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Wednesday, 15 March 2000
Page: 12831


Senator HOGG (2:16 PM) —My question is directed to Senator Herron, the Minister representing the Minister for Aged Care. Given that Minister Bishop personally intervened at Riverside Nursing Home on 15 February, what evidence is there in the reports of 18 February, 24 February and 2 March that there was any material change in the quality of patient care at Riverside? Does not the report of 2 March demonstrate there was no improvement whatsoever?


Senator HERRON (Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs) —I think the press gallery use the phrase, `Get the egg-beaters to it.' I am surprised that Senator Hogg is running the egg-beaters too to this issue. The minister made a very detailed statement in the House yesterday. I would refer Senator Hogg to that statement as it contains the answer to his question.


Senator HOGG —Madam President, I ask a supplementary question. The minister did not address the question. He might like to do so in answering my supplementary question. Do not the three adverse reports highlight Minister Bishop's abject failure to remedy the appalling inadequacies at Riverside, despite her personal intervention 20 days before the home was finally closed down?


Senator HERRON (Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs) —It should be fairly obvious that the minister's actions in relation to Riverside were impeccable. I am consistent with the requirements of the minister. I know the Labor Party and Senator Evans have got great mileage out of this issue with the assistance of their friends in the Canberra press gallery.

Opposition senators interjecting


Senator HERRON —Dennis Shanahan says that there are 245 of them. Dennis Shanahan says that there are only about five on our side of politics. With their assistance you are going very well in relation to the issue. The questions have all been answered correctly and impeccably by the minister.