Page 2651 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 28 June 2011

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The minister was speaking in relation to the claims made about the Canberra Labor Club. She is attempting to answer the question, and those opposite have simply refused to let her answer the question.

MR SPEAKER: There is no point of order at this stage. We will hear the minister and give her a chance to come to the point.

MS BURCH: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I was saying that in the dialogue over the last couple of days those opposite have sought to make a link between this government and the Canberra Labor Club. We have had that discussion here many, many a time, but I also remind those opposite of the contribution and support that the Canberra Labor Club, from all of the incomes it receives, across all its businesses, continues to provide to many community organisations, including free rent to Volunteers ACT.

Mr Hanson: Mr Speaker, on a further point of order, the question was not about payments or grants that were provided to the Canberra Labor Club. That was not the point of the question. The point of the question was money received by political parties from the proceeds of gambling. They are entirely different questions. Ms Burch is trying to answer a question that I did not ask. She is trying to pretend that I have asked a question regarding money paid in grants to the Canberra Labor Club. That is not what I asked. I have asked, and I ask it again: is it morally appropriate for political parties to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars from the proceeds of gambling?

MS BURCH: I have been reminded by my colleagues that the Liberal Party has also sourced money possibly from gambling, but I think the issue here is that those opposite have secured $10,000 out of the pockets of other well-deserving community organisations. That is a disgrace.

Alexander Maconochie Centre—needle and syringe program

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, 86 per cent of corrections staff signed a petition against a needle and syringe program at the Alexander Maconochie Centre that was tabled in the Assembly last week. Minister, why are you pursuing a needle and syringe program when corrections staff are so strongly against it?

MS GALLAGHER: Sometimes issues come before government where you have to weigh up all sides of the debate before you make a final decision. Yes, we have heard what corrections staff have had to say. That does not necessarily mean that you just say, “Oh well, that is it then. Corrections staff said this.” They do not actually deal with the very significant public health issue that is alive and well in the Alexander Maconochie Centre. Prisoners with very high rates of hepatitis C—

Mr Seselja: Isn’t smoking the biggest health issue?

MS GALLAGHER: Smoking is. Thank you, Mr Seselja, for interjecting. Smoking is, alongside hepatitis C, the most difficult health issue that we have to manage in how we provide health services to that community. So we are looking at tobacco control programs in the AMC as well. But just because one side of the debate says that they

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