(Question No. 2908) Senator Siewert asked the Minister representing the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, upon notice, on 24 June 2010:
(1) What criteria are used in the current government valuations of mandatory leases in the Northern Territory. (2) What opportunity is there for communities to seek independent valuations. (3) Who are these rents being paid to in the communities: the traditional owners or the entire community.
Senator SIEWERT (Western Australia) (3.26 pm)—I move: That the Senate take note of the answer given by the Minister representing the Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Senator Ludwig, to a question without notice asked by Senator Siewert today, relating to Indigenous suicide.
Senator SIEWERT (2.32 pm)—My question today is to the Minister representing the Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Minister Ludwig. Bearing in mind the increasing rate of suicide amongst Aboriginal Australians in Northern Australia, I ask a question on that issue. There have been six Indigenous people younger than 18 in the Northern Territory who have taken their own lives in the last month, and there have been at least two in northern Western Australia, along with a number of attempted suicides. I ask: is the government aware of this situation?
Senator SIEWERT (Western Australia) (9.08pm)—I rise to take part in a debate that should have happened 10 years ago—or nine years ago as we are in our 10th year of this conflict. It is good to see that the parliament is finally debating the merits of our military involvement in Afghanistan. While I welcome this opportunity and I am glad it has finally come, this highlights a problem in Australia in that, as I said, we are now in our 10th year of conflict and this is the first year time the parliament has discussed it in terms of debating it.
Senator SIEWERT (Western Australia) (5.56 pm)—This is just another example of the farce in this chamber this afternoon. We got a phone call asking if we would consider bringing the Healthcare Identifiers Bill 2010 and the Healthcare Identifiers (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2010 on and, in trying to facilitate the debate, I said: ‘Yes, I have amendments. I am happy to decide them on the voices and I won’t call a division.
COMMITTEES Community Affairs References Committee Report Senator SIEWERT (Western Australia)(4.36 pm)—I present the report of the Community Affairs References Committee, The hidden toll: suicide in Australia, together with the Hansard record of proceedings and documents presented to the committee.