Page 923 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

What was it and how long did it take to fix? Very simply—and I was the chair of the community services and social equity standing committee of this place that looked into it in a lot of depth and I can tell you what it was—it was that the adult prison mentality, the adult corrections services mentality, was alive and well in a juvenile corrections facility, and that was totally inappropriate. When Bimberi was created, we had hoped that that mindset would be left at Narrabundah and a new one introduced, and that was that people are responsible for the rescue of young people’s lives before it gets too late.

The difference between the two corrections systems, which seems to be forgotten in this debate—and this is a very difficult one to actually deliver on—is that, with adult corrections you have to de-socialise someone, you have to wipe the slate clean and start again, because their norms are firmly established and entrenched, and, with young people, such is not the case necessarily. There is a very good chance that their norms, their standards and their expectations are still in the formation stage.

Your programs have to be such that you can actually change the direction of where a young person will end up, and that was not being delivered at Quamby. The programs in Quamby were being delivered by corrective services officers, not by youth workers, and there was an expectation that, when Bimberi was commissioned, this was a golden opportunity to change from that culture.

I see evidence in the minister’s statement of that culture starting to get delivered. You cannot do that overnight. You have existing staff in there who need a wake-up call and maybe Clayton Utz will give that wake-up call. The people there need to understand that it could be their children in it. They need to understand that they have the opportunity to change the direction of these young people, and nobody else in our community has it. Mrs Dunne’s pontifications and patronising condescension will not help in that process. I saw similar hysterics coming out of Jacqui Burke a few years ago, with the child protection workers.

We need to be getting behind the people at Bimberi, who have the right idea about the right culture to deliver the right outcomes for these kids, and say to them, “We want to empower you to do the right thing,” not criticise them every time you pick up the Canberra Times or turn on the TV set.

Mr Hanson: It is the staff who are complaining.

MR HARGREAVES: Do be quiet. You are boring. You know what, you are really boring. Either grow up or stop being boring, one of the two.

What we are seeing in this statement today is the commitment on the part of the minister, a very strong one, that action, real action, will happen. There have been reviews. We have got Commissioner Roy actually doing his work. I think he is doing a great job. He is being undermined by Mrs Dunne. It is a very difficult task we have asked this man to do and he is being undermined by Mrs Dunne.

This paper that has been produced has so many dot points in it saying what is actually happening that, if people say, “I cannot see anything happening,” they are either blind

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video