Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 05 Hansard (Tuesday, 4 May 2010) . . Page.. 1650 ..
The government remains committed to the delivery of a best practice, human rights compliant corrections facility. It was always going to present problems and challenges. Moving such a diverse range of prisoners—sentenced and remand, high security, low security, men and women—was always going to present a challenge. But the government is committed to facing that challenge; the government is committed to delivering on the challenge that presents.
We did not pretend that it would be perfect from day one. We have never pretended that that would be the case. We have always recognised that there will be challenges and processes. But the government have put in place mechanisms to address and tackle these issues and to remain open and consistent in our engagement with the community about the operations of this facility. I reject absolutely the suggestions put by those opposite today. They are absurd, they are unsophisticated and they fail to understand the circumstances in which we operate.
MS BRESNAN (Brindabella) (10.36): I would first like to note, in relation to the 20-hour lockdown, that we received a briefing from the minister’s office and a departmental official on the happenings in regard to the rooftop protest, about some of the problems the minister had in receiving accurate information from his department and the steps he took to correct the record. We are satisfied that, upon hearing that he had provided inaccurate information to the press, he moved swiftly to provide a more accurate account. We accept that investigations into the failure of the department to follow proper procedures in reporting lockdowns are currently underway and we expect that any appropriate disciplinary measures will be taken where necessary. Furthermore, we expect and call upon the minister to provide a full and accurate accounting of the duration, number of and reasons for all security lockdowns once verifiable information is available.
With regard to other concerns that the opposition have regarding the operations of the AMC, we believe that such problems are better addressed in the independent review of the first 12 months of operations, a motion brought forward by Mr Hanson, which we supported. It should also be noted that we supported his call in the media for an Auditor-General’s report on the AMC, either as part of the independent review or as a separate process. We are additionally concerned with the fact that a significant number of the issues attributed to the current minister occurred when he did not have responsibility for the portfolio. For all the reasons I have outlined, the Greens will not support the censure of the minister for corrections.
I must briefly comment on the problems we see in the lack of communication between the government and the opposition. The crossbench is constantly frustrated at acting as a go-between for the two parties in this place or being the only party fully briefed on issues, whichever side brings them forward. The conversations and debates we have in this place would be far more productive and better for the constituents we are expected to serve in an environment of discussion and disclosure of the facts.
In particular, it is problematic for a minister to receive little or no notice of a long and detailed censure motion that contains some very serious allegations the night before he is expected to respond. It is instructive that, rather than sit down with the Greens to