Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 February 2018) . . Page.. 481 ..
let us hear them. We simply cannot accept that such a serious incident is brushed quietly under the carpet. We need answers and we need to know what the answers are.
Therefore my motion also calls on Mr Rattenbury to advise the Assembly of actions taken in response to the mistaken release. We would like to understand the cause of the mistaken release. We need to determine if current policies relating to the transition from the end of one sentence to a further remand warrant are adequate in ensuring that prisoners are not mistakenly released.
It is important to point out that this, of course, is not an isolated incident. It is part of a pattern of governance failures. This particularly disturbing event is just one of the latest incidents in an endless string of crises under this minister’s watch. The AMC was supposed to be a human rights prison based on the healthy prison concept. But under Minister Rattenbury’s watch it is clear that the AMC does not fulfil even its most basic functions at times. It is Minister Rattenbury’s incompetence or indifference—and I struggle to think that it is incompetence—that has led to escapes, bashings, deaths, a culture of drug peddling, and now prisoners walking out the front door.
I refuse to believe that the minister is not smart enough for the role, so there must be another reason. I can only think that it is not his main focus, that there are other things that he wants to achieve in this place. Perhaps ministers for corrections need to be absolutely passionate about running an excellent corrections facility. Perhaps that has to be one of their main and only focuses. Perhaps this facility is difficult to run.
The minister has had over five years to make the prison a properly functioning facility. That is more than long enough and his time should be up. We do not have the death penalty anymore, thank God, and when someone is sentenced to jail time in Canberra we should be able to assure them and their family that that person will come out alive. Minister Rattenbury cannot at present give that guarantee.
What is more, the Canberra community expects dangerous criminals to be kept inside the prison and off our streets. The whole purpose of our entire justice system to a large extent is keeping those who are not able to live in the community because of their choices in a facility where there is some hope of them learning to make new, better choices. That is also a guarantee that Minister Rattenbury cannot give.
Many in the Canberra community have lost faith in our jail system. The situation is dire. The minister has shown no tangible signs of being able to turn the situation around. I believe he is trying, but a week does not go by when something else quite serious does not happen.
In a responsible government, a government where there was some accountability, the Chief Minister would have intervened some time ago, and he has failed to act. The Chief Minister, if he had any sense of responsibility, would admit that the appointment perhaps was not correct, that the minister perhaps is tired or is not focused on this area, and take steps to prevent Minister Rattenbury’s neglect of the portfolio from further damaging the AMC and endangering the community. But the Chief Minister is not interested in that conversation. His short and dismissive response