Senate debates

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


World Mental Health Day

3:43 pm

Photo of Anne McEwenAnne McEwen (SA, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

by leave—At the request of Senator Moore, I move this motion, as amended:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) 10 October 2012 is World Mental Health Day, which aims to raise public awareness about mental health issues both here in Australia and worldwide,

(ii) one in five Australians will experience a mental illness in any given year, and that mental illness accounts for 13 per cent of the total burden of disease in Australia, and

(iii) Australia and Australians have an opportunity and a responsibility to reduce stigma and remove the discrimination faced by people affected by mental illness;

(b) recognises that:

(i) mental illness is experienced across the lifespan, with many illnesses emerging before the age of 25,

(ii) people affected by mental illness can recover to live a happy and rewarding life with adequate and high quality services, and broad community understanding and support,

(iii) there is a need for a holistic and broad range of services and supports for those with mental illness, including community-based services and services delivered by both the Commonwealth and the states and territories,

(iv) policies and services must recognise and respond to the impact of mental illness on families and carers, and

(v) the recent national mental health reforms have focused on early intervention and prevention, improving acute and community services, and providing better supports for families and carers, and have received support from across the Parliament; and

(c) calls on:

(i) the Australian Government and the states and territories to continue these important reforms, including by working collaboratively to roll out programs that will improve health, community, housing, employment and education services for those with mental illness and their families and carers, and

(ii) the Australian community to continue to build a national understanding of the value of good mental health and reduce the stigma attached to mental illness.

Photo of Concetta Fierravanti-WellsConcetta Fierravanti-Wells (NSW, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Ageing) Share this | | Hansard source

by leave—Mr Deputy President, I seek leave to make a one-minute statement.

Photo of Alan FergusonAlan Ferguson (SA, Deputy-President) Share this | | Hansard source

Leave is granted for one minute, Senator Fierravanti-Wells.

Photo of Concetta Fierravanti-WellsConcetta Fierravanti-Wells (NSW, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Ageing) Share this | | Hansard source

Thank you, Mr Deputy President. The coalition supports World Mental Health Day. We tried hard to make this motion a cross-party affirmation of the key principles behind the day, including pointing out that Labor had got the wrong theme, however the motion before us is a cynical, self-promoting exercise by the ALP and their Green alliance partners. Our objection is the paragraph asserting that the so-called mental health reform package has received support from across the parliament. This is simply not the case. There is widespread criticism by mental health experts of the lack of real action by the government and, most especially, of its draft 10-year road map. This is nothing more than a wish list with very little detail and all the hallmarks of the never-never so typical of everything Labor promises.

It is not surprising that this road map has been heavily criticised by mental health experts who have gone on the public record to register their serious concerns. The reality is that one in five Australians need help now, not a 10-year timetable which has aptly been labelled as a road map to nowhere.

Question, as amended, agreed to.