Page 4585 - Week 14 - Thursday, 24 November 2005

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The research by the Australian National University has found one in three men and two in three women in a sample of 24-to 28-year-olds suffered the disorder after the fires.

Professor Helen Christensen says the symptoms are characterised by an acute anxiety that persists.

It persists; it has not gone away. I am sorry to disappoint the Chief Minister and the government: this issue has not gone away. It has gone away simply because of the fact that people have now said, “Forget it.” They are going down a downward spiral. I spoke to a family yesterday whose marriage is now on the rocks; their children are still suffering; this guy’s income has dropped from $60,000 per annum to $20,000 per annum due to post-traumatic stress.

Mr Speaker, I put it to you that this report glosses over so many of the important issues. It is all well and good that people want to get on with their lives. The Chief Minister forgets this. People want to get on with their lives. Again according to reports, people are waking up in the middle of the night, terribly fearful about the event, having nightmares, not being able to think about it. I continue quoting from the ABC report:

The Phoenix Society’s Richard Arthur says he believes the results are only the tip of the iceberg.

Mr Gentleman: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: Mrs Burke has referred to this report as glossing over the important issues. The report discusses the conference that occurred from 28 to 30 September.

MR SPEAKER: Come to your point of order.

Mr Gentleman: I ask Mrs Burke to be relevant to the discussion we are having today.

MR SPEAKER: There have been some eloquent contributions about issues that the report might have touched on.

MRS BURKE: No, Mr Speaker. I am going through it point by point. I beg to differ.

MR SPEAKER: It would be better if you drew some links back to the report itself.

MRS BURKE: I beg to differ, Mr Speaker. I object to that point of order. I referred to the report. On page 9 of the report, 1.21 states:

Ms Chris Healy, Mrs Jo Matthews and Mr Graham Fuller then presented a case study in community involvement in recovery …

They talked about various keys to success, including positive outlooks, community—

MR SPEAKER: That is fair enough, as long as you draw links back to the report.

MRS BURKE: Mr Speaker, I have been, constantly, throughout my speech.

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