Page 834 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 9 April 2014

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It has been very pleasing that citizens are more directly and comprehensively protected in the ACT than citizens in any other jurisdiction through the ACT’s strong human rights framework and the ACT Discrimination Act 1991, which already clearly covers racial vilification as detailed by Mr Corbell earlier.

Notwithstanding this, I support Dr Bourke’s motion in calling on the ACT government to continue to review the act to ensure that we have appropriate protections in place in the ACT post any proposed federal government changes. In addition, I urge that the government provide a submission to the current review of the commonwealth’s Racial Discrimination Act so that it might continue to protect individuals from racial abuse in Canberra and in Australia. I am pleased that it appears all members of this place will support Dr Bourke’s motion today.

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.27 to 2.30 pm.

Ministerial arrangements

MR BARR (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Sport and Recreation, Minister for Tourism and Events and Minister for Community Services): Madam Speaker, both the Chief Minister and Minister Burch are absent from question time today. I will endeavour to assist members with their respective portfolios.

Questions without notice

Health—hospital staff protection

MR HANSON: My question is to the Acting Minster for Health. However, in her absence, it may go to the Minister for Corrections. Minister, a Health Services Commissioner’s report tabled in the Assembly yesterday described an incident where a prisoner who “was serving a sentence for a significant offence engaged in a serious episode of self-harm. The attempt at self-harm was deliberate, rapid, sustained and had a very high potential to be lethal”. The prisoner was taken to hospital by ambulance officers, assessed at the Canberra Hospital’s emergency department and then the mental health assessment unit, and ultimately handcuffed to a bed for five days. Minister, what other options were considered and are available to Health and prison staff to handle such cases?

MR BARR: The Leader of the Opposition does indeed highlight an issue that is a difficult area of service provision. I can advise the Assembly that, in relation to the report that was released yesterday, the government recognises that it makes a number of worthwhile recommendations for improvement. ACT Health certainly are supportive of seven of the recommendations and have provided in-principle support particularly for recommendation 6, which recommends changing the mental health act and the Corrections Management Act to allow transfer of custody from Corrective Services to ACT Health when a detainee is transferred to a mental health facility. This

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