Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 September 2019) . . Page.. 3895 ..
I presume that means compared to the management unit. How far have we fallen? This prison was meant to be something good. Now we are saying that the women can deal with being in a maximum security men’s wing which is free of men but where men can see and hear them, talk to them, shout at them and catcall them. But it is okay, because it is better than before.
I have waited two years, minister. I have waited years since you moved those women into that facility to complain that it is not good enough, because I thought it would be temporary and there would be a plan. I was waiting, assuming that there would be a plan. As I have said before, this minister is bright. He has the capacity and the ability to resolve this issue. But when faced with the opportunity to spend more money on the prison, he wants to build a reintegration centre, so-called, outside the walls because it is cheaper, presumably. In the first instance, it was going to be for the men. They are now trying to work out how they can retrospectively let some of the women in there. Perhaps—maybe—it might be possible.
Everything is the wrong way around. You have a significant problem inside the centre, which is that women are being housed in the centre of the men’s compounds. They are being called out at. They are not able to be in the calm position they should be in in order to address the reasons for their offending. There is no solution whatsoever on the horizon.
I am a realist. I know that with Minister Berry and Minister Rattenbury both in agreement on this amendment, it will pass this place. That is what happens here. I accept that, which is why I have now actually circulated a further amendment to Mr Rattenbury’s amendment. It amends paragraph 3(b) by asking how the minister will resolve the issue of proximity to the men and to report back to the Assembly by the last sitting week this year.
Have a heart; have a plan; just tell us the plan. Even tell us what could be the plan or what might be the plan. Give us some hope that there is going to be a plan to move the women out of the men’s side. I would like to see this issue resolved. I do not think it is unreasonable. When the minister had money available to him that is what he should have spent it on first and the reintegration centre second. I commend my amendment to the Assembly. I hope those opposite will accept it, because I think it is about time that the community and the women in the AMC got the idea that this arrangement is not permanent for them.
MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, Minister for Corrections and Justice Health, Minister for Justice, Consumer Affairs and Road Safety and Minister for Mental Health) (5.06): I do not propose to support Mrs Jones’s amendment because I believe it actually narrows the report that I intend to provide when I come back to the Assembly. It specifies a particular thing, when my proposed amendment actually calls for a broader report. So I think that would do the Assembly a disservice and I do not propose to support Mrs Jones’s amendment.
Mrs Jones’s amendment to Mr Rattenbury’s proposed amendment negatived.