Page 208 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 16 February 2011

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Mr Roy’s careless disregard for his or her privacy? I commend Mrs Dunne for taking the proactive measures that she has taken in trying to protect the informant’s privacy. She has not harmed Mr Roy’s reputation; he has done that to himself, or so the evidence would suggest. Mrs Dunne has no case to answer, but this censure motion certainly raises some serious question marks once again about the Attorney-General.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (4.30): To go back to where we started from, the Canberra Liberals take the safety and the security of the inmates and staff at Bimberi completely seriously, absolutely seriously, and we will continue to do everything we can to ensure that they get the best outcome possible. The importance of this motion and why we will continue to prosecute having this matter dealt with through a proper inquiry under the Inquiries Act have been highlighted today by the minister in a multitude of ways.

We saw in question time, in answer to questions from the Greens, that the minister admitted that she gets a briefing once a month on the use of force at Bimberi. She sort of said, when I asked her whether that was appropriate, “Well, that is the way we have always done it; it seems okay to me.”

This is a minister who in this place in December said that this was the most important thing that she had on her plate—she was utterly committed to getting a better outcome at Bimberi—but she takes the briefing once a month. What that means, of course, is that you could wait 29 days before the minister is alerted to a use of force, because if it happens immediately after she has been briefed she is not going to find out for another month. That in itself is an appalling situation; it shows that this minister does not have a handle on what is going on at Bimberi—

Mr Coe: No desire to, either.

MRS DUNNE: and no desire to—a searing indictment of this minister. This minister falls back on the comfortable old things—“You didn’t get a briefing; why didn’t you ask me first?”—because she has nowhere to go.

Yesterday I asked her about the status of the report, the discussion paper and the consultation in relation to the consultations and how that would feed into this Bimberi inquiry. She looked at me, blinkingly, as if she did not understand, and she had to go away and ask somebody who could write her a few paragraphs on the subject. She does not know. She does not take an interest.

We have to remember that this is the minister who, when she went out to Bimberi, in addition to covering her hands, covering her ears and saying, “La, la, la,” admitted that she did not know what was going on in Bimberi—and she demonstrated that here today in question time. And, in support of the insupportable, we had the minister go on at great length in her comments about how everything is looking up at Bimberi since December. For months this minister spent her time saying, “There is nothing to see here; everything is fine.” Suddenly everything was looking up.

But now we have an admission from the minister that things were pretty bad at Bimberi. The reports that I get back from the staff are that there are some modest improvements, but the following caveat is that there is still a very long way to go.

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