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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 6 Hansard (22 June) . . Page.. 1653 ..

It is difficult to see how a person who is the subject of a Tribunal proceeding would be disadvantaged, given that the Tribunal cannot give a direction for the use of audio or audio visual links to be used if it considers that to do so would be unfair to any party opposing the making of the direction.

(3) Proceedings of the Tribunal are held at the Magistrates Court building and at

The Canberra Hospital. The location of a proceeding is dependent upon

whether the person who is the subject of the proceeding is able to attend at the

Court building. Where a person is the subject of an emergency detention order

and, consequently, detained at The Canberra Hospital, the Tribunal convenes

at the Hospital for the proceeding.

(4) It is not contemplated that many, if any, mentally ill people will apply to

appear before the Tribunal by audio or audio visual link. It is quite possible

that such persons would not feel comfortable appearing in this way and will,

instead, prefer to appear in person. This is a factor the Tribunal will have to

consider if it proposes to make an 'own motion direction' for the appearance

of a person using an audio or audio visual link. Any such motion would be

dependent on the Tribunal being satisfied that the evidence or submission of a

person could more conveniently be given or made from a place other than the

Magistrates Court. If the Tribunal considered that the use of audio or audio

visual links would inhibit a mentally ill person, or would otherwise detract

from his or her ability to participate in a proceeding, this would be an

important consideration in deciding whether the Tribunal could give such a


(5) I have received professional media training. Like many members, I feel there

is value in media training. It is important that the Government is able to

communicate effectively with the community it serves.

(a) The professional media training was paid for out of the office expenses

budget for the Minister for Health and Community Care for 1998-99.

A total of $1,400 has been used for this purpose in the current

financial year.

(b) The Mental Health Tribunal seeks to achieve the most positive

outcomes for persons subject to Tribunal proceedings. The use of

audio or audio visual links would only be used where all parties to the

proceedings were comfortable to proceed by electronic means and the

Tribunal was confident that a fair outcome could be achieved. Where a

person subject to Tribunal proceedings is not comfortable with

appearing via electronic means or the Tribunal does not believe that it

can make a sound decision based on electronic evidence, the Tribunal

would proceed with a face-to-face hearing. At all times, the Tribunal

would be required to consider the best option for the person subject to

the proceedings.

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