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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 1 July 2010) . . Page.. 3204 ..

Standing and temporary orders—suspension

Motion (by Mr Corbell) agreed to, with the concurrence of an absolute majority:

That standing order 76 be suspended for the remainder of this sitting.

Appropriation Bill 2010-2011

[Cognate paper: estimates 2010-2011—Select Committee report—government response]

Proposed expenditure—Part 1.17—Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services$190,870,000 (net cost of outputs), $17,615,000 (capital injection) and $35,876,000 (payments on behalf of the territory), totalling $244,361,000.

Debate resumed.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (10:54): We can see from Mr Hargreaves’s performance today that he does not take anything personally. He is far more complimentary of his cabinet colleagues in the chamber than he is elsewhere. It is quite amazing. What I did take particular exception to in Mr Hargreaves’s diatribe over the last 17 or so minutes was his attack on the kinship carers. What we had was effectively the implication that what they had said was incorrect and they had had to correct all their evidence. That is not true. A small part of the evidence was corrected and none, I believe, of what has been quoted from the kinship carers has been corrected.

What we see from the Labor Party, and we saw it from the Greens in the committee, is an attack on the kinship carers and their credibility because they had to correct one small part of their evidence—nothing to do with the claims of institutional abuse. The carers claimed institutional abuse. That was not corrected at any stage or withdrawn by Marion Le, a respected member of our community, yet because another part of the evidence was corrected—to their credit, they came back and corrected a small part of their evidence—Mr Hargreaves’s, and it seems the Labor Party’s, position is to simply attack their credibility. It is disgraceful. It is a disgraceful attack on the carers because the Labor Party do not like what the carers had to say. What they had to say is a serious claim and it is a significant claim and it has not at any stage been withdrawn by Ms Le or the kinship carers. Ms Le said:

Do you know how serious I think this is? I spoke out about children in detention, and I said that that was abusive. I believe that what is going on here—this is very strong, and I will stand by it—is abusive. I believe it is systematic and institutionalised abuse. And people do not even see it any more. They are so used to it that they do not see it. It is systemic and it is abusive. It is abusive of the people who are caring for the children. I do not feel myself abused, because I went to court and got orders over the children very quickly. I knew my way through the process, and I am not blood related so I do not have all the emotional baggage that comes with that. But it is abusive. It is very abusive of the carers. It is very, very abusive long term of the children.

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