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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 3 Hansard (23 March) . . Page.. 713 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

There are a lot of issues that could come out of this discussion. There are questions that people asked me that I could not answer that I would have thought a committee of this nature would have been interested in, like how well are adverse events recorded. I have done some research on that and there is criticism around that, nationally, in terms of the follow-up that occurs from alleged adverse events after immunisation. There are some process issues here which are really interesting. So there is lots of stuff that could have come out of that investigation, but, as I said, we are not supposedly talking about immunisation here today, although obviously members have gone into that area, so I feel free to do that a little bit.

Basically, I think the fundamental point of this debate is about respecting the Assembly processes, respecting the work that the community did when they put in submissions to that committee, and acknowledging that an error was made. We will, through referring these submissions to Mr Wood's committee, at least get authorised those that the committee thinks are okay. As Mr Stanhope said, a submission normally is only not okay if it is seriously defamatory or of grave concern in some other way. Hopefully, most of them would not be of that nature, and then we can have that discussion. The health committee may choose to look at the issues or they may not, but that is really not the point; the point of this motion is about rectifying what was really quite poor process in the last Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


MR SPEAKER: Mr Osborne, do you wish to make a statement under standing order 47?

MR OSBORNE: Yes, I do, Mr Speaker. Ms Tucker indicated or assumed that it was my personal decision, when the information came in, that we should suppress it and not go ahead with the inquiry. As I indicated earlier and when we spoke a couple of weeks ago, Mr Speaker, what happened was that about the same time that this Assembly took on the issue of immunisation the Federal Government picked it up and ran with it. I recall Mr Wood saying to me that this was going to be another fluoride inquiry and that we would not be able to do it justice. It became quite clear that the time was not there. The Federal Government had picked up and run with the issue, and that was where it ended. There certainly was no decision on my part because of any personal opinion one way or the other, Mr Speaker. Quite clearly, it was a committee decision. As I said earlier, the Federal Government picked up the issue. Michael Wooldridge ran with it. We heard the good news from Mr Moore that our rate has jumped and is leading the country. I think the motivation of these people is quite clear, Mr Speaker. I saw on the TV last night that it is the anti-immunisation lobby that is pushing and lobbying Ms Tucker. I do not need to say any more, I would not think.

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