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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 89 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

The Crimes Amendment Bill 2001 (No 2) amends the Crimes Act 1900 by inserting new provisions to address serious hoaxes and related behaviour where this conduct is intended to create public alarm or anxiety. The new offences are created to deal with circumstances in which persons deliberately behave in such a way as to raise suspicions that human life or health is at risk, intending that this behaviour cause public alarm or anxiety. The substantial penalty of a maximum of 10 years imprisonment is provided for the offences.

The new offence provisions are required to ensure that hoaxing behaviour at the more serious end of the scale is able to be adequately responded to by the criminal justice system. Less serious hoaxes where there is no intention to behave in a way that in the circumstances raises a reasonable suspicion that human life or health could be at risk and by doing so cause public alarm or anxiety will still be able to be dealt with under the summary offence provisions dealing with public mischief.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stefaniak) adjourned to the next sitting.

Drugs of Dependence Amendment Bill 2001 (No 2)

Mr Stanhope, by leave, presented the bill and its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for Women) (4.14): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Today I introduce a bill to amend the Drugs of Dependence Amendment Act 1989. These amendments will allow the Chief Health Officer to approve the use of drugs of dependence, such as morphine, to reduce pain in the terminally ill in a more prompt and efficient manner than is currently permitted under the act.

Without reducing the strict controls already in place, the amendments will allow the Chief Health Officer to provide medical practitioners with telephone approvals to prescribe drugs of dependence in circumstances of urgent need. Telephone applications and approvals will allow medical practitioners with urgent patient treatment needs to provide timely treatment and alleviate pain and suffering.

Telephone applications and approvals will also facilitate better paediatric care by allowing paediatricians to prescribe amphetamines for the treatment of attention deficit disorder while both parent and child are present in the surgery. In such paediatric cases the Health Insurance Commission requires the medical practitioner to provide evidence of approval to prescribe the drug of dependence before they approve the funding of such drugs. Thus the proposed amendment would allow the timely administration of paediatric drugs.

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