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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (6 June) . . Page.. 2049 ..

MRS DUNNE (continuing):

The cynics might sneer at the serious involvement of the ACT, given that it has such a small indigenous population-of around 3,000. But there are two salient points that should be made here. First, this is a problem that is of appropriate concern to all Australians, especially legislators, whatever their jurisdiction. Second, we are uniquely placed in the ACT to take a lead role in addressing social issues, being still to some extent a polity where new ideas can be road tested.

Let us take a lead role in tackling constructively the blight upon this nation. We have within our political scope here the means to establish mechanisms-admittedly, on a small scale-that can be calibrated and redefined to the point where they might serve as a model for a larger scale enterprise. I, for one, would be very proud and eager to support the initiative, suggested by my colleague Brendan Smyth, of an office of indigenous health.

In this small jurisdiction, we have the opportunity to break down the silos and, as the Chief Minister said, treat Aboriginal health in a holistic way. It is an issue on which we, as an Assembly and a representative cross-section of the community, can and should work together. In the broader context of seeking to improve the lot of Aboriginal people, let us recognise the links between the Aboriginals' burden of illness and their cultural alienation as a significant first step towards lasting and significant change.

This is a time to be bold, a time to be daring and a time to break new ground. It is a matter for regret to me to observe what is a harsh and real fact: doing what we have always done to improve Aboriginal health will only give us the same health outcomes, and the statistics will continue to show the shameful morbidity and mortality rates of Australia's first peoples. Can we make a difference? I believe we can and we must, and on this note I endorse Ms MacDonald's MPI as an acknowledgment of our wider responsibilities.

MR SPEAKER: The discussion is concluded.

Assembly business

Motion (by Mr Wood ) agreed to, with the concurrence of an absolute majority:

That so much of standing orders be suspended as would allow the order of the day, Assembly business, relating to the proposed establishment of a select committee on privileges being called on forthwith.

Privileges-Select Committee


Debate resumed.

MR HUMPHRIES (Leader of the Opposition) (4.41): Mr Speaker, the opposition has serious misgivings about the effect of this motion and puts on record its concern about this motion. Any matter which amounts to an inquiry into privilege is a matter that needs to be taken seriously. The opposition will, of course, cooperate in that inquiry.

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