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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 2399 ..



commitment to the construction of a remand centre has been clear and quite patent since we came to office, and that is a commitment we have not walked away from for one second. Indeed, for purposes of planning there is a $50 million allocation in the capital works budget in the outyears.

We are quite absolutely and firmly committed to the development and construction of a remand centre. Work is well progressed and the government is certainly quite focused on this particular project. Indeed, as part of our commitment to the construction of a remand centre-an absolute commitment; a commitment that we back with money-we are also continuing to progress issues around the construction of a prison in conjunction with our decision to replace the Belconnen Remand Centre.

It has been said by my colleague Mr Quinlan on many occasions over the last year-and it is a call that I reiterate-that the remand centre at Belconnen is simply unacceptable. The government is determined to replace it, and we are actively pursuing that. We simply cannot as a community persist with the Belconnen Remand Centre as a correctional institution. It is simply not fit for the purpose and we are determined to deal with that.

Before concluding, I will just make some comment around the excitement within the ranks of the opposition in relation to human rights. I am intrigued by the virulence of the opposition's position on a human rights act or on a bill of rights. I don't mind whether you call it a human rights act or a bill of rights; call it whatever you want-it is essentially a bill of rights, it is a human rights act, it is a commitment by this government and by this community to human rights. I cannot see an earthly thing wrong with budgeting for the prospect of the passage of a whole new regime in relation to human rights and, indeed, in relation to the education that would be associated with a further expansion of our human rights regime or our commitment to human rights.

I guess it doesn't come as a surprise in this place to see the two issues that have simply horrified the Liberal Party, over and above a desire to communicate with the community. Their first objection is set out in their amendment. The second, of course, once again highlights their abhorrence of egalitarianism, equality of opportunity and opposition to discrimination. I suppose, at first blush, one is surprised that Mr Stefaniak, Mr Pratt and Mr Smyth should stand up in this place and express their lack of support for human rights. But then one does need to remind oneself of from whence they spring, and what springs immediately to mind is little children being held in mandatory detention in concentration camps in the desert. That is what springs immediately to mind.

When one sits here and wonders, at first blush, why does Mr Smyth oppose education in relation to human rights, why does Mr Stefaniak stand up and vehemently oppose a move to a greater support for or commitment to human rights, why does Mrs Burke stand up and scorn human rights, one suddenly recalls little children in detention centres, in concentration camps, behind barbed wire, and one loses one's surprise. We view with some sorrow the prospect that we have facing us here those very same preachers from whose breast springs this desire to lock up little children in concentration camps in the middle of the Australian desert. That is where you spring

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