Page 2220 - Week 07 - Thursday, 23 June 2005

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to use unparliamentary words that are required to be withdrawn. I remind members that it is not in order to take frivolous points of order, nor to make any imputations of improper motives against members in questions or answers. I intend to police those issues closely, given the rebroadcast arrangements that I have agreed to. I commend the amendment to the Assembly.

Motion agreed to.

Executive business—precedence

Ordered that executive business be called on.

Health Legislation Amendment Bill 2005

Debate resumed from 7 April 2005, on motion by Mr Corbell:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella—Leader of the Opposition) (11.04): Mr Speaker, the opposition will be supporting this tidy-up bill that makes a number of amendments to a range of different health acts. There is a flow-on effect from other bills that this Assembly has passed recently. The list is detailed quite nicely in the minister’s presentation speech. I think to the amusement of many of the people of Canberra, point (e) allows veterinary surgeons to be included under the Health Professionals Act but, of course, that is to ensure standards, and this is the appropriate place for it to be.

Two subsections are to be removed to facilitate better access to profession specific schedules, which, of course, is important. The legislation repeals the Medical Services (Fees) Act, which, of course, has largely been overtaken by amendments to the Health Insurance Act through commonwealth legislation. Most importantly, it extends the commencement date of the act from 8 July 2005 to 8 July 2006.

I think it is worth making the point that clearly the minister has had to put forward this raft of amendments today because of sloppy drafting in the original bill. I note that the minister has just dropped about 14 pages of further amendments, which means the original amendments have had to be amended in a large way. Again, I think this shows the sloppiness of and the unfortunate way in which the original bill was drafted. It was delayed a year; then it was amended; and then there are amendments to the amendments. So I think we will have to be careful as we go through the amendments to make sure that we get it right.

The bill substantively puts in place a series of amendments to the Health Professionals Act 2004 and the Health Professionals Regulation 2004. Some of these amendments are very good. For instance, in particular the first amendment, which relates to midwifery, proposes that we should separate midwifery from the nursing profession. Midwifery certainly does a very different job. This has already happened largely overseas and it has already happened in many local jurisdictions. As the minister pointed out to the Assembly in his tabling speech, it does have wide spread support throughout the nursing community and, indeed, from the current chair of the nurses board who is well able and

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