Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 3 Hansard (23 March) . . Page.. 708 ..
Debate resumed (continuing):
(2) authorises the Clerk to make the unpublished submissions and associated records received by the Standing Committee on Legal Affairs of the Third Assembly on its inquiry into the immunisation of children available to the Standing Committee on Health and Community Care to examine and for that Committee to authorise the publication of those documents the Committee considers appropriate under the standing orders.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Osborne, you will need leave to speak again as you have spoken before.
MR OSBORNE: I seek leave to speak again.
MR OSBORNE: Mr Speaker, I will support this motion. I raised some concerns when it was first raised last year by Ms Tucker. I had concerns because I think the vast majority of this place and the vast majority of the community would acknowledge the benefits of immunisation, but I am not the expert, Mr Speaker. I think people like the AMA, people in the profession, are the experts on immunisation.
Although I have not seen the submissions for a couple of years, I recall that a number were received from people who wished to blame immunisation for many things. About the same time, the Federal Government picked up the issue of immunisation. I recall Michael Wooldridge mounting a big campaign. An inquiry was conducted, I think. That was the reason why we dropped off it in the ACT, Mr Speaker. I think the majority of us here certainly see the benefits of immunisation. The thing that brought it to my attention was the realisation that we had worse immunisation rates than some Third World countries, and I think that is appalling.
I think the attitude of the people who have been pushing Ms Tucker on this has been appalling as well. The thing is, Mr Speaker, that they accuse me of being selfish, but they are being selfish because by not immunising they are putting at risk the welfare and the health of children not their own. I have five young children. The eldest is seven, Mr Speaker. If there was any doubt in my mind that immunisation would cause them any risk or that the negatives outweighed the positives, what type of father would I be if I allowed them to be immunised? I am a supporter of it. We need to get our numbers up. We have far too many diseases in this country which are preventable and which could be wiped out, and it is all because of the people who have been lobbying Ms Tucker that that is the case.
In hindsight, perhaps I should not have stopped it going to the health committee, but it was sort of sprung on me, although Ms Tucker had been talking about it. We did stop the inquiry. I recall having conversations with people from the medical profession who wished to make submissions and I indicated that the Federal Government were the