DR GRAEME REEVES APPOINTMENT
Mr ANDREW CONSTANCE
by leave: I wish to make a personal explanation. Yesterday the Minister for Health sought to impugn my character and that of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in relation to the matters that are unfolding in the community at this time involving Dr Graeme Reeves. The Minister sought to impugn my character by stating that I had not acted quickly in relation to the matter. I state that I did meet with Carolyn Dewaegeneire last year. It was in the middle of her civil proceedings against Dr Graeme Reeves, which she went on to win and was awarded compensation. During that civil process she asked us not to proceed with anything in a political way because she did not want to jeopardise those court proceedings.
On 26 September I delivered a private member's statement in relation to the matter, in which I clearly spelled out the seriousness of the allegations of genital mutilation involving Dr Graeme Reeves. This is an horrific event that is unfolding, and I have sought to represent these women in the best way I can as a local member, particularly given the fact that over the past two weeks I have had woman after woman approach me about the matter. Their stories are horrific and I would not wish for any member of this House to have to deal with a situation similar to that unfolding in the Bega electorate. I view as very serious the Minister's assertion that I misled the House, and yesterday I sought to redress that. However, the situation remains that the Minister needs to respond to my private member's statement on behalf of those women. Forget what I said; just respond to my statement on behalf of those women.