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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (20 November) . . Page.. 3865 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

I just think these particular little twists that we get from time to time, particularly from a couple of members of the opposition, bring discredit to the process. They cause me grave concern for the future should there be rearrangements within the opposition-not that the change of horses from Humphries to Smyth would do much to alter this tendency to verbal people and then make an argument based on that verballing process. It is about time that all members looked at the standards of this place in that regard.

To further compound matters, Mr Smyth, in his short speech, said that I committed to low-risk prisoners. I have not, and never have, committed to send only low-risk prisoners to Symonston. To say so, and for Mr Humphries to say so persistently, is misleading; it is a deliberate attempt to mislead the public and make some raw politics out of this process.

We have always said "lower risk"-not much difference, but a world of difference when it comes to the opening of this facility and how it will operate. I want to point those two issues out because they are not inconsistent with a practice that seems to be developing and growing in and around this place and in and around this issue.

The government will not be supporting this motion simply because it is incorrect, and to support it would be to support a falsehood. Therefore, we cannot support the motion. I would expect that virtually all members would find themselves in the position where they cannot support this motion either, because it contains a claim that is incorrect.

I would like to comment on the grave concern that the opposition seems to have found regarding the Symonston facility. In the estimates hearings of 26 July there was a discussion-a very brief discussion, I have to say, but a discussion, an exchange-between the committee and Mr James Ryan in relation to the relative security of Symonston and Belconnen. I think Mr Ryan said that Belconnen would be securer, but only because it was closer to a police station. He went on to say that there would be very little in it-I think they are the words, but don't hold me to them; I don't want to also join in misleading this place. But that is what he said in the sense of there being very little difference in the security of the two places.

Today's opposition has no apparent concern that the Belconnen Remand Centre is situated adjacent to a town centre, opposite a car park and near businesses with ready cash that an escaper might feel he or she needs. There has been, in fact, no concern over a period of seven years as the Belconnen Remand Centre has fallen into decline.

So I find this interest in the security of the Symonston centre, garnished with the misrepresentation of what I have said, to be quite amazing and ironic in that the previous government did nothing about the Belconnen Remand Centre. This government has now done something about the problem. This government has set up a facility which, in the words of the Director, is virtually as secure as the Belconnen one. But there is grave concern about the security at Symonston, and none at Belconnen. So are we playing politics?

I will repeat what I said earlier today: I think we are heading for an era of even greater negativity from the opposition; an era of distortion, hereby exemplified, exaggeration and repetition and not much policy contribution.

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