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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008-2009 Week 1 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 211..


Portfolio responsibilities

Ministerial statements

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services): Mr Speaker, I ask leave of the Assembly to make a ministerial statement concerning my portfolio responsibilities.

Leave not granted.

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for Disability and Housing, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Corrections): Mr Speaker, I seek leave to make a ministerial statement on my portfolio responsibilities.

Leave not granted.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Debate resumed.

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for Disability and Housing, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Corrections) (2.55): Down you go. If you can't take it, don't dish it out.

Mr Speaker, I rise to speak on this motion to talk about human rights. We have, in fact, a number of institutions which have been founded and constructed on the very basis of human rights. This jurisdiction, as has been said before, was the first to enact a Human Rights Act recognising the fundamental essence of humanity and the difference between humans and other species—recognising that it does not matter whether you embrace a particular religion, whether you are a particular colour or whether you are left-handed or red-headed. It does not matter.

We all have inalienable rights: the rights to respect, to dignity and to freedom of expression. Our corrections institutions and the programs that support them and underpin them are all about the preservation and, should I also say, the celebration of human rights.

I know that some of those opposite were around when the Human Rights Act was debated here and opposed it. There are some who opposed the creation of our correctional facility at the AMC. Mr Smyth, for example, opposed it in an election campaign. He wanted to take $100 million worth of capital and apply it to a recurrent problem that he perceived at the hospitals, thereby showing a distinct lack of understanding of the budget.

In that campaign he said, "We will take $100 million from that prison project and apply it to hospital nursing and the lack of beds."That was how he saw it. He was happy, as were his colleagues, to have people wallow in that human cesspit known as Goulburn Jail. That is not an embracing of the dignity of human beings.


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