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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 2 Hansard (4 March) . . Page.. 419..


MR CORBELL (continuing):

continued community engagement as we move forward with the review of the Liquor Act.

Alexander Maconochie Centre—televisions

MR PRATT: My question is to the Attorney-General. Minister, the new Alexander Maconochie prison cells will have flat-screen LCD televisions. Minister, why will ACT taxpayers be paying for flat-screen LCD TVs for people who have broken the law and been sentenced to detention?

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, the presence of televisions in prisons is not a new phenomenon and anyone who suggests otherwise simply does not know what they are talking about. LCD technology is now a very cheap technology to use. This is not a luxury technology anymore. It is not a great big plasma screen, you know, two metres by one metre or whatever other image those opposite would like to portray. It is a small monitor which is able to be installed within the wall of the cell itself. That means—

Mr Seselja: We do not even have them here in the Assembly.

MR CORBELL: You asked the question. You are getting the answer. That means the television cannot be broken, removed or otherwise damaged. It is installed into the wall of the cell. It is able to be switched on and off from a central control point by prison staff and it can be used, and will be used predominantly, for the communication of messages to prison inmates. That is the use of that flat-screen display.

It will also have the capacity to broadcast television programs. Shock, horror! We are going to let prisoners watch television. I do not know whether this is part of an attempt by the Liberal Party to suggest that this is a luxury provision, but I can assure you, Mr Speaker, that even in the maximum security wing of Goulburn jail inmates have access to television and they watch television.

LCD technology is not a luxury technology. What would Mr Pratt do? Would it be only black and white? How absurd is this debate going to get? These people are incarcerated in a facility where they have no choice as to their clothing, limited choice as to their food and an absolute prohibition on their movement. That is why they are in jail. I find it, quite frankly, disgusting and pathetic that those opposite would seek to refuse to fellow human beings the basic access to information which you can gain through a television. How absurd to suggest that everyone in the prison should be denied access to a television. That is essentially the proposition that those opposite are putting forward.

LCD technology is not extravagant. It is not a luxury item. It is a basic form of technology and the one best suited to the prison environment because it allows it to be installed into the cell. Those opposite really should reflect on the pathetic and dismal approach that they take on this fundamental issue of humanely treating people who are in a correctional facility.


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