Coalition Senators’ Minority Report
Coalition Senators accept that there are significant advantages to the concept
of a national registration and accreditation regime for Australia’s health
professions. It is curious, even bizarre, that an Australian trained doctor
should be able to practise in New South Wales and not automatically in
Queensland as well. As such, Coalition Senators support the thrust of the
majority report which endorses but seeks some modifications to this scheme.
scheme’s success, however, will depend very much on its implementation. This
should be undertaken carefully, with full and transparent consultation with the
affected professions, and with a clear eye on the maintenance of Australia’s
world-envied practice standards.
Coalition Senators note that mandatory reporting is now a
regime commonly applied in a number of areas of public policy, e.g. among
health and education workers who detect instances of child abuse.
Coalition Senators are not however convinced that such a regime
is necessary to deal with cases of malpractice or misbehaviour which come to
the attention of other health professionals. Such professionals will tend to
be highly educated and trained individuals, well steeped in the values of their
particular occupational group. It strikes the Committee as highly unlikely
that such professionals would knowingly avoid disclosure to higher authorities
of serious shortcomings among their peers where such disclosure would serve to
address that malpractice or misbehaviour.
Put another way, if health professionals cannot be trusted to
protect the public by appropriate reporting of serious shortcomings by other
professionals, how can they be expected to protect the health and well-being
generally of the public they deal with?
Noting that mandatory reporting provisions only appeared late
in the drafting process around Bill B, some doubts must exist as to whether
this regime has been properly explored and consulted about by the Bill's
Coalition Senators recommend that the provisions in Bill B
dealing with mandatory reporting of professional misconduct be withdrawn, and
that consultation begin immediately with stakeholder representative bodies on a
code of conduct as an alternative device to ensure professional misconduct is
identified and eradicated.
Senator Sue Boyce
Senator for Queensland
for Western Australia
Senator Gary Humphries
Senator for the ACT
Navigation: Previous Page | Contents | Next Page