Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 29 June 2005 2005) . . Page.. 2479 ..
MR SPEAKER: Mr Seselja is right. It is a substantive motion and it is up to the house to decide in due course. It is a point of debate now because it is a substantive motion. Ordinarily, I would be very tough on those issues, as you might have suspected, in my response to the point of order. Regrettably, you do not have a point of order.
MR SESELJA: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Ms Gallagher is saying to us that it is not misleading to go away, after being asked whether at a particular point in time the group had been established, do the work and then come back and say, “Yes, it’s all taken care of.” I put it to the Assembly that that is misleading. It was misleading to me, because we were under the impression that the work had been done at the time the original question had been asked.
Ms Gallagher is free to get up and tell us that it is not misleading and that it was maybe only coincidental that she went away and the next day, after nine months, established this working group that no-one knew about before the question was asked, but I put it to the Assembly that it seems like more than just a coincidence. We have here “next day Katy”. We have seen that she has been embarrassed into action in relation to the working group. We had the walls of shame—
MR SPEAKER: Order! You have to refer to members and ministers in this place by their proper titles.
MR SESELJA: My apologies—“Next day Gallagher” was embarrassed into action. We had the walls of shame article of 12 April 2005 detailing the problems at Quamby. The next day, suddenly, we had the big announcement about lots of money for Quamby. Wonderful! The same thing for the working group. She was asked on 31 May 2005 about the formation of the working group. The next day the members of the working group were notified of their membership and the group was created.
Mr Speaker, it seems from the facts that I have put on the table here that not only have the conduct and the answers been misleading and designed to be misleading, but also in certain areas the minister seems to respond to issues only where they are publicly highlighted, where she is publicly embarrassed into action, and that is unfortunate. It is unfortunate that the recommendations of the committee could not have just been put into place. If they were that important, it could have been done immediately. If they were not important, it is odd that a day after being asked about it the working group was established. I do not think the minister can have it both ways.
Mr Speaker, I would also like to touch briefly on the breaches of the Human Rights Act that were admitted to during the estimates process. What we have in Quamby at the moment of particular concern is the mixing of remandees with inmates who have been convicted of crimes. This breaches subsection (19) (2) of the Human Rights Act. Mr Stanhope, when he was questioned about that, kept saying, “It’s ironic that you guys raise it because you didn’t support it.” There is a thing called the rule of law, and that is what we support.
Whether we agree with the law or not at first blush—and we may well have agreed with particular aspects of the Human Rights Act—we expect the government, particularly a government that touts itself as having these fantastic human rights credentials, to comply