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Notice given 18 August 2003

*4  Chair of the Community Affairs References Committee (Senator Hutchins): To move—That the following matters be referred to the Community Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report by the first sitting day of the 2004 winter session:

(a) the history of post-transfusion Hepatitis in Australia, including when Non-A, Non-B Hepatitis (Hepatitis C) was first identified as a risk to the safety of blood supplies in Australia and internationally;

(b) the understanding of Hepatitis C by blood bankers, virologists, and liver specialists during the past 3 decades, including when Hepatitis C was first identified as a virus transmissible through blood;

(c) when the first cases of post-transfusion Hepatitis C were recorded in Australia;

(d) when the Australian Red Cross and the plasma fractionator Commonwealth Serum Laboratories first become aware of infections from blood contaminated by Hepatitis C, and the actions taken by those organisations in response to those infections;

(e) the process leading to the decision by the Australian Red Cross not to implement testing (such as surrogate testing) for Hepatitis C once it became available;

(f) the likelihood that Hepatitis C infections could have been prevented by the earlier implementation of surrogate testing and donor deferral;

(g) the implications for Australia of the world’s most extensive blood inquiry, Canada’s Royal Commission (the Krever Report);

(h) the implications for Australia of the recent criminal charges against the Canadian Red Cross for not implementing surrogate testing for Hepatitis C in the 1980s;

(i) the Commonwealth’s involvement in the provision of compensation to victims of transfused Hepatitis C, including the use of confidentiality clauses in those compensation payments;

(j) the high infection rate of Hepatitis C for people suffering from haemophilia;

(k) the extent to which Australia has been self-sufficient in blood stocks in the past 3 decades;

(l) the importation of foreign-sourced blood plasma for use in the manufacture of blood products, and its potential role in the proliferation of Hepatitis C infected blood;

(m) the number of Australians who have been infected with Hepatitis C through blood transfusion;

(n) the impact that blood-transfused Hepatitis C has had on its victims and their families; and

(o) what services can be provided or remedies made available to improve outcomes for people adversely affected by transfused Hepatitis C.

Orders of the Day

Employment, Workplace Relations and Education References Committee

Report to be presented on the refusal of the Government to respond to the order of the Senate of 21 August 2002 for the production of documents relating to financial information concerning higher education institutions.

Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts References Committee

Report to be presented on the role of libraries as providers of public information in the online environment.

Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts References Committee

Report to be presented on environmental performance at the Ranger, Jabiluka, Beverley and Honeymoon uranium operations.

Economics Legislation Committee

Report to be presented on the provisions of the Financial Services Reform Amendment Bill 2003. ( Referred upon the introduction of the bill in the House of Representatives pursuant to Selection of Bills Committee report .)

Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Legislation Committee

Report to be presented on the provisions of the Postal Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2003. ( Referred pursuant to Selection of Bills Committee report .)