..
MR STEFANIAK (continuing):
It is somewhat incomprehensible that such a distortion should go to air. It is a very serious issue. The association of weapons of violence with the incident damages the reputation of all concerned. While violent behaviour is never to be condoned, neither is it right to overdramatise the nature and intensity of any incident. I think that is very serious. The principal and staff at Lyneham High School managed a volatile situation very effectively. They must be commended for their professional approach, as should the police. Their primary concern throughout, under difficult conditions and violent personal attack, was to protect students from aggressive, violent and abusive behaviour.
I would also point out that reports that there were some 200 students involved in the incident were incorrect. The event simply happened while students were leaving the school. Indeed, they were witnesses to the fracas, and in no sense participants. I would certainly endorse the calls by my colleague the Minister for Justice and Minister responsible for police and indeed the calls from members on the other side of the house for Channel 10 to correct this error and to correct it properly this evening.
I have further been advised that Channel 10 apparently became aware that they had used the wrong footage during their news coverage last night. In retrospect, I think they should have done something last night as well. But certainly, because of the disquiet this has caused in the community, there is a very real need for them to make the appropriate corrections tonight and then, hopefully, we can put this unfortunate incident behind us.
It just goes to show, I think, that the press need to be very careful with the facts, as we all do, because, if what is purported to be the fact is incorrect, that can lead to a lot of distress. A lot of needless distress and a lot of concern were caused here, and a lot of false impressions were given about a very good high school in the ACT.
Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I table the press release that the police Minister and I prepared, which Mr Berry referred to.
MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (5.28): Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I would like to respond to a number of issues that were raised in the adjournment debate tonight. Three of the issues raised tonight had to do with health matters. The first one, raised by Mr Wood, was about Carers Week. Indeed, Mr Wood was at the opening of Carers Week. His support for carers is already well known. I must say that I think it is an area into which we are going to have to put more and more effort.
You, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, raised the issue of breast cancer. It seems to me that it is yet another area in which we have to ensure that our research is appropriate and that we continue to work as hard as possible in this very difficult area.