MEN­TAL HEALTH POL­ICY SHOULD BE BI­PAR­TI­SAN

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS | OPINION -

I am deeply dis­ap­pointed by Tim Ni­cholls’ hyp­o­crit­i­cal and reck­less ap­proach to men­tal health – an is­sue that should be bi­par­ti­san.

In 2014, the New­man Gov­ern­ment, in which Mr Ni­cholls served as the Trea­surer, ap­pointed a mem­ber to the Men­tal Health Re­view Tri­bunal who was not fully qual­i­fied. The mem­ber was then in­volved in ap­prox­i­mately 2200 de­ci­sions that were legally doubt­ful, plac­ing doc­tors and nurses who re­lied on those de­ci­sions at risk of le­gal ac­tion.

Even worse, in­di­vid­u­als who re­ceived in­vol­un­tary treat­ment may have stopped, plac­ing those in­di­vid­u­als and the com­mu­nity at risk. Yet last week, Tim Ni­cholls’ LNP op­posed leg­is­la­tion that would fix their mis­take and pro­tect the com­mu­nity. In 2014, the LNP also ap­pointed the cur­rent Pres­i­dent of the Men­tal Health Re­view Tri­bunal. Yet Tim Ni­cholls’ LNP now at­tacks that Tri­bunal, la­belling it as se­cre­tive and ac­count­able to no one.

For nearly three years, the LNP in Gov­ern­ment presided over the Men­tal Health Re­view Tri­bunal and, since 2014, the LNP has in­tro­duced two sep­a­rate Bills to en­hance the role of the Tri­bunal in the cur­rent sys­tem.

No men­tal health sys­tem is per­fect, but one of the sys­tem’s goal is to en­sure peo­ple get treat­ment that they need, even if they refuse it.

In this way, the sys­tem helps to pro­tect the com­mu­nity and in­di­vid­u­als. Tim Ni­cholls and the LNP should be ashamed of them­selves for risk­ing the safety of the com­mu­nity for cheap po­lit­i­cal points.

Cameron Dick, (QLD) Minister for Health

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