Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 June 2010) . . Page.. 2115 ..
We have also seen reports, through both questions asked on notice and reports in the media, that bullying is a real concern throughout ACT Health. We are not getting the information we want. We know that there has been a staff office survey. We asked for that in the estimates and she is refusing to provide that response. But what I did see in a report that has been put out by Mr Seselja and Mr Smyth is a very good recommendation that, when the Public Interest Disclosure Act report is received by the government, the determination of what is released to the public should be made by an independent authority and not by the minister. I just want to make sure that process is very clear—that she does not hide elements of that because she fears that they may be politically damaging—and that we get to see as much as we can.
I will speak further next week about the significant problems that we have found in Health and the lack of direction from the minister.
While I see Mr Corbell here, it would be a wasted opportunity not to raise some of the real concerns in corrections. The human rights commissioner herself raised significant concerns. She is unable to go into the jail and do a proper human rights audit because she is not being funded to do so. Whilst the government are lauding the fact that they have this human rights compliant jail, we have no idea whether that is true or not because they are not funding the human rights commissioner to go and make that assessment. Isn’t it convenient, Madam Deputy Speaker, that that situation has arisen? They were certainly funding her previously so they could make as much noise as they could about the Belconnen Remand Centre when it suited their political purposes to get an argument up that they needed to have their own jail in the ACT. But all of a sudden, now they have built the AMC and have got so many problems with it, they are muzzling her, essentially, by restricting her funding.
What has also come out about the jail is that it is not able to properly separate sentenced and remand prisoners. That is a breach of human rights—it is one that we know of—and it means that we have now a situation where, potentially and allegedly, remandees have been raped by sentenced prisoners. That is a consequence—if it is true—of Mr Corbell’s design and implementation of this prison. There are many areas we should be criticising this government on and the report should be doing that. Those are just a couple of highlights. The report should have done that and it has failed to do so. I commend Mr Seselja and Mr Smyth for their dissenting report.
MR DOSZPOT (Brindabella) (11.32): We have heard speaker after speaker on the opposition side talk about a failure of quite profound proportions in the operation of the Select Committee on Estimates—the failure to scrutinise the budget, the failure to scrutinise the government, the failure to scrutinise the ministers. The chair has spoken longer about the dissenting report than about her own committee report. I guess this is because of the lack of substance in her report which, of course, prompted the need for a dissenting report. What was apparent, even to those of us who only attended when our own shadow portfolio areas were under scrutiny, was that the chair was almost constantly running interference on behalf of the government, almost making the presence of the government member, John Hargreaves, superfluous. Indeed, at times there were stronger questions asked by former minister Hargreaves than by the chair of the Select Committee on Estimates.