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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 05 Hansard (Tuesday, 4 May 2010) . . Page.. 1668 ..


Quite apart from trying to censure Mr Corbell for an episode at the beginning of a life of a particularly difficult facility to manage, we should be congratulating Mr Corbell on leading not only this community but the Australian community in the way forward, in addressing aberrant behaviour in our corrective institutions. I think we should vote this motion down.

MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (11.39): As my colleague Ms Bresnan has already stated this morning, the Greens will not be supporting this censure motion. One of the things that have been raised by the opposition was around where is the bar set on these issues. It is really important that we are able to tease out what are policy and operational issues versus gross misconduct and, in this case, gross misconduct of a minister.

There are obviously a number of teething problems that are going on with the opening of the first prison in the Australian Capital Territory. Of course, the Greens are very supportive of having a prison in the territory and we are pleased that the building was designed to be human rights compliant. Just because you have a human rights compliant building it does not naturally follow that what happens inside that building will be always in the spirit of human rights. That is why it is important to build a culture, a workforce, that truly understands the approach that is expected in the running of our prison—that is, at the heart of all of this there must be the understanding that the punishment for prisoners is taking away their liberty. While they are in that facility it is about providing polices, programs and options for prisoners to rehabilitate. It is also about improving health and having opportunities around education, training and employment.

At the end of the day, our aim and what we want to achieve is to make our community safer. The way to do that is to ensure that we have the policies, programs and opportunities in place so that, when those prisoners are released, they are going to be able to get a job or continue in some sort of education and training. The hope there—and I would say the goal—has to be to reduce the recidivism of our prisoners. We must all work towards the achievement of these important aims. That is why it is important that we have a workforce within the prison that understands that that is the philosophy the prison is built on. It is important that they be supported through human rights training, ongoing training, and also by having the right complement of staff on each shift.

People have mentioned this morning the concerns that certain community organisations have raised. They have been turned away because there have not been enough staff on shift to enable them to deliver their programs. We know how important these programs are. These are organisations that deliver drug and alcohol programs. We know that a significant number of our prisoners have a drug and alcohol problem. We know there are mental health issues and that there are comorbidity issues going on. That is why it is important to ensure that we have well-trained, supported staff with a full complement on each shift so that these things can be delivered.

Turning to the motion, it is interesting that we have seen quite a bit of what is in this censure motion before and, in fact, not too long ago. I think Mr Hargreaves pointed


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