Page 2589 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 2 July 2008

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investigations of physical assault, sexual abuse, exploitation and neglect of children and young people. From all my dealings with previous cases, this MOU works very effectively. There are very close working relationships between the police and care and protection workers when matters relate to the safety and wellbeing of children in the community.

With respect to the issues that this has raised for me that I am most concerned about, I responded to this straightaway last week when I became aware that the issues had emerged, and particularly around the amount of public information. I asked that the department meet with the police and work through how these issues arose. As I said, they are around public information and how that information got into the public and thereby to the media and across the nation. They are the issues I was most concerned about. It is not usual for that to have occurred, and I think primarily it is because the SACAT team were not the team that were initially involved. That was due to the nature of the issues they were investigating in relation to an individual. Those matters are currently before the court.

As soon as these issues came to my attention, I spoke with the Chief Executive of DHCS. I questioned why information was in the public arena. I asked that they follow it up and that they meet with the police. All of those meetings have happened. I will await the outcome of the advice about exactly how this happened.

Mr Smyth: It’s in your brief.

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Smyth!

MS GALLAGHER: Mr Smyth, you mumble and I can’t hear you.

Mr Smyth: Read your letter.


MS GALLAGHER: I don’t have a letter, Mr Smyth.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Direct your attention to the question; ignore Mr Smyth.

MS GALLAGHER: I am talking off the top of my head. So that is the answer, Mrs Dunne. I have followed up all the issues that I see arising from that case from where I sit. It is unusual and it is unfortunate that these matters have occurred.

MR SPEAKER: Is there a supplementary question?

MRS DUNNE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, will you now answer the questions I placed on notice or do you still consider them to be irrelevant?

MS GALLAGHER: I never considered them to be irrelevant. I had no idea that you were requested to withdraw them. I am surprised, even if there was a request, that you did withdraw them. It seems very unlike your character to do that. But obviously you have, and you must have had a reason why. I am more than happy to answer them.

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