Page 1696 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 13 May 2015

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MR SMYTH: Minister, what is the impact of a doctors’ strike on morale and peace of mind of nurses, other staff and patients?

MR CORBELL: I am aware that other doctors are keen to see the EBA resolved. The major unions and staff associations that represent salaried doctors at the Canberra Hospital and at Calvary do not support this protected action and they want to see the EBA finalised so that doctors can receive their back pay and receive the increases they will be awarded under the negotiated EBA. The overwhelming majority of doctors, their staff association and their union support resolution of this matter. They support the EBA as it currently stands. They have not supported the striking doctors’ action in the Fair Work Commission.

Let us be very clear: the AMA and ASMOF—the Australian Salaried Medical Officers Federation—have not supported the applications made by this small group of striking doctors, and that indicates that most medical staff at the Canberra Hospital are keen for this matter to be resolved. Whilst I recognise the right of this small group of doctors to take this action, we will be working very hard to see it resolved as promptly as possible so that all the other doctors at the Canberra Hospital can get the back pay and the increases in wages that they have successfully bargained for.

Alexander Maconochie Centre—detainees

MR WALL: My question is to the Minister for Justice, regarding the Alexander Maconochie Centre. I refer to the pictures published recently of an unsentenced inmate posing with a sentenced prisoner. Minister, how common is it for unsentenced inmates and sentenced prisoners at the AMC to be kept in the same area?

MR RATTENBURY: It is not possible to put a specific number on Mr Wall’s question, but I can indicate that at the AMC there are times when sentenced and unsentenced prisoners are housed together. The basis for this is that, in the centre, the focus is on the individual’s safety. It is about finding the most appropriate place and the most appropriate associations for individuals that come into the AMC.

This being a small town, many of the detainees do have associations from their time outside the AMC. So the most important thing is to ensure that the detainees are housed in a place that is safe, that seeks to minimise the risk of somebody associating with people that represent a danger to them.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Wall.

MR WALL: Minister, have there been incidents in Canberra’s jail where the mixing of sentenced and unsentenced inmates has resulted in bashings or other types of bullying of prisoners?

MR RATTENBURY: As members would be aware, there was recently an incident where a detainee was assaulted shortly after arriving at the centre. That has been well covered in the Canberra Times. As to whether there have been further incidents, I would need to seek advice on that.

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