Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 6 Hansard (22 June) . . Page.. 1627 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

case - in fact, that is very often how their problem is identified - they will end up behind bars. They will be in gaol, whether it is in the remand centre or it is in a prison in New South Wales somewhere.

Before members of this place run out to the community and beat their chests and say, "Aren't we good boys and girls that we have achieved this great backdown by the Government from these proposals? We have stopped them with these draconian provisions that would have people who are mentally dysfunctional put away inside special care facilities when they have not done anything wrong according to the law and they are not mentally ill". Consider this question: What happens to these people now? Where will they go in the future if we are unable to make provision for their particular circumstances?

I hope Ms Tucker or Mr Wood will respond to those issues in the course of this debate. I am mainly concerned about those sorts of people. They are a regrettably large body of individuals within our community. They are people with severe problems and needs which simply are not addressed at the present time by our system. Our attempt to deal with their needs clearly failed. Even though it was the view of an earlier Assembly committee that we should approach this matter in this kind of way, that approach has clearly not won support on the floor of the Assembly. We have to come back and find a different way of dealing with these people's problems. Our approach obviously was not going to work. That is the view of the Assembly. We have seen the writing on the wall and moved away from it.

I would welcome from Ms Tucker or Mr Wood some indication of what they see as a solution for these people, because knocking over the Government's proposal is not a complete answer. It is simply saying, "We do not like option A". We need to know what option B is.

MS TUCKER (12.08): I would be more positive than Mr Wood probably has been on how this process is being managed. While I recognise that the Government's original proposal was significantly changed, I am not interested in judging whether the Government's motivation for the original proposal was good or bad or whatever. It was how it was, and there were no doubt good intentions behind it.

I will respond straightaway to Mr Humphries' reference to the language of victory. He said that we were running out, beating our chests. It is really not like that for me, Mr Humphries, believe it or not. It is about trying to address the various rights and concerns that are expressed in the community.

I believe Mr Wood would have listened to the various concerns that have been expressed. Of course there are legitimate concerns about the particular groups Mr Humphries outlined. I think he said it himself to a degree. He said these people have severe needs that are simply not addressed by our present system. He seems to want me to give a definitive statement on how those needs should be addressed, which I do not think is a realistic request. At the round tables I listened to people with expertise, eminent people in our community, as well as consumers and carers who have grave concerns about this.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .