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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (5 June) . . Page.. 1949 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

But obviously it opens up potential vulnerabilities-not that there aren't vulnerabilities in institutions; of course there are. We have seen some horrendous abuse in institutions, but I guess there is a potential for more accountability in institutions because they are a situation where people are together and there are staff et cetera, whereas people in their homes are a lot less visible. That change, in terms of more and more people living on their own, makes this kind of work really important.

It is indeed a very important report, as everyone else has said, and no-one seems to be disagreeing with that. I look forward to seeing the government's response. I understand that it is already doing the work to come up with a response, and after that response we can look forward to seeing annual reports on its progress in annual reports of the various agencies that have responsibility.

An important part of the report's recommendations was about an integrated approach to this issue. I am not quite sure how that will be dealt with, with the reporting requirements that are now in place, when the government has responded. I suppose it could be the responsibility of the Chief Minister's Department to report on how well the agencies are working together, because that is a really important aspect of the recommendations of this report, and in fact quite a number of other reports on social issues where the inter-relationship between sectors is really seen to be important and obviously is. So we will need to see how that is responded to.

In terms of the critical issues which, as I said, have been coming up pretty clearly since that first report in May 2000, they are crisis accommodation and respite care. Obviously that is something that the government could take into account for this budget now, because it is not a new issue.

MS DUNDAS (3.59), in reply: I thank members for their support of this motion. I'm a bit disappointed that the debate seems to have been side-tracked because I believe that elder abuse is a very serious and very concerning issue. We must all-all members of this Assembly, all members of this community-take a responsibility for combating it. Like the rest of the Assembly, I look forward to seeing the government's response to report No 11 of the last Assembly's Standing Committee on Health and Community Care in our spring sittings. Hopefully, we can then move on from there to stamp out the scourge of elder abuse in our community.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Unparliamentary language

MR SPEAKER: Members, during debate Mr Wood drew to my attention a word that was used by Mr Cornwell in relation to the departure of Mr Stanhope from the chamber. Now, I do not want to get into the practice of ruling out of order every word that might rub someone up the wrong way. At the same time, I think the dignity of this place needs to be preserved and that words that might be considered offensive ought not to be used. For many in the community, being described as a dingo, in the ordinary course of events-even though it is a proud animal-raises the connotation that one is a cowardly person and many people would find that to be quite offensive.

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