Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 8 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 2407 ..
MR HARGREAVES (continuing):
This Government has not progressed the development of our own prison all that well. For example, we are still concentrating on siting, we are still concentrating on whether it is going to be public or private, we are still talking about who is going to manage it, and we are still getting piecemeal crumbs from the table about things such as mental health and suicide programs. We are not seeing a concerted and consolidated approach to this matter, and that is where I think we are falling down. I have been asking about this matter for some considerable time. We have got it round the wrong way. We need to be saying, "What are the programs going to do? How are they going to achieve the outcomes of restorative justice?". But no, this Government continues to drag the chain and say, "We are going to build this prison and stick the programs in it".
Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, you know only too well the comments that have been made to us interstate by people who have been forced to put their programs into an existing building or a building that was built and then there was a contract change and in they would go. We have heard about the difficulties that they have had. Indeed, that was part of the problems that existed at Port Phillip. One of the things pointed out to me very clearly by the man in charge of Fulham Prison was that if he had been able to do something in a certain way he thinks they would have had a better outcome and a quicker one. But we do not do that. What we have with this change to the corrections system at Quamby is the same sort of mind-set.
Why the Government would want to pre-empt the Assembly's inquiry is something that is beyond me. Perhaps it is because they intend to ignore the result or are hoping like heck that it will give them what they want. I want the inquiry to look at whether the corrections mind-set embraces the whole continuum of justice from arrest to successful restoration. I want to see a system which is better than the one provided by Michael White and Frank Duggan, who were trying to stop kids from going into the corrections system at all.
Quamby has experienced the death of a young person, a needless death. I am asking the Government to concur with Ms Tucker's motion and put the responsibility for Quamby back into Children's Services, where progress has been made, and not go back to the very structure which allowed Mark Watson to take his life. Allow the community through this inquiry to advise whether it is indeed okay for Quamby to be a subset of the prison system. We all know that the Belconnen Remand Centre has a reputation for being an unpleasant place. Let us not wind back the clock on Quamby. I call on the Government to abide by the process. Let the inquiry go on. Do not hide behind the self-government Act.
If changes are recommended by the committee, implement them then. Let us not play around with the lives of kids. Let us not ignore the process. I might say that ignorance of the process seems to be a regular facet of this Government's modus operandi at the moment. Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, the precedent that an inquiry can be pre-empted under the protection of the self-government Act is a nonsense. It is our role to say to the Government, "You have made a slight mistake; please fix it", and for the Government to say, "Yes, we will". We are saying, "Do not rush, do not anticipate", and they are saying now that they have. We are saying, "Let the inquiry further advise on the issue".