Senate debates

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Notices

Withdrawal

11:46 am

Photo of Rachel SiewertRachel Siewert (WA, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

The Greens will not oppose the withdrawal of these notices of motion. The chamber will be aware that last sitting week I withdrew a similar notice of motion on these particular regulations, knowing that these two disallowances were still active and that there were ongoing discussions about the regulations. I thank the minister for engaging very meaningfully in those discussions. While I welcome some of the amendments to the regulations and acknowledge those, we don't believe that they go far enough. So for us this is unfinished business, and we will continue to pursue better regulations.

As we all know, the royal commission identified restraints and, in particular, chemical restraints as one of the top three issues in their interim report. These amendments to the regulations, while a step in the right direction, do not do the job. It's quite clear that they do not go far enough. The sorts of issues that I put to the government and that the sector put to the government about the need for the changes to the regulations include: much better requirements—really clear requirements—for informed consent; behaviour support plans; an administered register—that is, a clear register for traceability and accountability—for the use of chemical restraints; increased education and awareness; and a clear time line for the elimination of chemical restraints. A key part of what we also raised was a change to the wording so that the regulation wasn't seen to be a permissive process for chemical restraints. While there was a change in the heading to say chemical restraints are a last resort, the actual wording didn't change. So I'm pleased that we've made some significant progress, but it's not far enough. We will continue to pursue this with the government.

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