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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (24 November) . . Page.. 2791 ..

Quamby - Detention Rates of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, I refer to the annual report of the Community Advocate, which comments on the considerable overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people detained in Quamby. What actions are being taken to improve those circumstances in the ACT which bring about such high rates of detention?

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, that would be Mr Stefaniak's area, if it is about Quamby.

Mr Wood: No, it is not about Quamby; it is about the circumstances in our community that bring about those high rates of detention. It is Aboriginal policy and it is in the Community Advocate's report.

MS CARNELL: The Community Advocate is Gary's area.

Mr Wood: No; it is Aboriginal policy, Chief Minister.

MR SPEAKER: Chief Minister, do you wish to transfer it to somebody?

Mr Wood: No, I do not want - - -

MR SPEAKER: I am sorry; it is perfectly in order if the Chief Minister wishes to ask somebody else to answer the question.

MR HUMPHRIES: It seems to me that Mr Wood is asking about policies relating to both arrest and detention.

Ms Carnell: At Quamby.

Mr Wood: No, not at all, Mr Humphries.

MR HUMPHRIES: Well, people cannot go to Quamby unless they have been dealt with by a court, and generally, I think in almost all cases, they have been arrested or otherwise dealt with by the police as well. If Mr Wood repeats his question, perhaps I will be clear about what the question is about.

Mr Kaine: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: When a member asks a Minister a question, are members of the ministry allowed to decide amongst themselves who will answer it and then not answer the question that was asked? Is this the way that question time works?

MR SPEAKER: There is no point of order, Mr Kaine. You know that a Minister may transfer a question to another Minister. Whether the question is being answered or not to the satisfaction of other members is entirely up to them. I call Mr Humphries.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I confess that when Mr Wood asked the question of the Chief Minister I did not listen properly, and I would appreciate it if Mr Wood could repeat his question.

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