Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 2622 ..
MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Clerk has drawn my attention to my previous ruling. It is not the same; it is similar. There is no point of order. Please continue.
MRS DUNNE: Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. It does go to a point I raised earlier in the day. Going back to statistics, Medicare statistics are not comprehensive because they do not cover abortions performed by salaried doctors in public hospitals on public patients as those are always hospital expenses and never appear in the Medicare funding.
There are a large number of people who have abortions and whose abortions are not recorded as abortions under the Medicare items covering abortions and there are also, by anecdotal evidence, a considerable number of people who have abortions but never claim the Medicare rebate. You can tell that there are roughly 80,000 or 100,000 abortions in Australia and you can extrapolate down, but you do not have figures for the ACT. You cannot collect figures for the ACT on this matter and the figures that you have from the Medicare files are not accurate.
I am asking the Assembly to keep the commendable practice of collecting statistics and providing them to us. These provisions are slightly different from those that were in the previous act that we have repealed. There is a requirement that, on receipt of the report, the minister should post these figures to some place on the internet. There are lots of nice ACT health sites where it would be appropriate to do that. Without providing this set of statistics and keeping this set of statistics up to date, we will never know whether Mr Berry has succeeded in making abortion rare in this town.
MR HARGREAVES (10.35): This side of the house will not be supporting this amendment on a number of grounds. Firstly, as I said just a moment ago-
Mr Stefaniak: I thought it was a conscience vote.
MR HARGREAVES: It is a conscience vote. I am just giving you a chance to count because I believe that everybody in this chamber ought to be given the opportunity to count. Just butt out.
One of the biggest problems I have with the amendment is that proposed new section 55F (1) says that if the person or persons responsible for the management of an approved facility-that is, the people providing a service from a government facility such as the clinic-do not do all these things they will be fined 50 penalty units. This is the first time I have ever heard of public servants who do not do their job being fined 50 penalty units. Other disciplinary processes apply, but I do not know of any which say, "You naughty person, you haven't counted and told somebody the result of that count. Therefore, we are going to fine you 50 penalty units." I think that that is abhorrent, absolutely abhorrent. The bureaucracy ought to be protected from this sort of stuff.
Secondly, we have a process in the ACT whereby we collect statistics on medical procedures-I have already made my views known about whether this is a medical procedure-and send them off to relevant authorities. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare is one that comes to mind instantly. If you want to know the statistics on the number of ingrown toenails which are fixed, you can find out because keeping the statistics is an automatic part of the process, but you will find nowhere in the legislation a requirement for somebody to tell somebody else about the number of ingrown toenails