Page 4175 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 21 September 2011

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Alexander Maconochie Centre—needle and syringe program

MR HANSON: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, the submission of the Australian Nursing Federation, on the issue of a needle and syringe program, to the Moore report contains the following statement: “I feel by aiding and facilitating the use of illegal drug taking I will be compromising my safety and that of the officers.” Minister, are you taking the safety concerns of nurses seriously with your push for a needle and syringe program at the ACT prison?

MS GALLAGHER: I am taking the issues that have been raised through this process very seriously, whether they come from the nurses, the prison staff, people involved in drug and alcohol counselling and support, the prisoners themselves, people who are involved in public health. Indeed, I am meeting another group of representatives tomorrow.

I should say that, with the submissions that have been provided to government at the conclusion of the consultation period around the Michael Moore report, we have had almost 100 submissions through that consultation process. The last time I saw the submissions, they were roughly two-thirds in favour of a needle and syringe program, one-third against. But I would ask all members in this place to treat this with the seriousness that it deserves, which is not just jumping in on one side but being prepared to consider all of the issues for everybody involved, something that Mr Hanson finds impossible to do.

I was not sure if you did actually change your tweet that you sent out about the ANF. I notice that the ANF asked you actually to correct your tweet.

Mr Hanson: Have you noticed that?

MS GALLAGHER: I saw the email that was sent.

Mr Hanson: Oh, did you?

MS GALLAGHER: Often, Mr Hanson, we get an email where you are cc’d in or you get an email where I am cc’d in.

Mr Hanson: I had a very interesting conversation with Jenny, to be honest.

MS GALLAGHER: I am sure you did, Mr Hanson, but it is so unlike you to leap to putting things that might not be entirely correct out there for everyone to hear.

Members interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Thank you, members. This is not a discussion.

MS GALLAGHER: In relation to this matter, it is ongoing. It is before government. I am taking everyone’s submission. Indeed, I am meeting with everybody who wants to meet with me about this and taking it very seriously.

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