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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 05 Hansard (Tuesday, 4 May 2010) . . Page.. 1662 ..


and damning litany of failure. This prison has not been open very long. It is not as though we are talking about many years since this prison opened. This prison has not been open for long, yet we see this litany. We see those protests. We see the allegations in relation to procedures and falsification of documents relating to a death in custody. These are serious matters. These are matters that show that the minister has lost control. These are matters that show that we are not getting what we pay for. We are not getting the rolled gold standard of prison that we are paying for. We are certainly paying for it. We are certainly forking out the cash every day—$500 per prisoner per day. People would not expect that we would get these kinds of outcomes.

You have to ask what a minister has to do to get censured these days. What does a minister have to do under the Greens-Labor alliance to get censured? It reminds me of the days of majority government. It does have that feel about it. No matter how inept, how incompetent or how poor performing a minister is, this Assembly will not take the appropriate action to hold them accountable, whether it be through a motion of no confidence, censure or grave concern.

Some months ago, we had the situation where the Assembly had to express its serious concern about Mr Corbell’s conduct as a minister, when he made potentially prejudicial comments to the media regarding two prisoners who conducted a rooftop protest. This is the Attorney-General of the ACT. He went out there and made prejudicial comments in relation to a case, in relation to something that was likely to come before the courts. In this Assembly, the Greens had to invent something. They had to invent serious concern, instead of censure or grave concern, as has been expressed before, or no confidence. They had to invent serious concern, because they could not quite bring themselves to say it was grave concern or censure, which is the ordinary way of holding ministers to account.

The question is this: when the litany of mistakes and stuff-ups gets longer and longer and longer, where do you go? It seems that the Greens have now come from a position of serious concern to somewhere below that—some concern, a little bit of concern. We are concerned in one way or another, Madam Deputy Speaker. That is what we are now faced with. The Assembly, through the Greens-Labor alliance, will not censure the minister for making prejudicial comments in relation to a case, will not censure him for making misleading comments in relation to insulation, and now will not censure him for what must be one of the longest litanies of failure and maladministration by a minister that we have seen in the history of territory government. I have not had time to read through all of them. I have not had time to actually read them all. If I was to simply read out all the failures, that would be the speech. That would be the entirety of the speech.

We have not even touched on the fact that Mr Corbell misled the community when he was pinged on this. When he was pinged on the rooftop protest, his first instinct was to not tell the truth. That is how he handled this portfolio. He does not tell the truth. He does not handle it well; he does not get to the bottom of these issues. The issues keep going. Prisoners walk free. And who pays? The people of the ACT. Taxpayers in the ACT are paying for a rolled gold standard of prison and getting nothing but an incompetent minister in Simon Corbell. He deserves to be censured.


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