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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 3 Hansard (28 May) . . Page.. 731 ..

Mr Stanhope: So the breakdown might have been at this end, Mr Humphries, and not at the other end as you suggested yesterday.

MR HUMPHRIES: No. Mr Speaker, I want to put something very clearly on the record. I do not believe there is any automatic entitlement to have the Parole Board consider an application for parole at any particular time. I will check that, but I do not believe that that is the case. Let us assume for one moment, as Mr Stanhope's interjection seems to suggest, that this prisoner was entitled to have his parole considered by the Parole Board and some decision forwarded to the gaol for consideration by the gaol. The fact is that there was no consideration of that matter which had reached the gaol at the time he was released. So, even if he was entitled to have his parole considered, first of all he had no right to parole - no-one has a right to parole - and therefore, in the absence of a decision by the Parole Board, the gaol had no entitlement to release him. Even assuming that there was some problem with the preparation of the parole and it had not reached the gaol - supposing it had been granted by the Parole Board but the paperwork had got lost and had not reached the gaol - there still is no basis for the gaol to have released him at the time.

Mr Speaker, I emphasise that this is a very serious matter. Members ought to be very clear that when our prisoners are in New South Wales gaols - - -

Mr Stanhope: We would like to know whether the Parole Board is doing its job.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Stanhope's interjection was that he would like to know that the Parole Board is doing its job. Mr Speaker, I do not know, but Mr Stanhope may have information about this matter suggesting that the Parole Board has got things wrong or has made a mistake at some point in time. I cannot answer as to whether it has or has not made some mistake in dealing with this matter. I would say that Mr Stanhope ought to be very clear and very careful that he knows that they have made a mistake before he makes an allegation of that kind on the floor of the chamber.

Mr Stanhope: I am not making an allegation. I am asking a question.

MR SPEAKER: Order! You are not doing anything of the sort. You have already asked your question.

MR HUMPHRIES: No; you made a statement, Mr Stanhope. Go back and look at what you said. In any case, even if we assume for one moment that what Mr Stanhope has just asserted in this place is true - that the Parole Board did make some sort of mistake - the fact is that the gaol, nonetheless, should not have released a prisoner for whom they had no parole order. I recall from my answer yesterday that there was no parole order. No parole order had been made. In those circumstances it is quite reprehensible for the gaol to have released the prisoner.

I have to say I am very surprised by the priorities of this Labor Opposition; that it would spring to the defence of the Labor Government in New South Wales, which obviously has mishandled this matter very seriously, and not insist, as the alternative government of this Territory, that the contract we have with them be upheld and that our prisoners be dealt

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