Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (20 November) . . Page.. 3870 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
Southside Chronicle of 22 January this year as having said that most of the prisoners sent to Symonston under his proposal would be women because they were considered less of a risk.
Mr Speaker, I admit I haven't read the protocol which the minister has tabled today. I don't know what the protocol actually says and I am looking forward to reading it when this debate is over. But I would like Mr Quinlan to tell me-and maybe he would like to interject at this point-whether it is the case, as he was reported in the Southside Chronicle of 22 January this year as saying, that most of the prisoners sent to Symonston under this proposal would be women because they were considered less of a risk.
Mr Quinlan: That is in the Southside Chronicle, is it?
MR HUMPHRIES: Yes, the article reported Mr Quinlan as having said "most of the prisoners sent to Symonston".
MR SPEAKER: Direct your comments through the chair, Mr Humphries.
MR HUMPHRIES: Okay. At the risk of being accused of Gary-ing, Mr Quinlan, I assert that this is what you said to the Southside Chronicle, and this is what the Southside Chronicle published. We looked at the Southside Chronicle on subsequent days to see whether this was contradicted or corrected by the minister in a press release, but it wasn't. We know that this government is quite prone to getting something to the media when it doesn't agree with the way they report, as we have seen from the Chief Minister just this week. I think, therefore, that was a reasonable basis for assuming that the minister meant it when he said that only low-risk prisoners would go there.
Again, in the Canberra Times of 10 April the minister is quoted as follows:
told the Assembly yesterday that only relatively low-risk remandees ... would be housed at the centre.
If we over here on the opposition bench have got the wrong end of the stick, if we have got it all muddled up and we don't know what is going on, you can forgive us for being confused, given the way in which this matter has been reported in the media, what you said at the Estimates Committee hearing and what was said by you on the floor of this place. What has been reported and said all creates a fairly solid impression that low-risk prisoners would be favoured-indeed, women prisoners, because they were more likely to be low risk-for this site.
I am only going to read-
Mr Quinlan: They will be.
MR HUMPHRIES: I will come back to what you were quoted as saying-that under this proposal most of the prisoners sent to Symonston would be women.