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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 October 2021) . . Page.. 2751 ..


Standing orders—suspension

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

That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would allow Mrs Kikkert to move a motion of no confidence in the Minister for Corrections.

Minister for Corrections

Motion of no confidence

MRS KIKKERT (Ginninderra) (10.54), by leave: I move:

That this Assembly expresses no confidence in Mr Gentleman MLA as Minister for Corrections.

So soon after rising to move a motion of no confidence against the minister, sadly I must do so again. When the Alexander Maconochie Centre first opened, Canberrans and the international community were promised that this would be a human rights based prison—one that would conform to modern rehabilitative ideas. As we know, this talk of a human rights compliant prison has just become a way for the Labor-Greens government to push a narrative that they care about some of the most vulnerable in our community. In reality, they are preening false feathers. The prison has been riddled with problems from its inception. Despite warnings from experts, the Labor government drastically underestimated how many beds would be needed. This short-sightedness has caused problems that have continued to cascade, from its opening until this day.

The Inspector of Correctional Services has determined that the human rights of a female detainee have been breached. Under our system of government, Minister Gentlemen is responsible for this breach and he must be held to account. The breaching of just one human right is a serious issue. Unfortunately, this is not the only area the prison is in breach of human rights or territory legislation and corrections policy. In the time I have, I will outline many more areas where the prison is operating below acceptable standards and guidelines for the treatment of our prisoners.

Before outlining the failings of this government in relation to our prison, I would first like to review a general history of human rights and corrective standards, both national and international, and how they relate to Canberra’s prison. In 1955, the United Nations adopted the standard minimum rules for the treatment of prisoners. After a five-year review of processes, beginning in 2011, these rules were updated and became known as the Nelson Mandela rules, to honour the legacy of the late president of South Africa. They were adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015. In 1978, the first addition of the minimum standard guidelines for Australian prisons was published, based directly on the UN standard minimum rules for the treatment of prisoners.


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