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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 3 August 2021) . . Page.. 2197 ..


Minister Stephen-Smith and the Attorney-General wrote that a commission would require significant expense and that its recommendations are, “reasonably likely to mirror those of previous inquiries and reviews,” many of which are yet to be implemented by your government.

When asked about overrepresentation, the chair of the AMC oversight committee recently stated that one cause is: “the white community thinking that they know what’s always best … I hope we can stop thinking that the white community has the answers because we clearly don’t.” In your role as Minister for Corrections, have you advocated for the requested commission of inquiry, and if not, why not?

MR GENTLEMAN: I have worked with my colleagues the Attorney-General, Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith and, of course, Emma, on the response to the roundtable. We are still working through that process. There will be, I think, a number of opportunities for Aboriginal people to take the forum forward in our responses. Of course, they have called for it and the government has responded to say that it should be Aboriginal led.

Mrs Jones: Point of order. The question was whether he has advocated for it or not. That was not answered in his answer.

MADAM SPEAKER: I cannot direct the Minister how he answers the question. He responded to the question appropriately. He did not provide that, but he responded appropriately.

MR CAIN: Minister, if a commission of inquiry is unlikely to reveal anything new, as your government claims, can you explain specifically why the ACT has the highest Indigenous incarceration rate in Australia, and why that rate is growing faster here than in any other jurisdiction.

MR GENTLEMAN: I reject the premise of the question. We have not said that we will not find anything new. Every inquiry finds something new. That is how we learn about the actions we should take and the resources we should put forward into over-representation. I think the work that the Attorney-General Rachel Stephen-Smith and the government is doing in response to this is appropriate. Of course it will have resourcing, as well.

MRS KIKKERT: I have a supplementary question. Minister, what right does your all-white government have to ask Aboriginal leaders to determine the form of the review into over-representation?

Mr Barr: Point of order: that question contains an imputation.

MADAM SPEAKER: Yes.

MRS KIKKERT: I was directing from a quote.

MADAM SPEAKER: You did not present it as a quote.


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