Page 3163 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 24 August 2005

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Supplementary answers to questions without notice

Canberra Hospital—psychiatric unit

MR CORBELL: In question time today Mr Smyth, in a question directed to me, made an allegation of self-harm by a client of the psychiatric services unit. I advise members and Mr Smyth that no report has been made of a client at the psychiatric services unit obtaining a knife, and inflicting self-harm or stabbing themself. No report has been made to the General Manager of ACT Mental Heath, nor has it been brought to the attention of management of the psychiatric services unit. The Australian Federal Police did bring a client to the psychiatric services unit yesterday. That client was found to have a knife and this knife was immediately confiscated. However, no self-harm incident has been reported, and I am advised it did not occur.

Fair trade products

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (3.40): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) recognising the imbalance in bargaining power between the small-scale growers of tea and coffee and the much larger international businesses that purchase, distribute and market the bulk of that product in the developed world;

(2) acknowledging:

(a) the capacity of organisations and businesses to accept the responsibility for the social and environmental impact of their purchasing decisions; and

(b) the significance of such actions both practically and symbolically;

(3) adopts a policy of the preferential purchase of tea and coffee from accredited “fair trade” suppliers in every possible situation;

(4) indicate its preference for fair trade products whenever they are served to visitors and the public; and

(5) calls on the ACT Government to pursue a similar policy through its agencies and its activities.

This may seem like a small thing to do to make us feel good, and I hope it does make us feel good. We hear so much about free trade in the media and elsewhere. Australia is a signatory to World Trade Organisation agreements. We have just signed a free trade agreement with the United States. We are negotiating an agreement with China and we are trying to get into ASEAN. So free trade is the go; but free trade is not fair trade. What happens with free trade is that it tips the balance towards those countries and businesses that are already doing quite well. I could speak at great length about this issue but I am referring here to fair trade, particularly agricultural trade, and just want to indicate how free trade policies are affecting the world’s farmers.

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