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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 3489 ..

MR OSBORNE (4.03): Mr Speaker, I was chair of the Standing Committee on Legal Affairs. As Mr Wood said, we did not finish the inquiry because it was quite a complex issue. I do not know why we need to go down the path of authorising publication of submissions that were made to the Legal Affairs Committee for an inquiry that did not reach fruition. If Ms Tucker wants to reopen the inquiry and to have the submissions resubmitted, I think that would probably be more sensible than going down this path. She has indicated that she has been lobbied by the people who made the submissions. From memory, only a couple of submissions came in.

Ms Tucker: I think there were 28.

MR OSBORNE: I cannot recall the exact number. Some submissions disturbed me, I have to admit, given that the vast majority of the community, the medical profession and certainly politicians around the country agree that immunisation is a very good thing. I felt that some submissions made to our committee could confuse some people. Without a proper inquiry being conducted into some of the allegations made in some of the submissions, I have a problem in supporting this motion. One of the risks that I took in calling for the inquiry was that some people would come out of the woodwork and put fear into the minds of parents who were to immunise their children. Governments across the country are actively trying to encourage parents to immunise. We have worse immunisation rates than some Third World countries.

I would be more than happy to have some sort of inquiry and to have another look at immunisation. I would be happy to talk to the members of my committee about looking at it somewhere down the track. I do not think this motion is the correct way to do it. Given some of the things contained in the submissions, I think they should be scrutinised by a committee before we - - -

Ms Tucker: That is what the motion does. I am sending the submissions to the Standing Committee on Health and Community Care to authorise their publication.

MR OSBORNE: Ms Tucker is all for sending it to the Health Committee. If that committee wants to conduct an inquiry into immunisation, then I would be happy to support that, but I do not think it is a sensible thing to be authorising publication of submissions when only select people jump on the bandwagon and confuse people.

Ms Tucker: The Assembly's censor.

MR OSBORNE: I am just expressing my point. Health Ministers across the country are trying to encourage families to immunise. My fear is that the small element out there that disagree with immunisation will jump on the bandwagon. I will be voting against this motion.

MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (4.07): Mr Speaker, I would like to make a couple of comments on this motion. Mr Humphries will then seek to adjourn the debate so that we can ensure that we have a sensible debate on this issue. The most frustrating thing is that this motion has just been dropped on my table.

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