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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 4 Hansard (16 March) . . Page.. 1121..


MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

here, especially when there is any volume of empirical evidence on the subject. Just talk to anyone in the justice system who has been around for a while and they will tell you that one size does not fit all. Mr Hargreaves, let me assure you that I have personally known a number of people who have told me that jail actually was the thing that stopped them, because they did not want to go back there. I agree with you in terms of ensuring that a prison system has to be humane and they should be treated as human beings. That was what we certainly intended when we were in government-and it seems to be exactly what you people intend when you are in government-with the prison. It is right and proper to ensure proper rehabilitation and effective rehabilitation.

The opposition is certainly supportive of this motion and we do look forward, with interest, to see just what comes out of it. We urge the government to ensure that they do take proper steps.

Motion agreed to.

At 6pm, in accordance with standing order 24, the motion for the adjournment of the Assembly was put.

Adjournment

Refugees

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (6.01): Today I would like to talk about something I feel strongly about: refugee status in Australia. During my years as an officer with the Australian Protective Service, I worked for a time at the Port Headland Detention Centre. Working conditions in these places is indescribable, but it gives you an opportunity to meet the refugees who have been detained.

Australia is really a wonderful country. With its diverse culture and its unique landscape, this really is the lucky country. This is why refugees seek asylum in our territory. For the most part, these refugees are just like you and I, but they have generally fled their countries under extreme circumstances to come to our shores and embark on a better life. Some of the refugees make the journey alone and some come as a family.

My interest in the status of refugees in this country has given me the chance to see some wonderful people working hard to bring knowledge of refugees and their status to our attention. One such person is Canberra Citizen of the Year for the 2004, Geoff McPherson, whose work as the President of the Canberra Refugee Support Group is the reason for his acknowledgement.

Another such person is a fantastic director by the name of Ros Horin. Ros was the former artistic director of the Griffin Theatre Company for 12 years. She is the founder of Playworks, the Women Writers Workshop, and its inaugural artistic director for five years. She has also been a lecturer in acting at both the VCA and NIDA.

Whilst working as a director in Sydney, Ros began to visit Villawood Detention Centre, a centre I have visited, too. She met numerous detainees and ordinary people just like herself wanting to help these people. After several visits, Ros began to write down what she saw and this was the beginning of her new play Through the Wire. Through the Wire is the story of four refugees and three ordinary Australians who visit them at


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