Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

McLucas’ irresponsibly scares parents of disabled children

Page Content 1: 5:40pm Wednesday, 16 February 2005
Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee,
Public Hearings: 2004-2005 Additional Estimates, Committee Room 2S1Senator Patterson:
I would just like to make a short statement.

I have just received from my office a copy of a press release that Senator McLucas has put out in response to answers to questions.

I have to say that in 18 years I have been in this Parliament I have not seen a press release that has concerned me as much as this one. The headline is Government Threatens Funding for Disabled Kids. That is appalling. That is not what could be taken out of that discussion of answers to questions that the department gave.

Yes we are reviewing the program, but reviewing it to improve it and if parents of disabled children who are getting in home care have any anxiety it will be raised by this press release which I think is the [most] disappointing press release I have seen since I have been here.

I answered the question to Senator McLucas saying if the one individual that she referred to, and she said she had others, that I would actually have the Department speak to those families and the carer to assure them that the review is about improving services and I find this press release a total misrepresentation of what was said in that meeting.

I have an absolute commitment to parents with children with disabilities and that there would be no diminution of the service they are receiving now that we are reviewing it to improve it and to run a press release like this exposing a wilful misinterpretation of I think is totally unacceptable

I want to put on the record that the press release is not a true reflection of this estimates hearing.