Page 1038 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 30 March 2011

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We again call on the government to investigate those claims, because they are of the most serious nature. Several allegations have been made about officers perverting the course of this inquiry. We can see now why they do not want a judicial inquiry, because the consequences would be far greater. Nonetheless, it is incumbent upon this government to show that they take this seriously and for the minister and the Attorney-General to launch inquiries into these most serious allegations. We will not be supporting Ms Hunter’s amendment.

Question put:

That Ms Hunter’s amendment be agreed to.

Ayes 4

Noes 11

Ms Bresnan

Mr Rattenbury

Mr Barr

Mr Hanson

Ms Hunter

Ms Burch

Mr Hargreaves

Ms Le Couteur

Mr Corbell

Mr Seselja

Mr Doszpot

Mr Smyth

Mrs Dunne

Mr Stanhope

Ms Gallagher

Question so resolved in the negative.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (11.50): It is interesting to speculate on the motivations of the government not supporting Ms Hunter’s amendment. They say they have confidence in the human rights inquiry but, at the same time, they are not prepared to support a motion that says so. You have to ask where the Greens will go now, because it is now clear that the government is not concerned about the fact that they have not been doing adequate suicide prevention training of staff in Bimberi and that there has been inadequate case conferencing for residents. The government will not express concern about these matters, even though the minister admitted to these things in her statement yesterday.

It is also clear that the minister does not want to ensure that staff are made aware of their mandatory reporting obligations. She does not want to encourage staff, both present and former, to make full and frank contributions to the inquiry, and she does not want to take the strongest possible disciplinary action against anyone who attempts to pervert the inquiry. It is going to be a real test for the Greens, and this in some way is what this whole motion and this whole issue are about.

We see at every level of this process a culture of cover-up by ACT Labor, and it has been brought into stark relief this week by the exposure in the Canberra Times of the minutes that I tabled earlier today. It has been brought into stark relief by the open letter, a plea—they were the words used by the writer—to the Chief Minister to ensure that there was an open, frank inquiry into Bimberi. The person who wrote those things then went on ABC radio to say, “Perhaps I was naive to expect that a human rights inquiry would be free from government interference.” She then went on to say that she doubted now the efficacy of the situation.

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