Page 4247 - Week 11 - Thursday, 17 Sept 2009

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I delivered the presentation on behalf of the ACT Legislative Assembly Standing Committee on Health, Community and Social Services regarding our inquiry into primary healthcare services in the ACT. There were around 100 delegates from interstate as well as local ACT delegates, and I would like to compliment the Australian Council of Stoma Associations for their professionalism and the commitment of delegates at this important national seminar. I also thank them for the invitation.

From there onward I went to the presentation of the Brindabella Blues Football Club, a small club of around 800 junior and senior players. In my capacity as shadow minister for sport I presented a few hundred trophies to local juniors and mixed with members of the community and the hardworking committee members of the Brindabella Blues for around three hours. There were no media present; just hardworking members of the community. Thus, not surprisingly, there was no sign of the minister for sport and spin. I was not going to mention this; this was not a point-scoring exercise. I spend a great deal of time with community groups each weekend, but Minister Barr just cannot help himself with his continuous, insidious, gossipy comments, this time that I was obviously not interested in my education portfolio last Saturday.

This afternoon in question time Mr Barr, once again, used his privileged position as a minister to smear and denigrate his colleagues. The virtuous Minister Barr waxed lyrical about his attendance at a photo opportunity that he organised at the opening of the Isabella early childhood school. Talking about photo opportunities, he even had the gall to print his photo on the colour invitations that were sent out in their hundreds. My colleague Brendan Smyth was at the opening, representing me and the Liberal Party. That is all I can say about this minister who continues to disregard the ministerial code of conduct, with the apparent support of his leader and colleagues.

Last week I was guest of Radio 1RPH and its president, Robert Altimore, and his committee. Radio 1RPH provides news and other information needed by people who are print handicapped; they cannot read printed material. It helps these people to overcome their disadvantage by utilising the skills of volunteer readers and administrative supporters to turn print into sound, thus providing the handicapped with a broad range of detailed information which is available in printed form but not provided by other radio and television stations.

The website of 1RPH provides an interesting insight into the services they provide, from which I quote the following information:

The definition of “print handicapped” covers people who: are blind or visually impaired; paraplegic or quadriplegic; severely affected by arthritis, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis or dyslexia; intellectually handicapped or have never learnt to read; from non-English speaking backgrounds who understand but cannot read the language; have suffered a stroke.

An estimated 10% of people in the Canberra Region (30,000) are print handicapped.

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