Page 3288 - Week 10 - Thursday, 25 August 2005

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error due to inexperience, you need to get your facts straight otherwise you end up looking pretty silly. I think that is exactly what happened here.

The Macquarie Dictionary defines “prison” as “a building for the confinement or safe custody of criminals and others committed by law” or “a place of confinement or involuntary restraint”. What part of that definition does not apply to a youth detention facility? Roget’s Thesaurus lists “detention centre” as an alternative to the word “prison”. “Inmate” is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “an occupant of a hospital, prison, institution” and by the Macquarie Dictionary as “one of those confined in a hospital, prison, etc”.

Once again, which part of those definitions does not apply to residents of Quamby? I am not sure whether it was experience or inexperience which caused me to be right in this case, but I was certainly right on both counts. Ms Gallagher had a staged dixer and an army of staffers and public servants to prepare the answer for her, but there was not a dictionary or accurate statement in sight. I always find it interesting when we have government ministers coming here armed to the teeth with briefs and they cannot get simple things like the meanings of words correct.

Ms Gallagher’s comments about experience got me thinking about the minister’s experience. Some people say that Ms Gallagher is inexperienced, but I disagree. I think she has had all sorts of interesting experiences. For instance, with Vardon, there was a statutory reporting requirement in relation to abused children. This was ignored by the government. The Community Advocate highlighted this requirement and it was again ignored. Who cops the blame? A public servant! Watch out, public servants!

There were the breaches of the Education Act by Ms Gallagher and her failure to understand what was meant by the term “ask for and consider the advice of”. Ms Gallagher also managed to set up a working group in record time one day after being asked a question in estimates, but nine months after it was recommended.

There are the breaches of sections 19 and 20 of the Human Rights Act that go on as we speak at Quamby under the watch of this minister. I am happy to give a bit of free advice to Ms Gallagher. If you are going to tell people they are wrong, for whatever reason, I think you had better get it right. In launching those kinds of attacks, I think you may also face closer scrutiny of your performance as minister.

Mobile phones

MR SPEAKER: Order! There is a mobile phone somewhere; I have no idea where it is. Will somebody throw it into a bucket of water? I think we will have to get into the practice of not bringing those things in here because members forget to turn them off. It is highly disorderly to have proceedings interrupted by electronic devices. I wish Mr Pratt were here so I could give him a bit of stick.

Minister for Health

MR SMYTH (Brindabella—Leader of the Opposition) (5.40): During yesterday’s adjournment debate we all got a bit of a treat: we had a rare sighting of that exotic

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