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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 05 Hansard (Tuesday, 4 May 2010) . . Page.. 1660 ..


best practice. That is why we have always said we would review issues in relation to the availability of drugs and the use of drugs and needle injecting—and we look forward to the Liberal Party’s continuing support on this issue when that matter comes up for further conversation.

There will always be issues with staff. There will always be issues around discipline and the response of those that manage prisoners to breaches of discipline, like prisoners behaving badly. Prisoners are the most difficult and problematic people in our society in relation to their behaviours. We are talking here about the most difficult people that a community has to deal with and manage—people convicted and sentenced for breaches against our laws, our mores and society’s expectations—and they are hard to manage. To expect that they are going to behave beautifully from the outset is just nonsense. We all know it is nonsense. There are going to be problems.

To move this motion today really is an insult, a joke, a waste of this Assembly’s time and really demeaning of our commitment to corrections, to prisoner reform and to human rights.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (11.08), by leave: Mr Smyth, in his speech earlier today, suggested that I was laughing that there had been an allegation of rape at the prison. That is not what I said, and it is not what I did. I was laughing at the fact that Mr Smyth would attempt to hold a minister accountable for a criminal act in the prison.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (11.09): We get the interesting take on it from the Chief Minister as he walks out the door. We get the interesting take. He will not defend Mr Corbell, because he cannot defend the indefensible. We have seen this before. Instead, he does two things. He says, “We’re proud of the fact that we’ve got a human rights compliant prison” and he congratulates Mr Corbell for his performance. Let us look at that. Let us look at what the Greens and Mr Stanhope are congratulating Mr Corbell for, and let us look at this issue around the human rights compliant prison.

This is the most expensive prison in the country. This is a prison that cost us over $130 million to build, despite the fact that it was downsized to 300 beds, with no gym and no chapel and all of the things that we have seen. There was enough space in the budget for some artwork. But $130 million! We are now paying $500 per prisoner per day—$500 per prisoner per day. This government said to us, “What we get for that is a human rights compliant prison.” We are going to pay much, much more than we were paying to New South Wales—more than double what we were paying to New South Wales. We are going to pay much more than anyone else spends on their prisons. And look at the outcomes. Look at the outcomes we will get—prisoners locked down for 20 hours a day. We are getting a human rights price tag without the human rights prison. We are getting Australia’s most expensive prison, with all the problems—more, it would seem—that we see in other prisons.

This is what the Chief Minister and the Greens are combining to congratulate Minister Corbell for today. They are combined to congratulate on the ongoing human rights


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